Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Make Greek Yogurt

I have been on a Make-it-Myself kick and it has been fun and money-saving. Greek yogurt is easy to make, inexpensive and the results are delicious. Start with fresh milk (check the dates and get the freshest you can) and make sure it is not ultra-pasturized. Pasturized milk is fine. Surprisingly, many of the organic milks are ultra-pasturized. Regular grocery store milk (most are not treated with hormones any more) or a reliable source of raw milk are best. I usually buy non-fat yogurt, but for this I bought 2 percent milk.  I may try skim next time, but the fat content doesn't matter.  The rule is: the more fat, the yummier it is.  Kind of like Paula Deen's butter rule.
Pour the entire gallon in a heavy bottomed pot or your crockpot. I used the pot and stood stirring so it wouldn't burn on the bottom until the temperature reached 180 degrees. I used a thermometer.  It will be foamy at the edges and the entire top with become foamy.  You want the milk hot and foamy, but not boiling.
Then I placed the pot in my sink with cold water to drop the temperature to 110-120.
At this point whisk in 3 Tablespoons of fresh plain yogurt with live cultures.  There again, check the date to insure freshness.
Then cover the pot with the lid and a thick towel and place it in your oven with the light left on. ( I have begun leaving the light off.  The extra heat it creates made the yogurt more solid and grainy. It stays warm enough from the yogurt's own heat as it cultures and the towel. ) Close the door and leave it overnight.  I left mine in the oven from 9:00pm until 7:00am. When I took the lid off, this is what I found.  It looked like YOGURT!  It was solid with clear whey on top. Just a note, the longer you let it cure, the more tart it becomes. Mine turned out just right for us.

At this point, place the covered pot in the refrigerator and let it set for at least 2 hours to let it firm up further.
I did not know this, but Greek Yogurt is just yogurt that has been strained.  It has less whey and the protein becomes more concentrated per ounce by straining. There are lots of ways to strain yogurt.  I lined a colander with wet paper towels.  I wondered if this would work, but it did.  The volume of yogurt was so much that it seemed to not be draining well.  I removed some of it and put it in a fine screen colander by OXO.  I was able to drain all of it well in about 30-40 minutes. I was worried about the paper towels getting in the yogurt, but the yogurt became cheesy against the paper and peeled right off.  Some report using a thin white tee shirt to strain it works well, and others invest in an expensive chinois.  The paper towel method worked just fine and if you had two colanders draining it would even be better for the volume.  Next time, I may try the tee shirt.
After letting the yogurt drain, I dumped it back in the pot and whisked it to make it creamy. It is lumpy and cheesy if you don't.  I then put it in clean jars. 2 quarts and a generous cup of delicious Greek yogurt were the yield from one gallon of milk.  It cost me $2.89! We have plowed through one quart already. I will save a bit to use as the culture for the next batch. This site is interesting and shows other cheeses and drinks that can be made at home.  How about some homemade mozzarella?


  1. Thank you for the recipe and instructions! I'm saving this one for the next time we are home. I'm a bread maker so am used to waiting for what I am making to do its own thing to be just perfect. ;) Your yogurt looks fantastic! We have store-bought Greek yogurt in the fridge right now. For our late evening snack we have been having some with fresh blueberries. So good!

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  3. Wow I did not know you could leave yogurt out of the refrigerator over night...kind of scared me a bit hearing that but I love greek yogurt so I am ready to try.

    1. The yogurt has to stay warm for it to culture...kind of like bread baking and having the temperature right for bread! Good Luck!

  4. Save the whey to use for making muffins and breads.

  5. Just found you via Totally Tutorials. I was just telling my husband that my recent yogurt addiction is going to break us because I'm not quitting.I decided to start making my own and found this recipe.I am now a happy,happy girl thanks to you!

    1. So glad for you! It is a money saver and I think even tastier!

  6. I’m so glad to find recipes on how to make your own Greek yogurt. After years of GI problems, I found that whey was the culprit, even as little as 2 dinky mini Tootsie Rolls caused me GI havoc and embarrassment (cannot even have 1 Twizzler--check the labels of everything!). Since Greek yogurt has the whey strained out, this is one healthy food that doesn’t cause those nasty issues.


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