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Hey guys! I have something new for you today. My mom and I have been making our own Greek yogurt for awhile now and I think we have it pretty much down to a science, so I thought I’d share with y’all how we do it in case there are other Greek-yogurt-maker-wannabees that need a little help getting started. This video here helped me get started; but I do things a little differently than they do nowadays, so I made my own video. However, that video I just linked to has some great info in it and is a great resource.
I really prefer the taste of homemade Greek yogurt to store-bought because the homemade stuff isn’t so tangy. If you like, add some sweetener such as THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder.
Ways to use your Greek yogurt:
- Easy Full-Size Greek Yogurt Variations (vanilla, peanut butter, key lime pie, and orange)
- Seven Simple Single-Serve Greek Yogurt Variations
- Vanilla Yogurt, Blueberry Topping, and Yogurt Parfaits a Myriad of Ways
You can find yogurt tutorials in both of my cookbooks!
Scroll down for some pictures.
1) Bring a gallon of skim milk to a boil over medium heat (approximately 45-55 minutes). Bringing the milk to a boil slowly helps the end product not be slimy.
Note: I’ve found that a stainless steel kettle with a moderately thick bottom works the best for this. On a gas range I turn the heat down to about 2 on a dial with 9 increments, so lower than I would an electric burner. It takes a little longer to come to a boil, but the milk doesn’t burn as badly to the bottom of the kettle.
2) Take the milk off the heat after it has achieved a slow boil; let the milk cool to bathwater temperature (approximately one hour).
3) Stir a heaping third cup of room temperature yogurt or Greek yogurt into the warm milk. The milk needs to be warm enough to allow the cultures to do their thing but not so hot that it kills them.
4) Cover the milk and put it in your oven with the light on overnight, or for at least six hours (until the milk comes together into one big curd).
5) Place a large piece of straining cloth (NOT cheesecloth, as that has big holes and your yogurt will run right through it; see the video or the pictures below for a description of what I used) over a strainer in a sink. Pour the yogurt into the cloth and tie the corners of the cloth up over a wooden spoon to form a bag. Don’t forget to save out some yogurt for your next batch! (Store this in the fridge in a sealed container.)
6) Hang the wooden spoon suspending the yogurt over a tall container to catch the whey.
7) Let the yogurt strain for 2-3 hours in the fridge, dumping the accumulated whey once or twice if necessary to keep the yogurt from hanging in whey. (I aim for 7-8 cups of strained yogurt from a gallon of milk for Greek-style yogurt.)
8) Store your strained yogurt in the fridge in your choice of container. Congratulations! You have made Greek yogurt!
When choosing a yogurt to use for your initial starter culture, look for one with a texture that you like. I’ve gotten varying results from various yogurts in the past. They all work, but I like the texture of some better than others. It makes sense that different active cultures are used in different yogurts depending on the desired end result!
It’s best to use a plain yogurt with no added sweeteners or flavors, but one of the best yogurt results I’ve gotten actually came when my plain starter yogurt I had saved from my previous batch of yogurt had pink mold growing on it because I waited longer than usual to make a new batch of yogurt and I had to use the only thing I had available in the fridge: some Siggi’s mixed berry Icelandic-style yogurt (skyr). I bought it for my husband when I found it on clearance and it contains some cane sugar (although a relatively small amount as yogurts go) and, of course, mixed berries. I used the whole 4.4 oz. (125 gram) container and waited with baited breath for the result in the morning. I wasn’t too worried about the cane sugar in the yogurt from a THM perspective because I knew that in a warm environment with bacteria going crazy, those sugars would likely get eaten up anyway, but I didn’t know if the extra stuff in the yogurt would keep the cultures from working properly.
I shouldn’t have worried, because in the morning I opened the lid of my kettle to find some of the thickest, most firmly set yogurt I’ve ever made! Of course I strained it to make Greek yogurt, and after I had added some stevia and vanilla and refrigerated it overnight, that stuff was amazing. I couldn’t really taste much of a mixed berry hint at all, and once I use some of my homemade yogurt as a starter for the next batch any flavor will be so diluted that it will be completely unnoticable.
MORAL OF STORY: get some Siggi’s yogurt and make yourself some yogurt! (I don’t know if they have a plain variety, but as I said, the small amount of added sugar will probably get eaten up anyway. There are 8 grams of sugar on the label but I’m sure some of that is natural sugar from the milk. I’m not recommending you go out and buy any ol’ sweetened yogurt to culture your homemade yogurt, but this one just worked so well and is much less sweet and higher quality than most storebought yogurt.) And if you’re having trouble getting your yogurt to culture, try a different brand of yogurt and/or get some fresh starter yogurt.
Check out the yogurt tutorial in the back of my second cookbook, Convenient Food, for another technique to strain your yogurt!
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein; and if you use skim milk and strain until the yogurt achieves a Greek-style consistency, you can use it in any type of Trim Healthy Mama meal (click here to find out more about the THM plan).
Making your own Greek yogurt allows you to collect lots of whey for use in yummy cultured recipes! Check out my cultured recipe list here.