Make Yogurt at Home With Just 2 Ingredients

by Ella

Yogurt is a versatile and nutritious dairy product enjoyed by people around the world. Not only is it a delicious treat on its own, but it also serves as a base for numerous culinary creations, from smoothies to sauces. While store-bought yogurt is readily available, making yogurt at home can be a rewarding and cost-effective endeavor. With just two simple ingredients and a bit of patience, you can create creamy and flavorful yogurt right in your own kitchen.

The Benefits of Homemade Yogurt

1. Nutritional Superiority

When you make yogurt at home, you have direct control over the ingredients used, particularly the type of milk. This control enables you to opt for higher quality milk, such as organic or grass-fed milk, which contains a superior nutrient profile compared to conventional milk. Homemade yogurt made from whole milk is a rich source of essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, protein, and probiotics.


2. Probiotic Power

One of the most compelling reasons to indulge in homemade yogurt is its probiotic content. Probiotics are live bacteria that confer numerous health benefits to the digestive system and beyond. Commercially produced yogurts often contain added probiotics, but the potency and variety of strains might be limited. By making yogurt at home, you can choose a diverse starter culture or incorporate multiple types of probiotics, thereby maximizing the potential benefits for gut health and overall well-being.


3. Control Over Additives

Many store-bought yogurts are laden with additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners that can undermine the health benefits of yogurt. By crafting your yogurt at home, you eliminate the need for unnecessary additives and artificial ingredients. This ensures that your yogurt remains a wholesome and natural source of nourishment.


4. Customization and Flavor Innovation

Homemade yogurt offers endless possibilities for flavor experimentation and customization. You can infuse your yogurt with various natural sweeteners like honey or agave, or add fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds to enhance taste and texture. This creative freedom allows you to tailor your yogurt to your specific dietary preferences and cravings.


The Two Essential Ingredients

Making yogurt at home requires only two fundamental ingredients: milk and a yogurt starter culture. The starter culture contains live bacteria strains, mainly Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which ferment the milk and turn it into yogurt. You can either purchase a yogurt starter culture or use a small amount of store-bought plain yogurt with live active cultures as your starter.

When it comes to milk, whole milk produces the creamiest and most traditional yogurt. However, you can also use low-fat or skim milk if you’re looking for a lighter option. If you prefer plant-based yogurt, select a milk alternative fortified with calcium and vitamins.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Yogurt at Home

Making Yogurt

Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Yield: 2
Cost: $2


  • A large pot
  • A thermometer
  • A whisk or spoon
  • A clean kitchen towel
  • A heating pad or an oven with a light


  • Milk
  • Yogurt starter culture


Heat the Milk

  • Start by pouring the desired amount of milk into a large pot.
  • Place the pot on the stove over medium heat.
  • Heat the milk gradually, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. The goal is to heat the milk to around 180°F (82°C).

Cool the Milk

  • Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Allow the milk to cool down to approximately 110°F (43°C). This step is crucial, as temperatures higher than this can kill the live cultures in the starter.

Add the Starter Culture

  • In a small bowl, mix a small amount of the cooled milk with the yogurt starter culture. Stir well to ensure the starter is thoroughly incorporated.
  • Gently pour the mixture back into the pot of cooled milk. Use a whisk or spoon to ensure an even distribution of the starter culture.

Incubate the Yogurt

  • Cover the pot with a clean kitchen towel to retain warmth.
  • Place the pot on a heating pad set to low, or inside an oven with the light turned on. The goal is to maintain a consistent temperature of around 110°F (43°C) for the incubation period.
  • Allow the yogurt to incubate for 6 to 12 hours. The longer the incubation time, the tangier and thicker the yogurt will become.

Tips for Success

Sanitation: Ensure all equipment and utensils are thoroughly cleaned before starting the yogurt-making process. Cleanliness is essential to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Starter Quality: When using store-bought yogurt as a starter, choose plain yogurt with live active cultures and no added flavorings or thickeners.

Consistent Temperature: Maintaining a stable incubation temperature is critical for successful yogurt fermentation. A heating pad or oven with a light can help achieve this.

Incubation Time: The incubation time can vary based on personal preference and desired yogurt thickness. Experiment with different times to find your preferred taste and texture.

Thickening Agents: If you prefer a thicker yogurt, you can add milk powder or gelatin during the heating process. This will result in a creamier final product.

How to Store Yogurt

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the freshness, flavor, and quality of your homemade yogurt. Storing yogurt correctly not only extends its shelf life but also ensures that it remains safe to eat. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to store yogurt effectively:

1. Choose the Right Container: Selecting the appropriate container for storing your yogurt is essential. Opt for clean, airtight containers made of glass or food-grade plastic. Mason jars, glass storage containers, or containers specifically designed for yogurt storage are all suitable options. Avoid containers that are not airtight, as they can lead to moisture loss and potential contamination.

2. Transfer to Storage Containers: After your homemade yogurt has completed the incubation period and achieved the desired consistency, transfer it to your chosen storage containers. Use a ladle or spoon to gently scoop the yogurt into the containers, ensuring you do not introduce excess air.

3. Skip Flavor Mixing: While it’s tempting to mix in flavorings or additives before storing, it’s best to leave your yogurt plain. Add any desired flavorings, sweeteners, or mix-ins just before serving to preserve the yogurt’s freshness and prevent unwanted separation.

4. Seal the Containers: Ensure that the containers are tightly sealed to prevent air from entering and compromising the yogurt’s quality. The airtight seal helps retain moisture and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

5. Refrigeration: Once your yogurt is securely sealed in containers, promptly place them in the refrigerator. Refrigeration is essential to slow down bacterial growth and maintain the yogurt’s freshness. Keep the temperature of your refrigerator set at or below 40°F (4°C) to ensure optimal storage conditions.

6. Shelf Life: Homemade yogurt typically remains fresh in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 weeks. The exact shelf life may vary based on factors such as the milk used, the cleanliness of equipment, and the handling of the yogurt.

7. Prevent Cross-Contamination: To prevent cross-contamination and maintain good hygiene, keep your yogurt containers away from raw meats, poultry, and other potential sources of contamination.

8. Avoid Freezing: While yogurt can be frozen, it’s important to note that freezing can alter the texture and consistency of yogurt. If you plan to freeze yogurt, do so in small portions, as freezing and thawing can cause separation. Thaw frozen yogurt in the refrigerator and consume it relatively quickly to maintain quality.

9. Observe for Signs of Spoilage: Even when properly stored, yogurt can still spoil over time. Signs of spoilage include an off smell, unusual texture, mold growth, or an excessively sour taste. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to discard the yogurt.

See Also: Yogurt for Diabetics: All You Want To Know

FAQs About Making Yogurt

Q1. Can I use any type of milk to make yogurt?

Yes, you can use various types of milk to make yogurt, including cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and plant-based alternatives like almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Different types of milk will yield slightly different flavors and textures in the final yogurt.

Q2. Can I reuse the whey drained from yogurt?

Yes, the whey drained from yogurt can be used in various culinary applications. It’s a good source of protein and can be used in smoothies, as a liquid in baking, or even as a marinade for meats.

Q3. Can I use store-bought yogurt as a starter for every batch?

While you can use store-bought yogurt as a starter for multiple batches, it’s recommended to occasionally introduce a fresh starter culture from a yogurt starter package. Over time, the bacterial cultures in store-bought yogurt can weaken, potentially affecting the quality of your homemade yogurt.

Q4. Why did my yogurt turn out runny?

Several factors can contribute to runny yogurt, including not incubating the yogurt long enough, using milk with too low fat content, or improper temperature maintenance during incubation. Longer incubation times and using milk with a higher fat content can help achieve a thicker consistency.

Q5. Can I sweeten or flavor the yogurt before incubation?

It’s generally best to add sweeteners, flavorings, or mix-ins after the yogurt has finished incubating and has reached the desired consistency. Adding these ingredients before incubation can interfere with the fermentation process and affect the final texture.

Q6. Can I use homemade yogurt as a starter for my next batch?

Yes, you can use a small portion of your homemade yogurt as a starter for your next batch. Just make sure that the yogurt you use as a starter is fresh, free from contaminants, and hasn’t been sitting in the fridge for an extended period.

Q7. Can I make yogurt without a thermometer?

While a thermometer is highly recommended for accurate temperature control during the heating and cooling stages, you can make yogurt without one by carefully monitoring the milk’s appearance and temperature changes. However, using a thermometer ensures consistency and better results.

Q8. My yogurt has mold on top. Is it safe to eat?

Mold growth on yogurt is a sign that it has spoiled and should not be consumed. If you notice mold on the surface of your yogurt, discard the entire batch.

Enjoying Your Homemade Yogurt

Once your homemade yogurt is ready, the possibilities are endless. You can enjoy it as a wholesome snack, mix it into smoothies, use it as a topping for granola, or incorporate it into sauces and marinades for added creaminess. Feel free to get creative with flavor additions, such as honey, fresh fruit, or a drizzle of maple syrup.

In conclusion, making yogurt at home with just two ingredients is a simple and fulfilling process. Not only does homemade yogurt offer numerous health benefits, but it also allows you to customize the flavor, thickness, and ingredients according to your preferences. By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the provided tips, you can master the art of homemade yogurt and savor its deliciousness with every spoonful.



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