Tuesday, September 6, 2011

homemade yogurt

I am blessed to live here in Lancaster County where down on the farm traditions such as canning, preserving and home made things are still being passed down from older generations. Now that I am married I truly appreciate the inherited knowledge. I love being able to go down many of the back country roads here and find a road side stand with locally fresh produce or dairy. It makes my heart giddy to buy such yummy goods!

Durrell eats a yogurt a day in his packed lunch. When we first got married, I hated buying the little cups of sugar filled, flavored yogurts. It went against everything in me to feed my hubby that stuff. Plus, those little things are expensive! I began buying a large container of plain yogurt and adding my own flavorings (maple syrup, no sugar added jelly, etc), then dividing it up into smaller, re-usable containers for him.

My mom-in-law is great at canning and making her own things and has shown me how to make my own homemade yogurt!! It's so easy and YUMMY! Durrell loves it with some homemade granola (recipe to come for that). I thought I would share the recipe with you all.

Home Made Plain Yogurt
(Recipe makes 2 gallons. I generally cut the recipe in half and make only 1 gallon)
- 2 gallons of milk (I use raw milk, fresh from a local farm but you can use bought milk too)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unflavored gelatin (it's like jello, but unflavored. I found this in the bulk section of a local store)
- 2 cups of plain yogurt (this acts as a starter - I buy WalMart's brand which works great!)
- meat thermometer 
- ice chest

- Heat milk to 180 degrees on Medium-low heat stirring occasionally with a whisk. Use the meat thermometer to check temperature. It is important that you don't let the milk boil or it will burn. 
- Once the milk has reached 180 degrees, mix the gelatin and water together in a bowl and add to milk. Stir the milk for a few minutes with a whisk after adding the gelatin to ensure it hasn't settled on the bottom. 
- Let milk cool to 110 degrees and add the 2 cups of plain yogurt. Stir. (the mixture will still be a liquid)
- Pour milk mixture into jars (I usually get 4 quarts and a pint) and put lids on
- fill the ice chest with hot tap water (enough water to at least cover jars).
- put jars in the ice chest and close the lid for 6 - 8 hours. (The heat causes the liquid to gel)

Don't be alarmed if when you get the jars out the yogurt is still a little runny. Shake them really well and place them in the fridge. Most times it will gel after being chilled. 

- Don't mix the gelatin and water until you are ready to add to the milk. 
- Make sure you stir continuously with a whisk after adding the gelatin to the milk 
- I tried only heating the milk to 110 degrees so as not to kill all the good stuff in the milk but I didn't have success with the end result. I figure it's still better than buying sugary store bought stuff.
- If it stays runny and doesn't gel after chilling, don't get discouraged! Try again. You can always use the runny stuff for shakes or smoothies! (I've had a few runny batches and still can't figure out why)
- Add your flavoring after it has been chilled

And this is my end result!
Oh how I love being a wife and homemaker :)


  1. I've been wanting to make homemade yogurt for a while, so I'm so glad you posted this! Thanks!! :) ~Aimee @ My Pink Life (aimee-weaver.blogspot.com)

  2. Yumm :) I will definitely have to try this! Dave takes yogurt in his lunch every day too - I usually buy plain organic yogurt and add granola, or muesli, mixed with fresh or frozen fruit, but it's still pretty pricey buying yogurt all the time... how do you feel it compares pricewise?

  3. Jess - I find it a lot less expensive. I buy a gallon of milk from an Amish farm for $3. The gelatin is pennies per batch.