Friday, December 21, 2012

Easy homemade yogurt

Among the many important aspects of health that science can’t yet explain is the role of microbes, zillions of them in every part of your body, with far more varieties of DNA than you have in your own cells.

Something so abundant and variable from person to person must have an important function, so for the past few months and thanks to Seth Roberts I’ve become interested in fermented foods.

I considered buying a yogurt maker. At $50 and less, they’re not too expensive. But the last thing I need is more junk around the house, so finally last night I thought why not just make it myself using stuff we already have lying around.

It was unbelievably easy!  In fact, I’m not sure why I didn’t try this years ago.  Here’s what I did:


  • Ordinary 4-cup glass container with a rubber top.
  • Heating pad and towel
  • Saucepan for heating milk
  • Any large bowl big enough to hold the glass container.
  • Two cups of whole milk
  • Half a tablespoon of plain yogurt. It’s important not to use too much. This is the “starter”, with live microbes.


  1. Boil some water and use it to sterilize the glass container. (I bet this step is optional)
  2. Boil two cups of milk. Well, not quite boil, but heat it till it starts to get steamy. 
  3. Pour cold water into the large bowl. Leave it half-full in the sink.
  4. Pour the hot milk into the glass container and set the whole thing into the large bowl of water. (Don’t let water get into the milk)
  5. Stir the milk until the temperature is about 110 degrees. I use my trusty latte thermometer, but you could probably also just do it by feel. Wait till it’s warm – warmer than your body’s 98.6 degrees, but well short of feeling hot.
  6. Stir the yogurt into the milk and mix well.
  7. Cover the container and put it on top of the heating pad.
  8. Place the large bowl upside down on top of the container and heating pad.
  9. Set heating pad to “medium”
  10. Cover everything with a towel and leave it overnight.

Eight or so hours later, open it all up and find this:

Yogurt making

I was surprised how thick it was, but the perfect, tangy smell was the giveaway: the best yogurt ever.