Why I Make Homemade Yogurt

by Kristen on October 19, 2009 · 34 comments

in Uncategorized

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Homemade yogurt is a slightly unusual thing to make, and since yogurt is widely available, you might be wondering why in the world I bother. Here are a few reasons.

For starters, yogurt is a really inexpensive food to eat if it’s homemade. A quart of non-organic yogurt costs $2-$3 in my area, but I can make yogurt for $.50 a quart, which is a large savings. Four quarts of grocery store yogurt per week would cost me between $416 and $624 a year, and this yogurt(from milk purchased at $2/gallon) costs me a measly $52 a year.

You can even make yogurt from organic milk and save money. A $5 gallon of milk produces four quarts of yogurt, each of which costs only $1.25. Even if you pay $7 for a gallon of milk, a quart of yogurt made from that milk will only cost you $1.75.

If you usually buy individually packaged yogurts, making homemade yogurt will save you even more money.

In addition, homemade yogurt is environmentally friendly. The only trash (which should be recyclable) produced in this process comes from the original milk carton. The yogurt itself is made and stored in reusable Mason jars.

Lastly, homemade yogurt is delightfully natural. It has exactly two ingredients: milk and yogurt cultures. There’s no pectin, no starches, no guar gum, no colorings, and no preservatives. I love that. Despite the fact that it has no preservatives, an unopened jar will keep for at least a month in the fridge, and an opened jar will last for at least a week.

If you’d like to make some inexpensive, green, and healthy yogurt, check out my homemade yogurt recipe.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie January 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I’m going to make this this weekend. I’m inspired by the picture!

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2 KNice January 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Great post.. my wife buys individual yogurt cups for work. Hmm.. if those are $1 per each 6oz(?) container, then she pays roughly $21.33 (128/6 * $1) per gallon of yogurt! She probably consumes 2 gallons per month, so I could save at least $30 per month. Hmm… I think I will have to try this!

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3 Dilly,England January 29, 2010 at 11:13 am

I used to make my own yoghurt years back, but I am inspired to start again after reading this

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4 kathyr November 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm

i agree, Dilly! Made it when my children were little, but now need to restart for my grandchildren.
:)

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5 Shauna March 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Do you have nutrition info?

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6 erin June 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

thanks for this. i’ve tried the crockpot yogurt and found it super thin; yours looks amazing. i can buy whole milk in returnable glass jars, and starter yogurt in returnable ceramic crocks, so this is actually a no-waste recipe for me. gotta love it.

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7 namastemama July 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

ok- I tried, twice. My cost ended up being $2.86 a quart. I had to buy starter because where I live I could NOT find a small cup of plain, and the kids had already opened the big quart. Even if I didn’t buy starter and bought just the organic milk it would cost $1.93 per quart. I don’t think the cost savings is worth it for as much trouble as this project was and I don’t even know if the 2nd time will turn out. Now that our local recycle will take the 5 plastics I think I might just stick to purchasing. Give me hope please… tell me to try just one more time:)

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8 Angie July 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Say it isn’t so! :( Are you comparing your cost to the cost of organic yogurt? (I hope not, because that might be resulting in your large cost for homemade.) I am going to give this a try today, but I’m only doing 2 quarts (the kids cracked open the gallon of milk this morning which I got for this). We don’t eat a lot of yogurt – only my husband and he only eats Yoplait ~ at almost 7 teaspoons sugar per 6 oz. serving! That’s over one teaspoon of sugar per oz.!! 27g sugar/4 = 6.75 (one teaspoon of suger weighs approx. 4g. I forsee lots of smoothies in our future – especially with all the homemade jams and jellies we have been given lately!

There are some other tips and suggestions at this site: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/04/13/monday-mission-homemade-yogurt-the-easy-way/
along with a very detailed set of instructions. She lets hers ferment in the cooler for up to 24 hours. I’m going to try Kristen’s method first and see how it turns out.

I’ll make mine, and you re-make yours, and we’ll meet up here again and tell each other how it came out. Okay? Okay. (my 6 y.o.’s new favorite thing to say).

Good luck.

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9 Erin July 25, 2010 at 11:06 am

I just made my own homemade yogurt last night. When we tried it this morning, we were pretty happy with it, overall. I was hoping it would be a bit thicker, but it wasn’t runny (about the same consistency as the purchased tubs of plain yogurt), so I think I can live with it. Thicker yogurt just makes for less mess when feeding baby! Also, the texture was a tad bit grainy. Any suggestions for that?

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10 Angie July 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Made the yogurt yesterday with slight variation. As I was letting the milk cool, I went off in search of the cooler (Follows Directions: U). Seems the cooler is hiding, so I added more water to my pressure cooker, previously used to steralize the jars, got it to 120 deg., and let the milk mixture yogurtize in there. Too cold? Turn on the burner. After about 5 hours, I put it in the freezer for an hour, then to the fridge. This morning I checked it and it is yogurt ~ with no whey. No Way! I was going to use that to bake some bread with. Oh well. The kids say it tastes nothing like Go-Gurt ~ um . . . my point exactly. They won’t eat it yet. Maybe in smoothies?

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11 Angie July 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Almost forgot to say THANK YOU KRISTEN. So far I am a yogurt makin’, bread bakin’, diner cookin’ MANIAC! I never thought I could do these things. Thank you so much.

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12 Mary August 31, 2010 at 12:11 am

This is absolutely brilliant. I have no acceptable jars as of yet, but this is brilliant.

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13 Dana April 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm

This sounds amazing! I have to admit, when I first read about saving money by making your own yogurt, I thought…no way. Too much work. I buy the vanilla in the quart container and it’s much cheaper than individual servings. But now that I’ve read your post, I think I will try it. I even have jars. I like that there is less waste, and not all the sugar and preservatives. Two ingredients? Sign me up! So, how about some serving suggestions, other than smoothies? What do you serve it with to your kids? Fresh fruit, sure. What else? Thanks for sharing this info. I appreciate you letting us know we don’t have to have canning jars because I don’t. I have several empty jam jars. I can’t wait to try this. I love your blog. Getting ready to tackle my own. First I have to learn how!

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14 Kristen April 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

We eat it in bowls with fresh fruit and granola, or we stir a bit of jam into a bowl. My kids like to sprinkle wheat germ over the top too.

I hope yours turns out well!

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15 Jenny May 24, 2012 at 6:25 am

Hi Kristen, am going to give this a try. We live in Australia & I don’t have any canning or preserving jars. What I am going to try using is 500mL spaghetti sauce jars with metal lids. Do you think they will work??

I know, we use the metric system down here. I had to convert your recipe and am going to try with just 1 Litre to start with (which I believe is close to a quart.) I have bought a milk frothing thermometer (if this works it will be a good investment for just $6).

Thank you for all your ideas. I have also started baking my own bread, though we do still use the odd store bought loaf.

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16 norma August 8, 2012 at 11:34 am

I have been looking for a yogurt recipe. thank you so much for yours. keep those hints, ideas and recipes coming.

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17 norma August 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

do you have any recipes for using yogurt in banana bread, etc. or cakes and muffins. I tried puting yogurt into muffins after the other ingredients and they turned out delicious. any recipes with yogurt would be wonderful. thank you.

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18 Leah October 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Hi Norma, I have a favorite banana bread recipe that uses yogurt. The America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Banana Bread is great. I have made a couple of minor changes that have made me happy. I sub some of the white flour with whole wheat. I also substitute half the sugar with dark brown sugar (I like the rich flavor it lends the bread). I’ve also been known to sub the butter with canola oil if I am running low on butter. It’s delicious and I’ve been asked for the recipe many times. I hope you give it a chance and enjoy it.
http://foodfolksandfun.net/2010/10/americas-test-kitchen-banana-bread/

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19 Vee September 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Hi,

Nice to see some homemade yogurt fans here :) When I was growing up in Southern India, store-bought yogurt was a rarity. We all made our yogurt at home – daily. My mom would just add the yogurt left over from that day to the (boiled) milk left over from that day (we had milk delivered to our doorstep daily) and keep it overnight. By next morning, we had a fresh batch of yogurt for the day. After moving to the States, I have tried to make homemade yogurt once in a while, since the daily routine doesn’t work anymore.

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20 Meghan February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi there! If you see this comment, could you possibly tell me if this could be made with soy milk instead of milk? We try not to drink milk. Thanks!

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21 Kristen February 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I am no expert on non-dairy yogurts, but in the comments of this post: http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2011/07/ask-the-readers-non-dairy-homemade-yogurt/ you will find some helpful information. I believe you have to do some things differently to get soy milk to make yogurt.

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22 Bonnie April 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Frugal Girl,
I am now in to my second week of making yogurt. My first batch was with half a gallon of milk and I used dairy-made yogurt as the starter. I used 1 cup of yogurt starter and did the cooler trick. The yogurt came out beautifully. I made 5 pints of yogurt with this recipe and to my surprise, am nearly out! I am now as I type, making a gallon’s worth!Before finding this page, I didn’t eat yogurt because it was too expensive. I did not realize how simple it is to make!
Thank you!
Bonnie

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23 Kristen April 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Oh yes, don’t you just love how cheap it is??

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24 Donna J. July 14, 2013 at 7:53 am

I made this yesterday and it turned out beautifully. It was the first time I’d ever attempted home made yogurt. Thank you for the simple, easy to follow instructions. We go through at least two to three quarts of yogurt a week and this will allow me to see a real savings!

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25 Lara July 31, 2013 at 10:59 pm

How long will this last? Can I use Greek yogurt as a starter? I’m excited to try it!

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26 Kristen August 1, 2013 at 8:28 am

Unopened jars keep for at least a month. I haven’t personally used Greek yogurt, but other people have, with mixed success. I highly recommend either regular Dannon or Yoplait for a starter (Greek starter will not make super thick yogurt-you have to drain regular yogurt to get Greek yogurt.)

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27 Margo August 14, 2013 at 6:43 am

Nice posts Kristen.
I make yoghurt routinely as we have with muesli for b’fast. I used to make Greek-style with buffalo milk and strain out the whey (used in soups, bread etc) but switched to low fat when we began to look like buffaloes.
My method is somewhat simpler. I heat a liter of milk on medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove top with starter set outside of fridge to warm. This takes ~ 20 mins, during which time I can get on with whatever else, usually prep dinner as I always make after work.
When the milk is quite hot, I crank the heat up to high and stir constantly with a stainless steel spoon until it comes to a good boil, taking care for it not to boil over. This takes less than 5 mins.
I then set it aside to cool to body temp (finger test) and stir in the starter yoghurt, either from prior batch or any low-fat plain commercial tub.
I then put the lid on the pot and leave it somewhere warm to incubate overnight.
I whisk it in the morning and pour into a plastic jug with sealed top and put it in the fridge. The entire hands-on is less than 10 mins and involves one pot and one spoon.
The yoghurt is thin, but that suits me as I can quickly pour it into the muesli I prepare for b’fast the night before so I can grab and run to work, where I eat it.

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28 Stacy September 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

Hi! Thanks for this post. I’ve been paying $5 a tub for greek yogurt at Trader Joe’s and would really like to make my own to save money (I eat a lot of yogurt). I don’t have mason jars, though. I do have jars saved from the store, the kind with twist off tops. Will these also work?

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29 Kristen September 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

Yes, those should be fine.

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30 deb December 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm

At most stores near, yogurt is expensive as it is for you. We have a Trader Joe’s, which sells organic yogurt for $1.99/quart. I have not been able to make organic yogurt myself for less than $1.99 a quart, so I stopped making it. If the price goes up, I’ll go back to making it myself!

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31 Kristen January 1, 2014 at 5:46 am

If you can get a gallon of milk for less than $8, then making yogurt at home will be cheaper than $1.99/quart yogurt. A gallon of milk makes a gallon of yogurt…nothing is lost to whey, as it would be if you were making cheese.

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32 E Jones February 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm

I’ve made this 3 times now with success! Love it!

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