Monday, March 9, 2015

Easy Homemade Yogurt

LOVE yogurt, but it can be rather expensive if you buy the good stuff all the time!

So I turned to pinterest to see if I could find a good copycat recipe to one of my favorite yogurts -Stonyfield Farms French Vanilla. I found one here and here, and after reading both decided to give my hand a try at it! It actually was really EASY! I was pleasantly surprised! The thing that took me the longest was reading through the recipe to make sure I didn't mess up on any of the steps!

Homemade Vanilla Yogurt
Prep time
Total time
Yogurt is fun to make, and requires no extra machine for culturing. A cooler works well for incubation.
Serves: 1 gallon
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1½ c sugar, divided (I used fructose)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pectin powder
  • ½ c cold water
  • ¼ c fresh Dannon (I used Stonyfield) yogurt, plain or vanilla (no jam)
  1. Heat milk in a heavy pot, to 190° F.
  2. Cool to 130° F (110-130° is OK)
  3. While milk is cooling, measure up sugar (reserving 2 Tbsp for later) and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Mix together the remaining sugar, and pectin power in a small pot; whisk in cold water and mix well until dissolved. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, set aside the yogurt culture needed.
  6. When milk has reached 130° F, add sugar and vanilla, and stir for 2 minutes until dissolved.
  7. Bring the pot of pectin mixture to a full rolling boil. Keep boiling for 1 minute.
  8. In a thin stream, pour the pectin mixture into the milk, stirring well while pouring.
  9. Add yogurt. Keep stirring well for 2 more minutes.
  10. Pour into clean jars through a strainer.
  11. Place jars in a cooler, then pour very warm water into cooler (130°F) until it reaches the lids of the jars.
  12. Close the lid of the cooler, and keep the temperature at 110-130° for 6-8 hours, or until your preferred tartness has been reached.
  13. Place jars in refrigerator to cool down.

Start by pouring a gallon of whole milk into a big pot. Heat to 190° F. I didn't have a candy thermometer, but from reading the recipe it was to the point where the milk started steaming, but definitely not boiling. Then you let the milk cool to 130°, while preparing the other steps.

While you wait, measure sugar (reserving 2 Tbsp) and vanilla.

Then whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar along with 1 Tbsp pectin powder in a tiny pot.

Without heating it yet, add 1/2 c cold water, whisking well until completely dissolved. Set aside for now; we'll heat it up later.

Next, measure 4 Tbsp (1/4 c) yogurt from the store which will be our starter. Your own yogurt can be used next time, but she says, "reading comments from people who have done this several times, it seems as if the effect only lasts a few times. Then they start having problems with their yogurt setting properly, until they use store bought yogurt again. So far I’ve only used starter from the store, I’ve never tried homemade yogurt as a starter."

I used Stonyfield's French Vanilla yogurt. It has to be a yogurt that contains live and active cultures.

Note: More starter is not better when it comes to culturing. Stick to the amounts given; if you add more, it can cause problems with the culturing process.

While still waiting for the milk to cool down gather your jars, a two cup glass measuring cup (to transfer the milk from the pot into the jars), and a strainer.

Make sure your jars are properly cleaned to avoid trouble with strange bacteria growth during the fermentation process. If they have been through the dishwasher they should be good.

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