Introduction: No Mess Yogurt Making

Picture of No Mess Yogurt Making

This is the easiest way to make your own fresh yogurt. I make it everyday- it's just that simple! It has saved me so much money and you can also just as easily make a spreadable yogurt cheese from the technique.

Whole milk produces a bit more than non-fat and is also quite a bit thicker when finished. I like a really thick yogurt so I usually strain out a lot of the whey when I'm done. The whey strains out quicker in the non-fat than the whole, but again you're left with less of a yield that way.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

Picture of What You Will Need.

All you need to make your yogurt is:

- milk
- a large pot
- a glass jar with a lid (sterile)
- a starter (can be a couple tablespoons from store bought yogurt with live cultures)
- a spoon (sterile)
- a candy thermometer (optional)
- a wash cloth (optional)

Step 2: Preparing the Milk.

Picture of Preparing the Milk.

The next step is to bring the milk to a temperature that will kill any bad bacteria that is already present. You do this by scalding it.

1. Pour milk into jar.
2. Put jar into pot of water on stove. Make sure the water line comes to about half way up the jar of milk.
3. Turn stove on high.
4. Periodically check milk until it reaches the temp of 185 F, or if you don't want to use a thermometer just wait until you can see tiny bubbles starting to form around the edges of the milk. It will also begin to form a skin on the top.

Step 3: Removing the Jar to Cool.

Picture of Removing the Jar to Cool.

Remove the jar from the stove top and let it cool for about 45 mins in the refrigerator. It will be between 100 F and 125 F.

Also, take out your starter from the refrigerator while the milk is cooling to bring it up to room temperature.
I also turn my oven on warm at this point to make sure there is no temperature fluctuation while the yogurt is in incubation phase.

Step 4: Adding Starter.

Picture of Adding Starter.

So it's been about 45 mins and your milk is ready for the starter! Just add it with your sterile spoon and stir.

Step 5: Incubation Phase.

Picture of Incubation Phase.

Now the trick is to keep your milk at a temperature between 90 F and 130 F. You have to do this to keep the cultures doing their thing.

My oven vents it's warm air through the back stove top burner. Which works perfectly when I have the oven on warm to incubate my milk into yogurt.

Step 6: You Got Yogurt!

Picture of You Got Yogurt!

Let your yogurt incubate anywhere between 4 to 12 hrs, it just depends on the tanginess and thickness you want. More time means more of a tangy flavor and a thicker yogurt, but you can always thicken it up by straining it for an hour or so.

I usually get my jar incubating right before I go to bed and wake up in the morning to strain it in the fridge.

Remember to remove some of the yogurt for your next batch. I remove a few tablespoons before straining.

Step 7: Straining the Yogurt.

Picture of Straining the Yogurt.

To strain the yogurt just lay some coffee filters in the bottom of a colinder fitted inside a large bowl, pour in finished yogurt, and cover.

I usually let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour with non-fat or a few hours with whole, but then again I like a really thick yogurt. If you leave the yogurt straining overnight you get a nice spreadable yogurt cheese.

After it is to the thickness you want, just spoon into a storage container and you're done.


MagnusD1 (author)2016-03-10

Too complicated. I have developed a much simpler method: 1. Mix a spoonful of cold starter yoghurt with cold ultra-pasteurized milk. 2. Put the milk in a place that is 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit until it has thickened, from 8 to 24 hours. 3. Chill and enjoy. I have done this many times and I have not had a batch fail yet. I make half a gallon at a time and it has always turned out perfect.

Notice the absence of of the messy heating and cooling step. The milk is already ultra-pasteurized when you get it from the store, which means it was already heated to 280 degrees F at the dairy--so why would I re-pasteurize and re-denature the milk by heating it again?

I use milk from a carton that has not been opened until I'm ready to make the yogurt. My incubator box is my oven, which I am able to set to any temperature above ambient. I like to use 46 degrees F for 24 hours because I like my yogurt really tart.

Remember that yogurt was made for hundreds of years, long before thermometers and refregration was invented. It can't be that complicated.

boostme (author)2015-09-18

I have been making yogurt for several years after having been through oral cancer treatment and finding it one of the few protein sources I can use. Do not like the taste texture or cost of store bought yogurt. After much thought and trial and error I discovered the best method for myself. I had an old deep fry cooker with a dial thermostat sitting in the cupboard not being used. I do not trust the thermostat dial, so I use a candy thermometer. Put 4 about quart size glass jars w/lids in the cooker. !/4 cup of sugar in each jar. One cup half and half over the sugar. 1 Tbsp extract of whatever flavor (I'm afraid more might kill the starter w/alcohol). Stir and fill up the jars the rest of the way with whole milk. Put a water bath around the jars. Heat the bath to 200 F, turn it off to cool to about 100 F, add store bought starter, set the dial to maintain 100 all night. Next morning I have what I wanted, my yogurt, my way..

Takelababy (author)2012-12-05

I use my small slow cooker to bring to temp. then turn it off, then remove the ceramic dish with the milk and lid and wrap thickly in towels and set in a picnic cooler and leave overnight.

Yogurtdad (author)2012-03-22

I needed a reliable method to maintain temperatures for my bread making. I ended buying a brot &Taylor proofing box,, and it has allowed me to make yogurt in a much simpler and reliable way. Most all yogurt maker machines in the market are too small for a family of four and the proofing box has allowed me to do large batches. It is also used for germinating seeds. I was not being very succesfull with the other "artisanal" methods. It is all about the right tool for the job. Great Comments from all. Thank you!

Ray Power (author)2012-01-21

Thanks spuds, for the great instructable (the simple ones are the best). I've made a few batches already but I'm wondering: If I use UHT milk can I skip the milk heating step? I believe UHT stands for ultra high temperature and refers to the pasteurization of the milk. It has a fairly long shelf life and is not refrigerated until opened.

quinault (author)2008-09-24

I tried, it become too sour to drink.

Kringlur (author)quinault2012-01-12

Add sugar and vanilla? People normally add sugar to plain yoghurt when eating anyway.

Poe-tate-o (author)quinault2008-09-24

Try a very very fresh starter or get a a starter from the a health food store. It helps quite a bit.

coorodden (author)2011-11-02

Did as you said with towel on the bottom and water half way up. Broke my jar. Lost my good rich raw milk. What did I do wrong? I started with cool water in the pot, turned the ceramic burner on medium, then on high. It was fine at medium.

Blaik (author)2011-05-26

Another method that works well and especially in making bigger batches (I normally do about a half gallon at a time) is to get a cheap styrofoam cooler and put your jars in there and then fill with warm/hot water to keep the temp where you want it. The insulation of the cooler keeps the water at temp w/o any need for adjustment (at least with mine) for about 2 hrs, but I keep my water on the lower end of the temp range, so if you did it warmer I'm sure it'd stay warm longer,

kensbest (author)2010-05-30

How Much?

jamina (author)kensbest2011-04-20

1 - 2 tsp should be plenty.

jamina (author)2011-04-20

If you're using unpasteurized milk, heating it to 185 essentially defeats the purpose of using unpasteurized milk to begin with. Most sources state that heating to just under 110 is perfectly fine for raw milk, and you retain the benefits of the raw milk cultures.

Store bought milk is full of weird stuff though, so I'd heat the hell out of it just to be safe.

roulopa (author)2008-10-30

What a WAIST of energy! Using your oven vent for 4/12 hours, warming the milk before processing and then putting it straight into the fridge to cool down (doing so, warming up the whole fridge!). Where do you think global warming comes from.... Why not using a yoghurt machine that will keep your yoghurt starter / milk base warm for the same time? It's much more energy efficient and you don't end up wasting your money and proper energy. Please, keep things simple and efficient.

oakspoor (author)roulopa2011-04-19

Simple and efficient doesn't involve buying yet another single purpose machine.

roulopa (author)oakspoor2011-04-19

This is very true, unless you can use this type of low heating machine for yogurt, cheese or just keeping something warm (yeast).
That being said, a yogurt machine can easily be found at car boot sales for under 10$.
I make yogurt or cheese every week and it's only the two of use.

oakspoor (author)roulopa2011-04-19

My point is that wrapping in towels, placing the ferment in a cooler is more efficient and much simpler. If you want to complicate it a bit, put a container of hot water in the cooler as well to act as a heat sink. I use this process with great results for fermenting yogurt, wine, sauerkraut, raising dough, etc. I love my yeasties!

When you are finished with the yogurt, you can take the towels and cooler out to the beech or for a picnic.

Yes I've seen those yogurt machines cheap at yard sales. I couldn't justify even this small expense and energy use compared to insulating methods that have served our ancestors so well.

ms_jane (author)roulopa2009-11-28

 too bad you misspelled "waste". apparently you "waisted" 18 years of teh edumacatshunz.

good instructable!

roulopa (author)ms_jane2010-12-22

misspelling when you are originally a none English speaker is not that important, you got the point, didn't you?
And btw, can you speak any other language...?

mooo ham add (author)roulopa2011-01-11


Poe-tate-o (author)roulopa2008-10-30

Thanks for the input!

The_Cloaked_One (author)2011-04-16

Okay, I followed this to a key, but when I got up this morning and pulled the yoghurt out of the oven, it is all just liquid still. And my dad forgot it was in there and heated up to 285 for a it dead?

oakspoor (author)The_Cloaked_One2011-04-19

You should be able to start over with this batch. Just warm it to the incubation temp and add more starter. Then tape a note to the oven dial to remind Dad you have a project going.

pstuart (author)2009-09-22

If you are starting with pasteurized milk then bacteria shouldn't be an issue. That said, this step helps denature the milk proteins which makes for a much thicker, creamier yogurt.

The_Cloaked_One (author)pstuart2011-04-09

It's not that it's the bacteria in the milk itself, its external bacteria in the instruments that can mess with the fermentation. They do it for the same reason they do in making beer and wine.

And it can be that the milk was contaminated by bacteria in the air.

dimitris1 (author)2011-01-13

Also why do your take out of the refrigerator the starter?

dimitris1 (author)2011-01-13

By turning your oven to warm, how this results to avoid temperature fluctuation since the yogurt is placed into the refrigerator.
Btw thanks for sharing with us this simple process to make yogurt.

mooo ham add (author)2011-01-11

thanks for helping me finally make pizza you guys :D

friezer (author)2008-09-13

I'm not following something... do you leave your oven on all night for the incubation phase when you do this?

beanco (author)friezer2010-07-05

There is no need for the oven to be on at all! I jus made a batch, I simply heated the milk, let it cool, mixed in a couple tablespoons of yogurt placed it all in a jar, put the lid on loosely, ie. i just laid it on and stuck it in the oven because it was not in the way on the counter . I could have just left it out but I need the counter for making bread.... turned out just fine. I did not/do not have a thermometer, I did it by feel. Ppl have been making yogurt far longer than heat measuring devices and electricity and ovens have existed.

Poe-tate-o (author)friezer2008-09-14

I usually do, but you can keep it heated anyway you want to. I just do it this way because it has been fail proof for me. I've even heard of people just keeping the jar on top of there fridge wrapped in a blanket and the appliance radiates enough heat to keep it in the right range.

wokwithme (author)2010-02-17

Why don't you try Kefir Cultures(grains)? Works in 24 hours without the need for oven.

CargilB (author)2010-01-28

Ive been wanting to do this for ages, hav ei known how easy it was i would never have waiting this long!

I am into the whole eat raw thing and was wondering if the scalding of the milk is a necessary process? Would it work if I used fresh raw milk?


Also what cultures can I use if I don’t want to use shop bought yoghurt?

lubinka (author)CargilB2010-02-16

You DO need to boil the milk - I've tried it otherwise (for the same reasons with you) and it doesn't work.

m3harri (author)2009-10-01

I wonder if powdered milk can be used

cfuse (author)m3harri2009-12-11

Yes, I use powdered milk (exclusively - for reasons of economy. It is way cheaper than real milk is, and the end product is just as good).

You can use some, or all powdered in your mix, and the real beauty is that I don't have to strain my yoghurt like the author does - I just start out with double or triple the amount of milk powder for making milk.

osp001 (author)2009-01-09

I use a digital thermometer probe ($20 here in the US) with an alarm; I put the milk on low heat, and the alarm goes off at 185F. There's no need to boil it, and makes cleaning the pot easier. There's no reason to stir if you keep the temperature low enough. Secondly, when you need to cool it down, either just let it stand, or put it in a pan of water in the sink. That'll keep from heating up your refrigerator. Third, if you have an electric oven (no pilot light), check the temperature inside when you just leave the bulb on. Ours stays right at the perfect temperature for making yogurt. Pop it inside, leave the light on, and let it ferment for 24 hours. Works great.

mtjohnson6 (author)2008-12-11

RE: My post on 10/24/2008. I tried the Jello was a MESS!!! The knox gelatin did work just fine but regular Jello was a horrible mistake. Next, I need to try pudding. I have some banana cream in my cabinet that I want to use. I plan to whip up a batch this weekend. So I will post once I know the outcome. ~me

mtjohnson6 (author)mtjohnson62008-12-11

See my post on 9/20/2008. The comment below this one is regarding that post not the 10/24 post. Sorry!!


Romaida (author)2008-10-26

Thanks for the instructable. I made some and its great! How long will it keep in the fridge? I don't want to eat spoiled yogurt... yuck!

Poe-tate-o (author)Romaida2008-10-30

It should keep up to week if not longer. We always run out before the week is up, my husband and son love yogurt. I'm glad it turn out!

mtjohnson6 (author)2008-09-20

OK...from my exhaustive search for yogurt recipes online...I found that several use gelatin to thicken them. So, I have decided that I might try a little Lemon Jello to flavor/sweeten/thicken mine. I am going to add it to the cooled milk before I incubate it. Does anyone see any potential problems with that? The kids and I are going to whip up a batch today, I will post our recipe and instructions tomorrow. If I am feeling REALLY adventurous...I might post my own Instructable...uhmmmm....So, tune in tomorrow kids at the same bat time on the same bat channel...BAM!!! ZONK!! ZOWIEEEEEE!! "Holy Bat Yogurt Batman" :-)

velvetjones (author)mtjohnson62008-10-23

Alton Brown adds powdered milk to his to thicken. How did the jello work?

mtjohnson6 (author)velvetjones2008-10-24

Hey there!! Since my last post, I have found a new recipe that uses Knox unflavored Gelatin. I made it recently and it turned out nice and thick and creamy. I have typed up all of the info to post an Instructable, I have pictures but I need to upload them. When I do, I will mention ALL of the many methods that I have tried. I have not tried regular jello again since my last post but I might try it again this weekend. I need to figure out exactly how much to use, by trial and error...but I am going to shoot for lemon this weekend. I will post my findings, if not the whole Instructable. Thanks for the inquiry... ~me

Poe-tate-o (author)mtjohnson62008-09-24

Can't wait to hear how it turns out!

mtjohnson6 (author)mtjohnson62008-09-21 we did it!! We made a batch of yogurt...the results were interesting...I came up with a new recipe and as soon as I get the exact measurements for the jello, I will post an Instructable...YES...the jello did work!! It provided flavor/thickness and color. I was good and the kids LOVED it. We made lime. More to follow... Hopefully I will be posting within the next week.

indarch (author)2008-09-18

Has anyone tried this method with soy milk? I am so interested in making my own soy yogurt because even the plain stuff in the hfs has sugar in it and I want mine TOTALLY unsweetened.

stib (author)indarch2008-09-18

The bacteria eat lactose, which is precisely what soy milk doesn't have. You'll end up with off soy milk, sorry.

redheadeb (author)stib2008-09-19

Briana Clark Grogan has thorough instructions on making soy milk (not this nice, simple way) -- she adds a bit of sugar for the bacteria to eat. I would think you could make it this way, seems worth a try!.

About This Instructable




Bio: Mother of two, one seven month old and one husband. I love to make things and to collaborate with other crafters.
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