Making your own Greek yogurt is easy to do and budget friendly. Top with fruit, honey, granola, or just enjoy plain, and you’re in for a treat that’s not only delicious, but also packed with health benefits.
In my case, it’s been love between me and Greek yogurt since day one. This recipe is my wonderful husband’s creation: his solution for indulging one of my absolute favorite tastes. And it definitely produces the perfect yogurt – smooth and tangy, with the proper thickness and texture. I love it the most with a little honey and sliced strawberries. Let us know what you think!
Yield: 18-20 oz of plain Greek yogurt
4 1/4 cups (1 liter) of high quality whole milk
2 generous tbs of powdered milk
1/4 cup of high quality plain, full fat yogurt
2 tbs of granulated sugar
Prepare a warm space for incubation, such as an oven with only its light on, or a cooler partially filled with warm water. Whichever space you use, the temperature should be between 95 and 104 F (35-40 C). Also have on hand a container with a lid to hold the milk; we use a glass cookie jar.
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered milk with a little of the milk until blended into a liquid. Then, in a large pot, combine the rest of the milk with the powdered milk mixture and heat until the temperature reaches 113 F (45 C). If you have a thermometer, this is best, but if not, you can gauge the temperature by testing with your finger. You should be able to keep your finger in the milk for 10 seconds without burning yourself, but without the sensation being comfortable either. Finally, add the sugar and yogurt and whisk until combined.
Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into the prepared container. Place in the incubating space and keep there until the mixture has thickened, about 4 hours. Check the temperature occasionally to make sure it stays consistent.
Once the yogurt has finished incubating, remove it from the warm space and allow to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, or until the yogurt is cold.
Next, strain the yogurt. We have found that women’s knee-high stockings layered 4 thick (seriously!) work best. Pour all the yogurt into your preferred strainer and suspend (if the faucet over your sink is high enough that the yogurt doesn’t touch the bottom, this may work well) so that the excess liquid begins to drain out. Leave the yogurt to strain for 1-2 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.
Finally, remove the yogurt from the strainer, whisk to remove any lumps, cover, and store in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy with your favorite toppings for the perfect snack or healthy breakfast!
A few notes about this recipe…
- The better the quality of the milk and yogurt used in the recipe, the better the Greek yogurt will be. For the yogurt used to start, be sure it contains the live and active cultures Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus.
- Whole milk yields the best consistency and texture for the yogurt it produces…and the health benefits of full fat dairy products are numerous.
- Be sure maintain the correct temperatures for both heating the milk and incubating it. Basically, in both cases, if the temperature is too high, the heat will kill the bacteria required to produce the yogurt. If it is too low, the environment will be to cold for the bacteria to be active.
- If incubating in a cooler with a lid, remember that closing the lid will increase the overall incubating temperature; make sure the water is not too hot.
- Straining: no straining should yield yogurt with a regular (not Greek) consistency, while 4 hours of straining should yield yogurt with an extra thick Greek yogurt consistency. 1-2 hours should yield the weight indicated for this recipe.
- In theory, once you have made the first batch of yogurt, the same homemade yogurt can be used over and over for new batches. However, we have found it is best not to use the homemade yogurt for more than three batches, or the tangy yogurt flavor starts to weaken.