This Homemade Yogurt recipe is extremely easy to make, only requires two ingredients. You don’t even need a yogurt machine or any special equipment. It yields perfectly smooth, creamy, and thick yogurt. The flavor is deliciously sweet and tangy every time.

As you may have seen by now, yogurt is a staple ingredient in Turkish cuisine. We use it to make yogurt drink ayran and cucumber yogurt dip cacik almost everyday. Oh and we can’t think of manti dumplings without yogurt.

Homemade yogurt in an enamel pot with a wooden spoon in it and a sprig of fresh mint on the top.
Homemade yogurt in a pot

Almost every household in Turkey makes their own yogurt and strained yogurt on a weekly basis.  

Today, we will have a look at how to make yogurt and discuss various yogurt ingredients you can use. Then we will have a look at different yogurt starters you can use, how to thicken your runny yogurt, and answer some other frequently asked questions.

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Why bother? Is it better?

Homemade yogurt is truly unmatched by store-bought brands. The biggest benefit is probably that you know exactly what you are consuming. Store-bought yogurt almost always contains colorants, preservatives, and flavor enhancers. Although these aren’t necessarily harmful to you, it is always better to consume fresh, chemical-free food.

Another big benefit of making yogurt is the taste and texture. Your yogurt will be much higher in quality because you can choose exactly what you are adding. The flavor will also be extremely unique (in the best way).

Not convinced? One more thing about diy yogurt is that it is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than commercially made yogurt. You don’t pay for the chemicals added or worry about the packaging used.  So what are you waiting for?

Ingredients

Milk is the most important ingredient used to make yogurt. However, choosing the correct type of milk might be complicated.

Milk in an enamel pot with a red lid on the side and yogurt in a small bowl on a dark background.
Homemade yogurt ingredients

For our recipe, we use whole cow’s milk. We found that it yields the best result in flavor and texture, but you can definitely experiment using different types and test what works for you.

Raw milk can be used if you can find it. It is the milk obtained directly from the animal – the milk itself doesn’t undergo any processing (pasteurization or homogenization). If there is a farm around, you can buy it from there. Traditional moms in Turkey mostly prefer raw milk and cook it at home before making yogurt. They say it has more fat, so the result is thicker and tastier.  

You can use pasteurized milk too. It is the milk that has been heated and cooled to produce a “safer to consume” product. This process intends to kill certain harmful bacteria. 

Never use UHT milk as you can’t get a quality yogurt with it.

Besides cow’s milk, you can also use goat’s or sheep’s milk to make yogurt at home. It will yield very different yogurts but could be a nice experiment.  

Next ingredient for a homemade yogurt recipe is the starter. We use a yogurt starter as it is the easiest and quickest way to make yogurt. You can either use a bit from store-bought plain yogurt or from your previous batch.

Instructions

Making yogurt is much easier than you might have thought and only requires a bit of time and patience. This yogurt recipe will give you deliciously thick and creamy yogurt that is unmatched by any store-bought version!

First, heat the milk. Place the milk into a pot and bring it to a boil while stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

A hand measuring the temperature of milk in a pot with a thermometer.
Measuring milk temperature

Second, remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool. The milk cools sufficiently when the temperature reaches 110F (40C). Alternatively, you can test the temperature by placing your finger inside the milk. If you can keep it there for 5 seconds, the milk has cooled enough. Believe it or not, we always use this finger method whenever we make yogurt.

A hand pouring the mixture of yogurt starter and milk into the pot of milk.

Third, add the starter. Place the yogurt in a bowl, add ½ cup milk and mix well. This will help the starter to heat and prevent the yogurt from splitting. Slowly add the mixture back into the pot and gently mix it through.

Hands covering the pot of milk and yogurt mixture with a blanket.
Making yogurt without equipment

Fourth, let the mixture rest and turn into a delicious yogurt. Put the lid ajar and place the pot at a place in your home which has the least air circulation. Alternatively, you can keep it in the oven(off). Cover the pot well with a large and thick kitchen towel or a small blanket. Let it sit for 2-3 hours (in summer) or 4-5 hours (in winter). 

Finally, let the yogurt cool. Remove the towel and lid and allow the yogurt to cool completely before transferring it into the refrigerator. Allow it to chill overnight before serving it the next day.

Uses Of Yogurt

A bowl of homemade yogurt is a staple side dish served at lunch or dinner in a typical Turkish home. And it is probably the most used ingredient in recipes from savory to sweet. 

Yogurt parfait with berries in two jars, more berries and a pink flower on the ground and yellow flowers in a vase behind.
Yogurt breakfast parfait

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t remove the milk from the heat just after it starts to boil. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes to end up with a thicker yogurt.
  • Remove the milk from heat and let it cool down a bit. To understand whether milk reaches the right temperature, use your finger if you don’t have a thermometer. Dip your finger into hot milk, if you can tolerate its heat inside for about 5-7 seconds (not more), it’s ok. It mustn’t be too hot or less hot than necessary. If it is too hot, you will get a sourish yogurt and if it doesn’t reach the right temperature, it takes longer time for the yogurt to form. It even won’t turn into a desired yogurt if the milk is colder than it is expected to be.
  • Let the milk-yogurt rest at the warmest place of your home. Ideally, it is best to take the pot with hot milk to this place and let it wait there to reach the right temperature. It warms this place at the same time, which is a necessary step for thick yogurt.
  • Put a thick blanket under the pot (one of your jumpers will work just fine for this, its arms can hug the pot to protect it from cold). And then mix it with the starter in the way explained above. You can pour it into jars at this step if you like or just keep it in the same pot.
  • Put the lid on the pot, but don’t cover it completely as your milk-yogurt mixture needs some air inside. You can even use a suitable colander instead of its lid. This will help evaporation and yogurt will not be watery.
  • Then cover the pot with another blanket very well. Don’t forget we must protect it from cold.
  • Let it sit about 3 hours in summer when it is very hot, and about 4-6 hours in winter. Check it after this given time and if it is still not thick enough, keep waiting for some more hours.
  • Then, uncover it completely and wait for another 1 or 2 hours without the lid this time.
  • Next, when it reaches room temperature, gently place it in the refrigerator and wait it there for a day to have a better result.
  • You can place a paper towel on the surface of yogurt if it’s still so watery. This will absorb excessive water in it. You can throw the paper towel away and put a new one each time you take yogurt from the pot.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which milk should you use?

The best type of milk to use when making yogurt is really any high-quality raw or pasteurized milk. The milk you use should NEVER be UHT milk – it kills too many bacteria and won’t produce as good quality yogurt compared to other types of milk.
Whole milk will give you the best result and thick, creamy, and flavorful homemade yogurt.

Why is my yogurt runny or thin?

Runny yogurt is often the result of incorrect temperatures and times being used when making the yogurt. Your starter might have been the incorrect temperature when you added it to the milk, or it didn’t have enough time to ferment and thicken the milk.
Alternatively, the temperature of the milk itself could have been incorrect (usually too low) and the proteins didn’t have time to properly denature. It could also be the result of the starter you used, and even the milk you used – that is why whole milk or high-quality raw milk works the best.
It is extremely important to use correct and accurate temperatures when making yogurt.

How do you make runny yogurt thicker?

The easiest fix after you’ve already cooled the yogurt is to simply strain it through a cheesecloth and strainer. Stir occasionally so the excess liquid drains.

How long does homemade yogurt last?

Your DIY yogurt will last about 2 weeks if stored properly (in the refrigerator). The reason store-bought yogurt has longer shelf life is because they have a bunch of preservatives added to them.

What can be used as a yogurt starter?

The easiest yogurt starter you can use is either store-bought plain yogurt or some yogurt from your previous homemade batch.
There are also some interesting starters we have heard like chickpeas, citric acid, lemon juice, and even some French bread. But we’ve never had experience with any of these.

What type of a container can I use to make yogurt?

You can use small glass containers or a large pot. The pot could be enamel or stainless steel. Traditionally the best container is a clay pot as it helps the food inside remain fresh and cold.How to make yogurt. So easy to make when you follow these tips! | giverecipe.com

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📖 Recipe

Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe

DIY yogurt in an enamel pot with a wooden spoon in it and a sprig of fresh mint on the top.

Homemade yogurt with just two ingredients. No equipment is needed. Mom’s tips are included in the recipe.

  • Author: Yusuf
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Turkish

Instructions

  1.  

Notes

  • Don’t remove the milk from the heat just after it starts to boil. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes to end up with a thicker yogurt.
  • Remove the milk from heat and let it cool down a bit. To understand whether milk reaches the right temperature, use your finger if you don’t have a thermometer. Dip your finger into hot milk, if you can tolerate its heat inside for about 5-7 seconds (not more), it’s ok. It mustn’t be too hot or less hot than necessary. If it is too hot, you will get a sourish yogurt and if it doesn’t reach the right temperature, it takes longer time for the yogurt to form. It even won’t turn into a desired yogurt if the milk is colder than it is expected to be.

  • Let the milk-yogurt rest at the warmest place of your home. Ideally, it is best to take the pot with hot milk to this place and let it wait there to reach the right temperature. It warms this place at the same time, which is a necessary step for thick yogurt.

  • Put a thick blanket under the pot (one of your jumpers will work just fine for this, its arms can hug the pot to protect it from cold). And then mix it with the starter in the way explained above. You can pour it into jars at this step if you like or just keep it in the same pot.

  • Put the lid on the pot, but don’t cover it completely as your milk-yogurt mixture needs some air inside. You can even use a suitable colander instead of its lid. This will help evaporation and yogurt will not be watery.

  • Then cover the pot with another blanket very well. Don’t forget we must protect it from cold.

  • Let it sit about 3 hours in summer when it is very hot, and about 4-6 hours in winter. Check it after this given time and if it is still not thick enough, keep waiting for some more hours.

  • Then, uncover it completely and wait for another 1 or 2 hours without the lid this time.

  • Next, when it reaches room temperature, gently place it in the refrigerator and wait it there for a day to have a better result.

  • You can place a paper towel on the surface of yogurt if it’s still so watery. This will absorb excessive water in it. You can throw the paper towel away and put a new one each time you take yogurt from the pot.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 221
  • Sugar: 17.8g
  • Sodium: 152mg
  • Fat: 11.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9g
  • Protein: 11.9g
  • Cholesterol: 35.9mg

Keywords: homemade yogurt, yogurt recipe, how to make yogurt

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