Making yogurt is easy. Making greek yogurt is equally easy! In order to make greek yogurt you need only an old clean tee-shirt, space in your fridge, and a couple of hours to relax, watch a movie, whatever you want to do. The industry that has arisen around home yogurt making is pretty impressive (you can check out some reviews of the Greek yogurt makers we have tried), but you don’t need anything more than some basic kitchen necessities if you want to make delicious, pro-biotic, natural, organic, authentic Greek Yogurt right at home.
What you need to make greek yogurt:
4 cup or greater glass or plastic measuring cup (with a lid is helpful, but not necessary)
2 Tablespoons live culture yogurt (You can get it from you local grocery store), or yogurt culture packet
If you’re using a yogurt culture packet you will need 2 tablespoons milk set aside in a little bowl for use later.
4 cups of milk, the higher the fat content, the better.
6 cup saucepan or pot
Piece of an old tee-shirt, cheese cloth, or a tea towel (the kind that is not made out of terry cloth) Alternatively I highly recommend this special greek yogurt strainer (Have been using for over 5 years)
Optional: 1/4-1/3 cup powdered milk
Making greek yogurt:
Note: These instructions are for 4 cups of milk, but you can make it in larger batches, if you want. 4 cups is just a manageable amount of milk to work with.
Step 1: Scald the milk – Time 3-7 minutes
First you have to scald/pasteurize your milk. This means pouring 4 cups of milk into your saucepan and, over high heat, bring it almost to a boil. This will take about 3 minutes if the milk is at room temperature or 5-7 minutes if it’s just out of the fridge. As the milk is just starting to bubble around the edges of the saucepan, remove from the burner. Put a lid on the pan if you want, and then walk away.
You also have the option of adding the powdered milk now, and whisking it in, or doing it later. It doesn’t matter.
Step 2: Let the milk cool – Time 45mins-1hour
Come back periodically over the next hour or so until the pan has cooled down to about 108-115 degrees. You don’t need a thermometer for this, you can just use your fingers. When you can hold your fingertips to the side of the pan, for ten seconds without burning them you know it is ready. If you didn’t add the powdered milk before, you can add it now, or not at all.
Step 3: Add the bacteria – Time 1-2 minutes
If you’re using yogurt culture packets, now you add the packet to the 2 tablespoons and stir and then pour into the saucepan. If using the 2 tablespoons of live culture yogurt, pour it into the saucepan.
Stir the saucepan of now culture rich milk with a whisk, and then pour back into your glass or plastic cup measure. If your measure cup has a lid, put it on, if not that’s fine.
Step 4: Keep the mixture at 118 degrees – Time 4-12 hours
Turn on the oven light, and turn the oven on to warm. After about 2-4 minutes turn off the oven and then place the measuring cup in the oven. This is the most important step to try to keep your yogurt above 115 degrees. An oven light often will produce enough heat to keep your oven pleasantly warm and allow you to peer in at the whole ecosystem you’ve just created. However I do recommend wrapping a towel or putting it in a tea cozy for insurance. Not maintaining the temperature is the number 1 reason why you yogurt would not succeed.
Walk away for 4-12 hours. During this time you can use a wireless thermometer that will alert you when the temperature is getting too high or low.
When you wake up from the delightful nap you’ve just taken, remove the yogurt from the oven, and turn off the oven light. You can test if the yogurt is done when you tilt the measuring cup and the yogurt moves away from the side in one mass.
PRO TIP: If you are getting serious about yogurt making it is very much worth investing in a a way to keep your milk warm during fermentation. I recommend a scalable solution that can adapt to small and large batches as your interest grows. I have been using the Wonderbag for over 4 years. Perfect temperature control and flexible and also supports a good cause!
Step 5: Strain the yogurt – time 2-4 hours
Now you get to make greek yogurt.
Take the cloth that you have designated for the straining–tee-shirt, tea towel, or cheese cloth–stretch it over top of a bowl. Keep the cloth in place with several rubberbands stretched around the outside of the bowl. Then pour your yogurt onto the strainer you’ve created. Place the bowl and suspended yogurt into the refrigerator. Let the yogurt drain for a couple of hours. The longer you let it drain the thicker the yogurt.
Walk away or read about what to do with your left over whey
When the yogurt has drained long enough, or when you remember that you forgot about it go to the fridge and remove the delicious ready to eat yogurt.
Remove the rubber bands and gather up the edges of the yogurt cloth. Avoid submerging the yogurt in all that delicious whey you’ve drained off. Put the yogurt in an air tight container and refrigerate until you want to eat it.
One more thing!
We are a fan of yogurt makers since we make greek yogurt weekly, like gallons and gallons, and we have reviewed a few greek yogurt makers and you can read about the best greek yogurt makers we have found that work great with our recipe.
Now you have delicious homemade greek yogurt. Make sure to go check out some quick and easy greek yogurt recipes that we have collected for you.