Homemade Greek Yogurt

I don’t know what my deal is lately, I’m completely obsessed with DIYing everything!

Actually, that’s not entirely true – I know what’s driving a lot of it. It’s certainly nice to be able to control the ingredients in the food we eat, but I’d be lying if I said that was my primary motivation to DIY. The truth? I’m seriously one of the cheapest people you’ll ever meet, and I’ve found it’s almost always more cost effective to make things myself than it is to buy them. And also? It’s just plain fun! I love the challenge of trying to replicate in my own kitchen something I’ve always had to buy in the past.

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Until recently, I never would have imagined I could make my own Greek yogurt. It wasn’t even something I considered until I came across these step-by-step photos on America’s Test Kitchen’s Feed. I was pleasantly surprised by how very doable the recipe looked – only 3 ingredients, and minimal hands-on time. Given that I’ve been eating Greek yogurt for breakfast almost every day for about 9 months, I figured it was at least worth trying once.

So here’s a quick (and somewhat simplified) rundown of how it works: you heat milk and cool it, then add starter yogurt and place the mixture in a warm environment and wait for the cultures/bacteria to work their magic, transforming the milk to yogurt. Once strained, you’re left with yogurt that’s super thick and creamy in texture and has the characteristic tang you love. I never expected this to turn out as well as it did, it was amazing! I like to add vanilla extract and a little honey to mine, but at this point the world is your oyster – eat it plain or modify it to suit your tastes :) Definitely one of my favorite DIY projects to date!

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Homemade Greek Yogurt
from The America’s Test Kitchen Feed

{Note: you can find more details on the process as well as step-by-step photos over on The Feed. You may have to register to obtain access, but it’s free.}

4 cups (1 quart) 2% milk
1/4 cup (1 oz) non-fat dry milk
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

Add the milk to a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat the milk, stirring occasionally, until it registers between 170 and 180 F on an instant-read thermometer – it will be steaming, but not yet simmering. Add the dry milk powder, whisking to incorporate. Transfer the milk mixture to a bowl set over an ice bath. Cool the milk, stirring frequently, until it registers about 110 F on an instant-read thermometer.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt with some of the milk, whisking until smooth. Add back to the remaining milk mixture and whisk to incorporate.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap; use a paring knife to cut a few small slits in the plastic wrap. Preheat your oven to 200 F for 2 minutes, then turn it off. Place the bowl in the oven and turn on the oven light. Allow the yogurt to ferment until thickened and set, about 7 hours. (Try to keep the oven between 90 and 100 F while the yogurt ferments. This was the most stressful part for me but I was totally overthinking it – I wound up turning the oven on every hour or hour and a half for a minute or two to warm it up and had no problems. Your yogurt may need more than 7 hours, just keep checking periodically until it sets up.) Whisk to incorporate any whey that may have separated.

Set a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth (or a few coffee filters) and pour the yogurt in. Cover the strainer with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) to allow the whey to drain. You should have about 2 cups of whey in the morning, which can be discarded.

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Transfer the thickened yogurt to an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep for one week. I add some vanilla extract to mine to replicate my favorite store-bought flavor (I do it a teaspoon at a time until the taste is to my liking), and I also drizzle with a little honey when I serve it.

Makes about 2 cups