I first started making my own Greek yogurt about a year ago when I tasted a friend’s homemade concoction. It was thick, creamy, delicious! (And I didn’t get violently ill, which I admit I was slightly concerned about when I saw the bowl of fermenting milk sitting in an oven for hours on end with just the light on.)
Although the entire process is a long one, each step takes only a few minutes — and turning regular old milk into decadent, thick yogurt is fun and extremely rewarding. Here’s how I do it (adapted from these instructions for Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt (Fat-Free):
What You Need to Make Greek Yogurt
- Large glass bowl for microwaving milk
- Digital cooking thermometer
- Mixer or whisk
- (Optional) Flavoring ingredients, such as vanilla, sugar, honey, etc.
How to Make Greek Yogurt Step-by-Step
Step One: Heat to 175 degrees
- Pour milk into a large glass bowl.
- Microwave on high until a digital thermometer reaches 175 degrees or above. Heating time will vary; it usually takes me about twenty minutes to half an hour of microwaving.
- To prevent flecks in the texture of your finished yogurt, whisk the milk intermittently (about every ten minutes) to break up milk skin.
- When the milk is nearing the right temperature, you’ll see small bubbles forming at the end of the bowl.
- Leave the milk out to cool down to between 110 and 120 degrees. Check periodically with your digital thermometer, but expect it to take about half an hour to forty-five minutes.
- Get one to two spoonfuls of yogurt from an existing batch and gently put into your milk. Don’t stir vigorously, and don’t put too much in.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300 and then turn the oven OFF.
- Turn the oven light ON.
- Wrap and cover your bowl with towels.
- Put it in the oven and wait for several hours. I usually leave it the oven overnight.
- When your yogurt is ready, it will have gelled. You’ll see a little bit of whey separated out on top and when you shake the bowl gently, the milk will be gelatinous.
- Place your colander inside a larger bowl and cover all the holes of the colander with cheesecloth.
- Pour the fermented milk gently into the cheesecloth, cover with a towel, and put it in the fridge.
- The longer you let the yogurt strain, the thicker it will be. Expect to let it strain for a few hours, at least.
- Pour whey into a glass jar to save it for cooking or other uses.
- Use a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer to whip your yogurt up. This part is really fun because it transforms your yogurt from questionable-looking to thick and silky.
- Add a dash of vanilla and some sugar, honey, almond extract, jam, whatever seems worth trying. This time I added coconut milk and a small amount of sugar. It was delicious, but it did make my yogurt a little thinner than I like my Greek yogurt to be.
- Store as you wish, but I prefer to separate into several smaller containers to conserve fridge space.
Grab a gallon of milk, follow the steps above, and see why I’m addicted to making homemade Greek yogurt. If you have any questions, ask!
Why Make Greek Yogurt
Following are a few broad reasons to try your hand at making your own homemade Greek yogurt.
Top Three Reasons to Make Your Own Greek Yogurt
- Making your own is significantly cheaper than buying it. Your cost is whatever it costs you to buy the milk you’ll make your yogurt with. Additionally, you get they byproduct of whey, which you can use instead of milk or buttermilk in many recipes, such as pancakes, waffles, smoothies, etc.
- Rather than being limited by whatever options your store carries in terms of serving size, packaging, organic vs. non-organic, and full-fat, part-fat, or fat-free, you choose exactly what you want when you buy milk. (I almost always choose fat-free.)
- Making your own yogurt allows you to flavor it exactly as you wish. Experiment with fruit, vanilla, sugar, honey, coconut milk, maple syrup…really the sky’s the limit.
- Greek yogurt has a higher protein:sugar ratio than regular yogurt. As US News puts it in Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?, “In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.”
- Greek yogurt’s high protein content means you stay fuller longer.
- Greek yogurt contains about half the amount of carbohydrates of regular yogurt.
- A six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains about 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium.
- Greek yogurt is wonderful for healthy substitutions: Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or cream cheese when you’re cooking or making dips, etc.
- Greek yogurt contains the good bacteria that promote digestive health.