Make Your Own Yogurt and Cream Cheese

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

You can make your own yogurt and cream cheese, and it is not hard! You don’t have to have any fancy equipment (and when you see my pictures, you’ll believe it!). Not only will this save you money, you’ll have yogurt and cream cheese that is very good for you! Try making this yogurt, then add your own fruit, sweetener (I recommend stevia or real grade B maple syrup) and a touch of vanilla. YUM!

Here’s what you need to do to make yogurt:

1 quart of whole milk (I use unpasturized milk from a farming friend)
3/4 cup plain yogurt or this yogurt starter

Pour the yogurt into a quart jar (using a glass container is important). Heat the milk on the stove in a saucepan until it is just under 100 degrees.

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Pour the milk over the yogurt in the jar and shake.

Place the jar into a cooler of hot water, cover and leave in the cooler for seven hours.

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There, you just made yogurt!

Now, you can eat the yogurt as I mentioned before, or you can take your yogurt and make cream cheese (and impress the socks off of someone!).

To make cream cheese, line a strainer with a tea towel. Pour the yogurt into the tea towel.

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You need to secure the tea towel full of yogurt and hang it for 7-10 hours (I usually do this overnight) so that the whey can drip off. I’m sure there must be a more impressive way to hang your yogurt, but what we’ve come up with works just fine!

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Here are the secrets to my effective cream cheese-hanging-whey-dripping process (I know, you’re on the edge of your chair!):

I fold over the top of the tea towel and hold it closed with a couple of rubber bands. Then, I use several more rubber bands to attach a long wooden spoon to the wadded up tea towel. Then, I use a rope to dangle the tea towel from a cabinet door. And, of course I leave a bowl under the whole contraption so that whey doesn’t drip all over the floor (because then, my process would not be nearly as cute).

Then, after you can tell that the whey has all separated from the cream cheese (you can tell it’s finished if it isn’t dripping any more), then you pull the whole thing down and scrape the cream cheese into a jar. And that’s it.   It is so simple.

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Sure, you can tell people that it took you hours and hours to make yogurt and cream cheese (because technically it DID take hours to make), but the part you actually played in it took about 10 minutes.

Comments

  1. says

    you always have the greatest ideas!! I’ve been wanting to try and make yogurt…by following your directions, I may try it! You’ve made it sound so easy!!! If I try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out…if I can make it…anyone can :)

    Have a blessed day!!!!

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  2. says

    I may just have to try this! I still have some plain yogurt left over from making pizza crust the other night! Does the cream cheese taste similar to the store-bought stuff???

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  3. says

    Laura, what wonderful tips… I am always anxious to try my hand at making something at home that I usually buy at the store… I can’t wait to give the yogurt and cream cheese a try!

    ~Kristy
    Homemaker’s Cottage

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  4. Laura says

    I order my 1/2 gallon jars through my health food co-op: Azure Standard. I also order my lids from them but I have also found them at Wal-mart.

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  5. says

    That’s awesome! I have never thought of using a cooler filled with hot water, I have always used the oven with the light left on.

    We buy Miller’s Northern Light raw honey from our local health food grocery just for the jars. They are glass jars with plastic lids and stay closed so well my hero can even take them in his bag to work.

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  6. says

    You totally make it look easy. So, do you use store bought plain yogurt to start the process? And what’s the best way to add sweetner and/or fruit to the yogurt? How long does it all last? (I know, I’m a dolt, but if I buy something from the store, it has a date on it. What’s the basic rule of thumb for how long yogurt keeps?) Sorry for all the questions – maybe you just need to do a follow-up post just for Char?? :-)

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  7. says

    I have done both – it is easy. I only made cream cheese once though, because I needed the whey for sauerkraut. I really should do it again because the cream cheese made the most outstading spread EVER. I mixed in a variety of fresh herbs from my friend’s organic garden, along with some minced fresh garlic and seasonings. Talk about delish! We had it over baguette slices.

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  8. says

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy the recipes….I had no idea that you could make yogurt so easily! I’ve got to try that. Thanks for the tips!

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  9. says

    I used to make yogurt all the time, but the cost really didn’t come out any less expensive for me than buying a big container of plain yogurt at the store. Maybe because I was using organic milk and yogurt, but avoiding all of the additives was the reason I was making yogurt in the first place…
    I don’t have a local source of milk like you do, do you really think it’s a cost savings if you have to purchase everything commercially?

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  10. Laura says

    Melissa – Great question! Overall, it probably doesn’t save tons, but when I make it myself, I know EXACTLY what’s in it and where it came from. And so for me, whether or not it saves lots of money or not, it saves peace of mind.

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  11. Laura says

    Whey can be used as a preservative in fermenting vegetables (like sauerkraut), put into soups for added nutrition, or poured onto a garden to nourish the soil.

    You can also heat it to 200 degrees and “pull” ricotta cheese out of it.

    There are other uses…those are the ones that I know of off hand and have used myself!

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  12. says

    Please tell me more about the pulling ricotta…..that would be a great blessing as it is an “extra” on most budgets, but wonderful in lasagna!!!!

    This is very exciting…… what fun!
    -Donna-

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  13. says

    Laura,
    Do you make buttermilk? and if you do, can U tell me what’s going on with mine….its getting too thick? Its almost gooey!

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  14. Kendra says

    I love ricotta! Please explain how you do that. When you make your yogurt, can you save some of the homemade yogurt to make the next batch?

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  15. says

    Laura,
    How thick is your yogurt?? I have tried a couple of different ways to make it, but it always seems SO runny! It does, however, still make great cream cheese and whey. I use the whey to soak all my beans, rice, and oats! Please help me…I’m just wondering what I am doing wrong! Thanks!!

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  16. Becky says

    Have you ever tried adding flavors to your cream cheese? Like strawberry or blueberry? If so, what form of the fruit do you use, and what do you use to mix it?

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  17. Danielle Hunt says

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! I have a question though. When you make the yogurt do you use raw milk and also have you ever tried the method in Nourishing Traditions? Okay, I guess that was two questions. ; )

    Thanks!
    Danielle

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  18. christine says

    no it does not have to be raw milk- it can be regular milk strait from the regular grocery store.
    i would recommend trying it first with a milk with a high fat content- that way you have a more sure-fire way that it will thicken-
    and then, if you are successful, move on to the lower fat milks if you wish

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  19. patty says

    that’s a great idea wow!! thank you!! :D
    anyway for anyone who got their cream cheese overbeated or whatever you can just heat it in the microwave under 20 seconds
    :D just giving some ideas ;)

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  20. says

    Hello, I love this posting. I learned how to make my own mozzarella cheese not long ago, and I have been wanting to do more.

    My question about this, is the temperatures and how safe it is. Will the cream cheese work if hung in the refrigerator? I have no problem with following old fashioned ways of making food and ignoring the temperature cautions sometimes, but my husband is not, and I don’t want to make him sick…

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  21. Judy says

    I used unpasturized goats milk and made yogurt. It is really good. (due to allergies) It’s runny but still good. I thought about adding cornstarch to thicken but haven’t done that.

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  22. Alison says

    Bought a Jersey cow, milked her, and then tried your yogurt recipe. First time, worked like a charm!

    Now I just have to figure out what to do with 1/2 a gallon of yogurt!

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  23. Abby says

    Making your yogurt thicker is easy, just add in dry milk. I find its easier to add in the dry milk powder if you add a little milk to the powder first (kinda like cornstarch) and gradually add milk to the powder until you have a smooth slurry.

    As for flavoring, extracts, with their alcohol content will kill off the good bacteria in your yogurt. Flavoring your yogurt with a syrup will accomplish the same thing and leave all the good bacteria there (for your body as well as your next batch of yogurt). Making a flavored syrup is easy, just add the extract to a classic syrup recipe. Cup of sugar, 2 cups of water, a little heat, add the extract, voile, banana flavored syrup (or vanilla, which is what I’ve been using lately).

    http://www.thethriftymama.com/2008/08/thursday-thriftiness-make-your-own-syrup.html

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  24. Kathy says

    Seems so simple. I tried it yesterday but it came out so runny…. basically just milk mixed with the yogurt I put in. I wonder if I did something wrong. Is there a specific yogurt you use to start it with?

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    Laura Reply:

    My guess without looking at it is that it just wasn’t finished yet. Maybe? Yogurt, buttermilk, any cultured product tends to thicken right about the end of the process, which is how I always know it’s done. My yogurt is almost always finished in about seven hours, but maybe where you live it will take longer? If I ever pull mine out and see that it’s still that runny, I stick it back in for another hour or two (too long won’t hurt).

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    Kathy Reply:

    It was in the cooler with warm water about 13 hours. :(

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    lisa Reply:

    Hi Laura, you don’t say how hot the water is in the cooler?
    When I’ve made raw milk yogurt, I’ve heated to 110 (in a canning jar
    sitting in a pot of water) and left in oven with the light on
    (keeps it at about 95-100). I have not had great luck- the taste is
    not good. I’ve left it in for 24 hrs- trying to get it right & it
    doesn’t get thick. One time I used 1 t. yogurt per cup milk another
    time 2 T per pint (people have told me “less is more” with the
    starter?). I’m wondering if your water in the cooler is very hot &
    that’s how you get the fast set?

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    Laura Reply:

    My hot water is just hot tap water. I’ve never checked the temp (although I’ll try to remember to do that next time) but my tap water is pretty steamy.

  25. says

    For the 3/4 cup of starter yogurt, would it be okay to use non-fat (as long as I use the whole milk)?

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, that will work!

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  26. says

    I made yogurt with the Yogourmet starter and used my dehydrator as an incubator (works great, btw). I have not liked yogurt in the past. And I still don’t like it plain, but I love it in my smoothies. A little juice, lots of berries and the yogurt. Yummy!

    I’m curious — I’ve read varying opinions about how high you should really heat the milk. WAP recommended going to 180 so you don’t have competing bacterial strains. I went to 167 because I didn’t want to kill everything, but I also didn’t want it to fail. I’d prefer to keep it to 110 though so I can keep it raw but I don’t know if that’ll work. Does it for you?

    I also can’t wait to try the cream cheese, I want to mix whipped cream, cream cheese, and a little sugar to make some fruit dip!

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, in fact I think I only take mine to about 99 and it works every time!

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  27. jen says

    so… i made the yogurt and took a peek in this morning and found nothing but curtled milk. so sad. can someone tell please me where i went wrong? i would love to try this again without wasting a half gallon of milk. thanks!!

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    Laura Reply:

    Aw, that’s a big bummer! I have no idea why it would have done that! (helpful, aren’t I?) :)

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  28. says

    I’ve just been looking through your old posts (since I am a new reader) and thought I would point out that you recommend agave nectar here and I *think* you said something about pointing it out in old posts if it was seen =). If that wasn’t the case, I’m sorry for being mixed up! I’m enjoying learning some new things from you as we try to change our diets a lot. I’ve known what healthy really is to some extent for quite some time, but it’s hard to make the change when you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done…

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    Laura Reply:

    YES! I did ask readers to point this out to me because there’s NO way I could find them all! Thank you so much! It’s all fixed now :)

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  29. Jen says

    I’ve been making my own yogurt too. Its so easy and you know exactly whats in it!

    I noticed some of you saying your yogurt isn’t turning out thick enough. One thing that I do to make my yogurt almost custard like is I add about a 1/2 cup of dry milk powder. (I add this BEFORE heating the milk) You can also add 1 tbsp of plain kosher gelatin too. Also when you first take the yogurt out it may be a little runny but once it sits and cools in the fridge it usually thickens up. You can always use a cheesecloth to strain it and make greek yogurt too :)

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  30. says

    i’m so thankful for you blog! it’s given me the confidence to finally try all these fun things! right now, my 2 quarts of raw milk and plain yogurt are in a cooler surrounded by hot water. i can’t wait to taste the final product tomorrow! ~liz

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  31. Kimberly Edidngs says

    Is it 1/2 quart of milk or 1 to 2 quarts?
    Thanks!

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    Laura Reply:

    One to two quarts. :)

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  32. Shelie says

    Laura,
    I am so blessed by your website! I look forward to putting the kids to bed so I can sit down and read all this wonderful information! I am going to try making my own yogurt and I am wondering how long it will stay good in the fridge? And after the yogurt is done can I just add strawberries pureed in the food processer to make strawberry yogurt, etc? Thanks for your help!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve had it last as long as one month before. Yes, you can add pureed fruit…I also add a little vanilla and a little stevia or maple syrup!

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  33. Linda says

    For those looking for a non-dairly option for homemade yogurt, here is a an idea:
    http://vegetariancuisine.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_make_vegan_yoghurt_at_home

    I tried it with oat milk(partially homemade, with store bought oat milk added in) last night and it came out good! Just needs some flavoring. Speaking of flavoring, I added vanilla extract and then read Laura’s comment about not putting extracts with alcohol in them that will kill the bacteria….oops!

    I have a question. If you make yogurt with cow’s milk or goat milk, how is it that it doesn’t spoil when left out? Is it the probiotics in the yogurt starter?

    Linda

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    Laura Reply:

    Well, it sort of DOES “spoil”…or rather is “sours” as it cultures. But it isn’t an icky sour…it’s just cultured, meaning that healthy bacterias work their way through making it super good for you!

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  34. Karen says

    I have made my own yogurt, ricotta and buttermilk. Love the results. Will have to try the cream cheese and sour cream next. In response to queries about using up the whey, I have been able to get a second, smaller batch of ricotta, and then I store the whey in a covered jar in the fridge to use as the liquid in breads and other baked goods. I also use some of the yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk or sour cream in baking. I don’t endorse fat-free cooking or baking, but have used the guidelines for (fat-free) dairy substitutions from a no fat cookbook. I use the recommended proportions, happily subbing my full fat homemade dairy, especially to replace most oils.

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  35. Charles says

    Several questions deal with people trying this and having the results not thicken. Make sure you are using a yogurt for started that has ACTIVE ingredients. Many (most?) of the yogurt in the dairy case no longer has active ingredients. Sometimes yogurt lists as many as five active ingredients. This is good. Other times the specific bacteria isn’t listed because one of them ends in “botuli” or something of the sort and scares people because they think that it has botulism in it. I have had the best results with the plain Dannon and especially with plain Greek yogurt. (Incidentally, the hint about using some dry milk really works.)

    Also, if you use raw (or unhomoginized) milk, you get this great thin layer of yogurt cream on top

    If the water in the cooler isn’t working, try puting a Pyrex pan covered with Saran Wrap on a hot pad.

    Finally, you have obviously had good luck by just heating the milk to about 100 degrees, but most makers recommend heating to about 185 and then letting it cool to about 105 before adding the yogurt starter. This seems to result in killing any existing bacteria in the milk, but then it is cooled enough not to kill the active ingredients in the starter yogurt.

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  36. Tracey says

    Wonderful all this back and forth on yogurt and cream cheese, very interesting and quite the bit intriguing…but me just wondering here after reading all these lovely post…the “spoiling” so to speak is a good thing ie. “cultures” to create the yogurt, correct? But why is all this dairy product being warm for extended periods of time not going to make you sick? Merely the “culture” thing and yeah that’s all good and it’s okay? Really? Is the initial boiling of the milk really all thats supposedly keeping this project and final product the yogurt safe? Sorry but after 15+ years in commercial kitchens and food prep I wonder about this from a food safety element? It’s rather contrary to the whole conventional wisdom of refrigerating your perishables so to speak. I would love to give this a go and it does hearten me to see that so many folks here have tried this and lived to tell the tale….

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I know…you’re not alone in your worry!

    But really…it doesn’t spoil the milk and make it nasty…it just cultures it. You don’t leave it out forever, just long enough to culture it. I have done it over and over, and yes, like you said, I am still alive to tell about it!!

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    Tracey Reply:

    Thank you for the quick response. I was out of town and missed how very fast you did answer this
    question. Another question for you. I have a memory some forty years old of making “cheese” in school.
    There was no cooking or boiling of the milk involved. We waited for the contents of a pint container of
    milk to spoil and then dumped it into cheese cloth. We hung it rather like your set up and several days
    later cheese. Is this anything you are at all familiar with? Or is this merely a faulty incomplete memory??
    I do intend to give the yogurt a go, you do make it sound most do able.

    By the way have you seen a movie called “Food Inc”?? After viewing it myself, your site and suggestions
    make a lot of practical and healthy sense. I cook and bake from scratch almost everything we eat. A
    dying art in my neighborhood. There are so few women locally that cook dinner each night. Even fewer
    know where or how to begin to bake. I have offered to teach many of my friends. Some have dietary
    restrictions and really would benefit from cooking and baking from scratch. I intend to refer them to
    your site. You have done a lovely job with it!

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  37. Cheryl says

    I was lucky enough to find a yogurt maker at the thrift store I frequent for only 3 bucks!! It makes yummy yogurt and I am definitely going to try the cream cheese recipe with one of my plain yogurts. My children love your bagel recipe ( with raisins and cinnamon or blueberries ) so now they will have a great homemade cream cheese to go with it. Thank you so much for your great blog. We are blessed to have it to refer to and to help make our homes just a little more heavenly Ü

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  38. says

    I’ve read through the comments and may have some helps as to why yogurt doesn’t turn out. If the temperature goes below 100F the bacteria dies and it won’t thicken. If it gets above 115F then it will curdle. So the ideal temp to keep your yogurt at is between 108F and 112F (110F). :) Also, I make a gallon every week (my family LOVES it) and I’ll use 8 oz of plain yogurt. The first time I made it, I only used a few tablespoons and it didn’t work. At the very beginning I will add 1 cup of powdered milk to help thicken it. I’ve been doing this for almost a year now and I’ve had perfect results (aside from the first time) every time!

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  39. bertha lacey says

    I follow the atkins diet, i,m wondering if I can use real cream or half and half to make my yogurt Wole milk has a lot of carbs. thank you?????

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I think either real cream or half and half would work fine.

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  40. Dawn says

    I also make my own yogurt. I incubate it for 24-29 hrs. (SCD) and drip it off over night. I just put a tee towel in a colander and place that into a large pan. I then put my yorgurt in and pull the tee towel over it.
    I just wondering if anyone has found a good use for the whey that is left over. I was thinking of making a sweet (honey) and sour (whey) sauce with it but would like to know if anyone has anyother ideas.

    [Reply]

    Shaina Reply:

    I have heard that whey is a great replacement for milk in waffles or pancakes. Or you can use it in homemade bread in place of milk or water. Personally, I would use it only to replace water because that way it would add something instead of taking away from the recipe. In replacing milk, the fat would be gone and the texture/flavor that the fat adds. But you should experiment for yourself since I’m just thinking theoretically.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use it to make homemade mayonnaise. Adding the whey preserves your mayo for onths. I also use it to add to smoothies for extra protein, vitamins and minerals. Whey is packed with lots of nutrition!

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    Hi Laura, do you still have your mayo recipe and would you mind sharing it?

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Here is the recipe for homemade mayo: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/making-homemade-mayonnaise-is-not-my-gift

    Karen Reply:

    Laura – how much of the whey do you use in your mayonnaise?? I make
    my own all the time and am always looking for natural ways to
    preserve things. Thank you Karen.

    Karen M Reply:

    How much whey do you use in your mayo and when do you add it?

    renee Reply:

    This is great for bread instead of water.

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    Kristin Reply:

    You can also use the whey in any number of condiments like ketchip and mustard in place of some water to boost nutrition and lengthen the time it stays good in the fridge. Just make sure if you are cooking the condiment (like ketchup), you don’t cook the whey or it will kill the good bacteria.

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    Ken James Reply:

    Use in bread instead of water

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    Lauren Reply:

    I use whey when making my daughter’s formula. 1/4 cup per batch (36 ounces). I also use a tablespoon mixed with warm water to soak our oats overnight for breakfast.

    [Reply]

    Lauren Reply:

    talk to your ped first. adding to much protein to someone under 1 can be harmful.
    My son was failure to thrive and i mentioned doing this to add some calories but my ped heavily warned against it.

    [Reply]

    Ashley Reply:

    I freeze it in ice cube trays and put it in the blender when I make smoothies

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    Tuuli Reply:

    I used it yesterday as a base for ginger carrot soup (together with some coconut milk) and it gave it a really nice tangy flavor.

    [Reply]

    Adrianne Reply:

    You can use whey for lacto fermentation. Check out the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or I am sure Google has a lot of info too.

    [Reply]

    Armand Reply:

    you can use the whey to activate your compost. the technique is very simple and requires very little work. Similar to Bokashi (Effective Microorganisms). Recipe can vary. Mix about 1 cup whey with 2 tbsp molasses to 1 cup non chlorinated water, pour into 2 lbs of wheat bran in a bag, if soggy add more bran until just moist and fluffy but not sticky and wet. Store in closed bag in a dark cool place for 2 weeks. White thready fuzz should be growing. Sprinkle on top of compost each time you add. Cover compost with lid. When full, bury the “preserved” compost 4 inches underground and rest for 2 weeks.

    This whey cultivates in your compost with the help of wheat bran and creates an odorless preserved compost ready for your garden soil full of rich micro organisms to cultivate a healthy soil!

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    I have an excellent tea biscuit recipe that uses whey.
    Dry bowl
    5 cups of flour
    8 generous tsp baking powder
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp salt
    __________
    Wet bowl
    2/3 cup vegetable oil

    [Reply]

  41. sommer says

    I’m headed off to the kitchen to try this now. I’ve used the crockpot method for yogurt making for the past 2 years. i’m excited to try it this new way!!

    [Reply]

    bakingmama Reply:

    Sommer,
    Could you give details on how you made your crockpot yogurt? I tried this and it didn’t work too well. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Priscilla Reply:

    I found a homemade yogurt recipe, by the crockpot method on a blog, using a crockpot (slow cooker) every day for a whole year. I use a timer, to help me remember to check and see the temperture. I can’t recall how long it has sat for the different stages, I have too many other things that distract me.

    here is the link, http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/you-can-make-yogurt-in-your-crockpot.html

    [Reply]

    Cassandra Reply:

    I use the crock pot recipe on that link, too! I found it much easier
    and makes a lot of yogurt. Which is good because we use a lot of yogurt.

  42. says

    Is there a way I can use the leftovers from turning yogurt into cream cheese. The liquid that dripped out? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Ashley Reply:

    Taj,
    I am not sure if this maybe what you are thinking as i have just
    glanced over this recipe and comments quickly. But i saw on this blog, Sarah of
    thehealthyhomeeconomist.com that she strains out the liquid from the
    cream after making cream cheese and calls it liquid whey. She ferments
    with it to make lots of things. I wish i could get raw milk in Ga so i
    could experiment. Warning, this lady is an extreme real foodie! But
    worth checking out. I hope this helps a little if any. Thanks, Ashley

    [Reply]

    Angie Reply:

    Raw milk in GA: Carlton Farms delivers to several counties each week: order
    here: http://www.carltonfarmsnaturalfoods.com/orderform.shtml

    [Reply]

  43. uzma tirmzi says

    Yes but if u hang the yogurt for so long does it not become sour ? because Cream cheese is not sour at all

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It does become a bit sour, which makes it more like a “cultured cream cheese”, which is very good for our digestion. It isn’t so sour that we can’t stand to eat it. Just slightly. Even “sweetly sour” if that makes sense.

    [Reply]

    Oliver Reply:

    It will definetly become too sour, if left to ferment more than 6 hours.
    6 hours only for the right acidity & texture in yogurt making.
    Yes, cream cheese is not sour at all.
    What you need to do is let it hang & drip inside the refrigerator.

    [Reply]

    Sandee Reply:

    after straining, i would call it more like greek yogurt than cream cheese.

    [Reply]

  44. says

    Don’t heat your way in recipes! Use it raw- that way you aren’t killing the nutrients and good bacteria. Whey is the best thing for your digestion. We use ours in smoothies :)

    [Reply]

    Chickiepea Reply:

    Errr… that should have read, “don’t heat your WHEY,” not “way.” :D
    Either way… Ha!

    [Reply]

  45. Barb says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe but have one question: Does the water need to be boiling or just hot from the tap?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Just hot tap. You actually don’t want it to be so hot that it will kill the culturing process. Just warm enough to keep the milk/yogurt at a consistently warm temp.

    [Reply]

  46. says

    Mine is forming and culturing right now. I am following the suggestion of another reader to put the jar in the crock-pot (don’t have a cooler).

    [Reply]

  47. mary says

    I have used a couple of different methods for yogurt. I use to put mine in the oven and leave the light on, with the yogurt far from the light. Then my oven light burned out. I live in Florida, so I started just leaving it outside on the porch for the day. In the summer when it is super hot I let it have morning sun and afternoon shade. In the winter it gets sun all day. This is by far the easiest method I have ever used.

    My kids did a science fair experiment a few years back testing various storage locations for oranges. Leaving them outside in the sun they actually maintained their vitamin C equal to refrigeration. I believe the sun has many health benefits and would not be surprised if it benefits the yogurt too…this is just speculation of course.

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    Hi Mary, I first read your comment a couple of months
    ago and then forgot where I heard about putting the yogurt
    out in the sun! Then I found it just now. I have only tried
    making my own yogurt a few times. One time it was a complete
    washout with the yogurt just not setting. I also like the g\
    Greek style thicker yogurt…it looks like it is being referred
    to as cream cheese in this forum, so I end up straining for a while
    which of course gives you less yogurt and more whey! A few days ago
    I finally bought some raw milk! (yippee!) We all drank the first
    quart because it was so delicious…but the second quart I am holding onto
    to make some more yogurt. :) I also live in Fl. So I thought I would try
    putting it in the sun. I don’t want to mess it up so can you please tell
    me what you put the yogurt in…glass? And also, what did you cover it
    with to keep out our lovely florida bugs :) Thanks so much.

    [Reply]

    Mayira Reply:

    I also live in Florida. I’ve been thinking about buying raw milk but haven’t done it yet.

    Can you tell me where you get it from? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    http://www.localharvest.org has a database of farmers who sell certain things. Also eatwild.com might have a list of raw milk dairies too. I’m not sure if you can buy raw milk in FL though, I just read that GA you can.

    Dana Reply:

    localharvest.org has a link to a Central Florida dairy farm for raw milk.

    Virginia Reply:

    I live in central TX, and I also just set it out on my porch (in the shade, so it doesn’t get too hot and kill the cultures!). It just has to stay at a temperature of about 95 to 100 degrees (but frankly, it’s not that accurate, the little dudes just have to comfortable enough to do their thing). It’s also worked better for me to heat the milk up to 180 degrees to kill bad stuff in the milk and then let it cool in the fridge for about 1/2 hour until it reaches about 115 degrees before adding a couple tablespoons of yogurt from a previous batch. It often takes up to 8 hours for mine to get nice and firm. And after four or five rounds with one culture, it starts to lose its get-up-and-go and I have to buy some fresh yogurt from the store again.

    [Reply]

  48. says

    You say you use the Traditional Flavored Starter Yogurt and you talk about using the end of it to make more, but on the Cultures for Health web site it says you can’t do it with that starter. Is it because you make yours different than how they tell you to? Sorry, I’m new to this, but I would really like to try making my own yogurt and then maybe buttermilk, mozzarella cheese and cream cheese.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, the one I’m referring to says that with it you can create eight more batches. Maybe we’re looking at different starters? I usually make more than eight batches too and find that it works fine.

    [Reply]

    Pauletta Reply:

    Well, I decided to try it with just store bought plain yogurt. It tastes great, but it is really runny. I’m not sure what happened to it. It thickened up in the fridge, but when I added the sugar and vanilla to sweeten it then it gets runny again. Any idea as to what is wrong? I am going to try a couple things to see if it helps, but thought I would see if you knew. Also, to start a new batch do I just follow the same instructions, but use what I’ve already made (use 3/4 cup of my home made yogurt and then the milk).

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    I have found it helpful to stir in the sweetener before incubating the yogurt. This prevents the yogurt from being runny after stirring it in. I have also found it helpful to add 1/4 cup of powdered milk per quart of yogurt before incubating to increase the thickness of the yogurt. Hope that helps!

    Christina Reply:

    My sister was having trouble with the yogurt thinning out after it was done. She decided that she would use the storebought yogurt as a starter instead of her own. Also, when she was stirring it she was afraid that using a metal spoon was causing trouble with the thickness, so she using a plastic or wooden spatula. Don’t know if this helps at all. I haven’t made it myself yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

    Chris Reply:

    If you want thicker yoghurt, just strain it till it is your required consistancy. the longer you sstain it the thicker it gets. I find a few hours is enough.

  49. victoria bozard says

    Can you offer an estimate on how much yogurt 1 qt of milk yields? Thanks :)

    [Reply]

    Tiffany Reply:

    In my experience it yields about the same since all your doing is heating it up just a bit & then addig some yogurt to it, it doesn’t really “go” anywhere so it equals about the same at my house.

    [Reply]

    victoria bozard Reply:

    Thanks! :) Sorry about your curdled yogurt,
    maybe you could use it in a recipe in place
    of buttermilk, so it isn’t a total waste?

    [Reply]

  50. Tiffany says

    HELP!! I curdled my yogurt yesterday!!! HOW did I do that? Last week I make it & it turned out fine – albeit a little on the thin side. Yesterday I made it & put it in a 1/2 gallon jug inside a cooler full of hot tap water & it was curdled – the water was still very hot also (maybe the cooler was a little too good!). Last week I made the yogurt in pint jars b/c I didn’t have any larger jars & I had less water in the cooler & it was a different cooler.

    I’ve been using the yogurt to make cream cheese (this past time I added some salt to it after I put it in the towel/strainer & it was great!).

    Also, how would I make the yogurt thicker??

    I added blackberry jam to a bowl of it last week & put it in the freezer to see if it would turn into frozen yogurt…it was very good & had a consistency more like italian ice – so yum!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yikes…I guess the water was too hot, but I’ve not heard of that happening before!

    To make the yogurt thicker, place it in the fridge for a couple of days. The whey will begin to separate. Pour out the whey and your remaining yogurt will be thicker.

    [Reply]

    Kristi Reply:

    SO mine tonight curdled as well!!! I put it in the fridge to see if I can salvage it. Any suggestions???!?

    [Reply]

    Pat Reply:

    I’ve had this happen to me as well a couple of times.

    I use lactose-free milk.

    Both times that it happened, I added fruit syrup or jam to the milk. The first time, I boiled both then combined. The second time, I added the fruit syrup (homemade) to the milk before heating it.

    [Reply]

  51. Amy says

    I just tried this (finally) and was so excited to open my jar only to find it very thin. ?? It smelled like yogurt, and when I first put a spoon in it, the texture was like yogurt, but once I stirred it, it was soupy. I used 3/4 C yogurt and 1 qt whole milk…should I have used more or less of something? You mention 1-2 Qt milk, but when using only one qt jar obviously I could only use 1 qt of milk (a little less actually). Will it “set up” more if I put it in the fridge?

    And my next question…what should I use this soupy yogurt mixture for? :-)

    [Reply]

    Pauletta Reply:

    I have the same problem and just asked about it above (before seeing your comment), but we are still eating it even though it is runny, but my husband made the comment that it would probably work great in smoothies and then we wouldn’t have to add more milk either. So, I may try that. I always add ice to my smoothies to make them a little thicker anyway.

    [Reply]

    amey Reply:

    commercial yogurt makers add dry non-fat powdered milk to the cold milk before heating it. It makes it thicker and gives a higher protein content.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, mine is always runnier too…commercial yogurts add something to thicken it. One thing I’ve found to do is let it sit in the fridge a couple of days, then the whey sort of separates. I pour off the whey and the yogurt is thicker.

    I use the thinner yogurt for smoothies…best way to get my kids to eat yogurt AND fruits!

    [Reply]

    Julie Reply:

    Throw in a handful of spinach too. :)

    [Reply]

  52. Sydni Bamberg says

    I’d like to know how to make it thicker as well. I’d also like to know how to make vanilla flavored yogurt or other flavors.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If you put it in the fridge for a couple of days, the whey will separate a little bit. You can pour that off and the yogurt will be a little thicker.

    For vanilla yogurt, add some vanilla extract and a few drops of stevia or real maple syrup.
    For fruit flavored do the same as with vanilla…then add blended fruit.

    [Reply]

    Mary Phillips Reply:

    One of the best ways I know of to make yogurt thicker is to substitute a cup of the milk for a cup of cream or coffee cream.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Jacobsen Reply:

    I like to add pureed strawberries to my yogurt, but mixing the yogurt and adding the fruit breaks it down and makes it more runny. I like to thicken it back up (can thicken to your desired consistency) using a product called “Ultra Gel”). Ultra gel is a derivative of corn starch that can be mixed into either hot or cold liquids. I generally make a gallon of yogurt at a time, sweeten it with about and 1/2 cups sugar, add about a pound of pureed strawberries and a tablespoon of vannilla, then thicken with 1 and 1/2 cups ultra gel. It is delicious, and my kids eat the gallon in about 1 week. It also makes great popsicles.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Jacobsen Reply:

    whoops. The measurement for the sugar should have been 1 and 1/2 C, not 1/2 C. This yourut turns out thicker (more custurd-y) than the commercial thin yogurts.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I have been wondering about using cornstarch to thicken my homemade yogurt. Do you think that would work? Where did you get the ultra gel and do you add it after the yogurt is finished?

    [Reply]

    Melissa Jacobsen Reply:

    Personally, I would steer clear of using corn starch in yogurt. My
    experience with corn starch is that it is not very stable and tends to
    “weep”–you will find a watery substance on top of your yogurt when you pull it out of the refrigerator. Ultra gel is actually a modified corn starch. It is a little
    more stable, and can be mixed into foods both hot and cold. There is a store that locally sells it in my area called Kitchen Kneads. However, I looked online and it looked like there are several places that you can purchase it through online vendors. I add the Ultra Gel after I have cooked the yogurt when I am mixing in the flavorings and sugar. In commercial yogurt they use pectin and gelatin as thickeners. I’ve heard (but haven’t tried) that you can mix gelatin into your yogurt before cooking it. Another thickener that I haven’t tried but that might work would be xanthum gum. Good luck! :)

  53. Bob says

    You can cook the whey and turn it into ricotta cheese, very simple and it
    turns out great. Just heat the whey (the liquid) and just scoop off the white curd.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    cool! thanks bob!

    [Reply]

  54. Mary Phillips says

    I was wondering if you can make yogurt with the 18% coffee cream? I have some that seems to be slightly off in its flavour…not bad but doesn,t taste quite right in coffee.
    Anyone got any suggestions about this?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I really have no idea. I’m not a coffee drinker so you’ll have to enlighten me…what is coffee cream? :)

    [Reply]

    Mary Phillips Reply:

    coffee cream here is sold in the dairy section. It is not pure cream but only 18 % cream. There is another one called cereal cream (10%cream)…heavier than milk (3.25 cream) I did use it to make yogurt…but I think it was closer to a cheese and very firm. I usually take some and mix some chocolate syrup in it for a thick custard-like chocolate dessert.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    I use coffee cream when I’m in Canada, I believe it’s the same as Half and Half here in the States. I hope that helps :-)

    nita Reply:

    hi, this is very interesting, since I love all homemade stuffs.
    How about adding cream(not coffee cream? would it make it thicker?
    I read someone said if you just hang the yoghurt you’ll just make greek yogurt instead of cream cheese, is it true?

    [Reply]

  55. Rebecca says

    I was wondering… when using unpasteurized milk, is it still ok to use yogurt from your last batch to make the next batch? I know unpasteurized milk has a much shorter shelf life and wondered if this would work?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it will still work okay!

    [Reply]

  56. Rachel says

    When making your yogurt with your raw milk do you separate out the cream first or do you use that in the yogurt?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I leave the cream in, which makes the yogurt SO good!

    [Reply]

  57. kateh says

    Does your jar have to be sterilized before you use it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No, I just make sure it’s clean…but I’ve never sterilized it first.

    [Reply]

  58. Jennifer says

    How high do you fill the water in the cooler? To the level of the milk in the jar? (Or does it even matter?)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I fill it to the top of the jar.

    [Reply]

  59. says

    Laura,
    do you have any suggestions on making flavored yogurt, like adding in the flavor after its done? I really enjoy strawberry/peach/blueberry on the bottom yogurts and was wondering how I would make that yummy mixture.

    [Reply]

    victoria Reply:

    I make my own freezer jam, and typically use 1/2 sugar that the recipe
    calls for. So when the kids want “special” yogurt I use like a
    little blob of that to make the kids fruit flavored yogurt.
    It is really good. Strawberry/Raspberry jam is the best combination
    jam so far.

    Or you could puree fruit, add a sweetener (I would use raw honey) and
    stir desired amount of puree mixture into your yogurt.

    Blessings!

    [Reply]

    Morgan Reply:

    Thank you Victoria.
    That’s is exactly what I thought about doing but wasn’t sure. Plus sometimes other people have better ideas than I do.

    [Reply]

  60. Leigh says

    Oops! I accidently let my yogurt sit in the cooler for 12 hours instead of 7. It has definitely set up but looks like the whey has started to seperate at the top. Is it ruined? Should I strain the whey off?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It should be just fine! Just shake that whey into the yogurt (or pour it off if you want a thicker yogurt).

    [Reply]

    victoria Reply:

    I too forgot about mine one time, for 10 hours, and we still
    ate it and were fine.

    [Reply]

  61. says

    Thanks for explaining how to make yogurt at home! If anyone else has a digestive disease like I do (Ulcerative Colitis) you just need to keep your yogurt on the heat a little longer though (24-29 hours)to make it safe for your digestive tract. I’ll post a link here where I wrote more about this for anyone who might need the info. Thanks for letting me share my blog Laura. I hope this is helpful. http://livingandeatingwithuc.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-lactose-free-yogurt-at-home.html

    [Reply]

  62. Carrie S. says

    I am so excited about this! I made my first batch of yogurt and it came out great (even though I don’t have a thermometer and just guessed about the temp.)

    I am happy to hear how you make flavored yogurt. I actually put one quart of my yogurt in the blender with frozen rasperries and it came out totally liquid! Duh! But it actually tasted almost just like the Lifeway raspberry kefir that I buy regularly so this is great! What a great savings!

    My questions is…how long will the yogurt last? I am hoping it’ll all get eaten up in a few days, but if not is it still good a week or two later? The organic store-bought yogurt I usually buy last a few weeks.

    Thank you!!!

    [Reply]

    Anne Reply:

    I’m not sure how long this yogurt recipe lasts but I posted a link above for making yougurt (bascially the same except it stays on the heat for 24 hours to remove the lactose) and that will last 3 weeks in your refrigerator. The cultures in it will only be active though for 2 weeks. See #10 on this faq list http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/kb/yoghurt_faq.htm

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, my yogurt lasts for several weeks in the fridge!

    [Reply]

  63. Carrie S says

    One other question…is it supposed to have an egg-white like consistency? This last batch I made was a bit thicker than the first, but also very stretchy like raw egg-whites. Did I maybe use too much starter or is this normal?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Mine get’s stretchy sometimes too – I’m not sure why. When I shake it up, that usually takes care of it and it gets smooth again.

    [Reply]

  64. Connie says

    Many recipes call for adding powdered milk to thicken the yogurt.
    I am still wondering why my first batch turned out so well, and most since separate and curdle. I think I am either 1) heating the milk too high, or 2) incubating at too high a temperature. I have been using my dehydrator fan in a cooler. Today I am trying a heating pad. The first batch set too quickly then separated. So, this time I am cranking the heating pad to low and not allowing it to touch the jars.

    [Reply]

  65. says

    I’ve been making yogurt by heating the milk in my crock pot for 2.5 hours. But, I just realized. Do you think I heat it too hot? I might kill off that goodness in the unpasteurized milk.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure – if you have a food thermometer, check to see if it’s above 100 degrees. If it is, then it’s getting too hot to remain raw.

    [Reply]

  66. Mayira says

    I haven’t looked onto buying raw milk yet. I can’t seem to find the time. Does this work with store-bought yogurt and milk, or does it need to be raw?

    Also, when you buy cheese, etc., is it made from raw milk?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, this works with store-bought milk. The cream cheese I buy at the store is not from raw milk. I am able to buy raw white cheddar cheese that is super yummy!

    [Reply]

  67. says

    I love, love, love that your yogurt recipe is for raw milk. Thank you!! Now to try again… my first attempt with raw milk yielded yogurt with a milk-like consistancy. We just used it on cereal like regular milk but I’d much rather it be thicker!

    [Reply]

  68. Tami says

    I’m curious what the long wooden spoon attached to the tea towel does for the cheese making process??

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Ha! That’s just my crazy way of hanging the yogurt so that the whey can drip out, which is what makes the cream cheese! You certainly don’t have to hang it that way – you just need a way to leave the yogurt free hanging so the whey can drip out. :)

    [Reply]

  69. Amy says

    So it only takes 6 oz for either 1 or 2 quarts? What about a gallon, would I need only 6 oz or 12 oz?

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    One more question. . . Can I use leftover whey to make subsequent batches of yogurt or does it need to be yogurt?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never used whey to make more yogurt – I do think you need the actual yogurt to make more yogurt.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, 6 oz. will work for 1-2 quarts, I never need to measure it exactly – just so some “starter culture” is included. For a gallon I’d add more like 12 oz.

    [Reply]

  70. Julie says

    Is there any way to make the cream cheese taste sweeter? My hubby likes to put it on things like bagels and such but I tasted it and he would not like it as it is now- not sweet like store bought cream cheese. Also- if I wanted to make my yogurt taste more like store bought vanilla flavored yogurt (my kiddo’s love that stuff, or course!), how would I do that? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Right, this definitely tastes “cultured”! I too find it hard to use homemade cream cheese on bagels and prefer to mix it into some sort of dip with fruit to sweeten it.

    [Reply]

  71. Elizabeth says

    For some reason I think it’s odd that you need yogurt to make more yogurt?? Would that not end up being yogurt diluted with milk?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Once the yogurt reacts with the milk, the milk turns into yogurt! It’s pretty cool!

    [Reply]

  72. Julie Fairchild says

    I started making my own yogurt about a year ago. In a crock pot, pour in 8 cups milk. Put on low for 2 1/2 hours, turn off crock, let sit 3 hours. After 3 hours, take out 2 cups of the warm milk, add in your starter (1/2 cup plain yogurt), cover with a towel for 8-10 hours. Ta-da! Yogurt with no thermometer needed! Save a half cup back to use as your starter next time. The yogurt is a bit runnier than store bought. We like to make “shakes.” Frozen fruit, handful spinach, yogurt…blend til smooth.

    [Reply]

  73. Michelle says

    Any one out there try to make the yogurt/cheese using goat milk and goat milk yogurt? We have a dairy allergy in the family!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    Trisha at http://funkyfoodallergies.blogspot.com/2009/02/allergen-free-yogurt-recipe.html has a recipe for dairy-free yogurt. I just tried this crockpot method with soy yogurt and it worked perfectly! A little runny, but it’s in the fridge now and may thicken as it sits since I added the gelatin. I forgot to add any sweetener, but I suppose I could add that before serving it. My only concern is that it made so much (1/2 gallon) that it probably will go bad before we use it all. But I plan on freezing some to make yogurt pops. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  74. Cathy says

    I made the cream cheese by tying up the tea towel with rubber bands, then hanging it from the cupboard handle with a small bungie cord! Worked great. The yogurt does result in very tangy, almost lemony cream cheese.

    [Reply]

  75. Savannah says

    okay my yogurt has been in the towel over night, it was pretty runny to begin with, and not much whey is in the bowl at all, barely any.. the yogurt is still sooo wet and mushy when i poke it with my finger. will it eventually work? could it take longer?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    SOunds like the towel was maybe too thick to allow moisture through?

    [Reply]

  76. Crystal says

    I am very new to this and I was watching a video on making yogurt and it said to hold the yogurt at 110 degrees for 5-7 hours. Will putting it in a cooler do this? Thanks in advance!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, in my experience, this has been the best way to hold it to a specific temperature.

    [Reply]

  77. Susan Disharoon says

    I am brand new to this, in fact I am just starting to even like yogurt. I went to the website listed and there are a few low temperature starters to choose from. Specifically, which yogurt starter do you use? Thank you for your help. I await your response.
    Blessings,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I use 1/2 C storebought yogurt or homemade yogurt from the previous batch. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  78. Susan Disharoon says

    I don’t have any yogurt in the house. I don’t have a previous batch. Which starter did you ue to make your very first batch? I really appreciate your input.

    Thank you,
    Susan

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I bought some yogurt. You can buy a small container of plain yogurt, or vanilla, or even a greek yogurt. I think greek yogurt as a starter tends to make it a little thicker. I use the crockpot method. It’s so easy! http://inthekeyoflife.typepad.com/in_the_key_of_life/homemade-crockpot-yogurt.html When I make mine I don’t add any sugar or vanilla. After the yogurt is done I strain it tthrough a dish towel to make thicker, greek yogurt. Then before serving I stir in honey or strawberry jam! My whole family loves it. I bought some dannon greek yogurt last week and didn’t like it at all! I got used to the homemade. I found that by making my own greek yogurt this way, it costs me about $.10/serving rather than $1/serving! Here’s a link about making greek yogurt (this would be after you’ve made your homemade yogurt). http://greekfood.about.com/od/syrupssauces/r/make_yogurt.htm At first I was overwhelmed and thought it would be too hard, but it’s not at all. Most of it is just waiting and there’s not a lot of hands-on work. Hope you enjoy it!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use the traditional flavor yogurt starter from Cultures for Health: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/?a_aid=4d3f955dcff06

    [Reply]

  79. Carrie says

    Laura,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I made the yogurt yesterday and used coffee filters to strain it for about 30 min. to make a thicker yogurt. It was wonderful!!!! My boys each had 2 bowls full with added fruit, granola and chia seeds. Talk about a power packed breakfast. I can see myself making this every couple of days. Putting vanilla beans in your milk when you shake it would give it good flavor I think. I can’t thank you enough for your site. I am starting a whole food journey for myself and my family with some feet dragging, but not too bad. I have found so much on your site to help with the journey. May God continue to bless you and your family and again thank you.

    [Reply]

  80. misha says

    PLEASE HELP! OK IM TRYING TO MAKE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES, THE OREO ONES YA KNOW, SO I WAS WONDERING IF WE CAN USE YOGURT INSTEAD OF CREAM CHEESE, I DONT THINK SO BUT… JUS HOPING

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would think that yogurt should work, but I can’t say for sure as I’ve never made those truffles before.

    [Reply]

  81. DanaSQ says

    I think I just made a MAJOR yogurt goof…The water may have been too hot, for too long…the yogurt looks fairly…solid. Is there any saving this, or something this could be turned into? This was my first time attempting making yogurt, but obviously not my last, lol!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Good try on the yogurt making – I’ve never had my yogurt turn out too thick. Shucks, if anything, mine is too thin! I guess I would say that it was in the hot water too long, but that’s just a guess as to why this may have happened.

    [Reply]

  82. Loretta says

    Getting ready to try to make yogurt for the first time; when putting it into the cooler, do you put the cover on?

    [Reply]

  83. Loretta says

    just made my first batch of yogurt and am excited for it to finish (at 1am)…I will have to start earlier in the day from now on. I am blessed enough to have access to raw milk so I am excited.

    One question, I heated it to just under 100 degrees, but it didn’t seem very hot…in fact the water from my tap was warmer than the heated milk. Is this right?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes, that is right. You don’t want it too hot because that is what
    keeps it raw.

    [Reply]

  84. Tabitha Teeter says

    Thanks. I was wondering if I had to buy another CrockPot since it’s often being used for bone broth or beans, but now it’s safe to keep holding off. I own all the supplies to this cooler method. Awesome.

    [Reply]

  85. Amanda says

    Do you know what the ratio is approximately? If I use 1c of yogurt, for instance, how much cream cheese will I end up with?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I would guess that one cup of yogurt would make about a half cup of cream cheese. Don’t hold me to that though!

    [Reply]

  86. Kathryn says

    Wow…I am spending way too much money on organic yogurt from the grocery store and I am going to try this!
    Three questions…
    1 – when you say, “cooler of hot water” I’m assuming this is just the hottest temp of regular tap water? My tap gets pretty hot so I’m assuming this will do
    2 – as long as the cooler is big enough, can you put more than 1 quart jar in there?
    3 – instead of buying “starters” can I just reserve 3/4 cup yogurt from what I have made to use next time?

    Many thanks!

    [Reply]

    Jill Reply:

    Same questions for me, plus
    4-is pasteurized or homogenized milk ok also?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    You can use those kinds of milk. Laura uses raw because it is healthier.

    [Reply]

    Jamie Reply:

    http://www.culturesforhealth.com/expert-advice

    This is CfH’s index on expert advice/recipes. It is a treasure trove of info!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    The answers are yes, yes and yes! :)

    [Reply]

  87. sana says

    thank u so much for such an easy way…i was so worried because of the complicated and twisted methods mentioned in different websites.
    so cream cheese is actually the residue of yougurt…huh…thanx again

    [Reply]

  88. Wendy says

    I’m also curious to know the temp of the water in your cooler. I tried this method for the first time today and got the water too hot. My “yogurt” was over 120 degrees when I took it out 9 hours later! Obviously the cultures were killed!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Shucks – I guess I just try to keep my water at just under 100 degrees when I put it into the cooler. That seems to work well.

    [Reply]

  89. Stephanie says

    Help! I (thought) I followed your recipe for yogurt, but the top 2/3 of the jars were filled with a yellowy/clear liquid. What did I do wrong? I used bought lowfat plain yogurt, but used raw milk (that had most cream skimmed off before I bought it). I think the temp. on my thermometer did get up to 105 before I took it off the burner. It was still completely runny after 8 hours in the cooler–was the water too hot? The water still seemed quite hot so dumped some out and added more and left it over night, but not much change. The bit left at the bottom did seem to taste like yogurt, but was still very runny.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It sounds like the whey separated from the rest of the yogurt. No prob – just shake it up and it should all be fine! :)

    [Reply]

  90. Stephanie says

    Forgot to say that the water was hot almost boiling from the tea kettle so I wondered if that was the problem.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, the hot water may have killed the culture, so that could be why it remained so runny – it may have never quite made it to that yogurt thickening point. Although I have found that no matter what I try, homemade yogurt is runnier than store bought.

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  91. Cindy says

    How thick does the yogurt starter make your finished yogurt? I have been making yogurt in a crockpot for a couple years, and ideally it would be thicker. But I normally use one tablespoon of purchased yogurt as a starter per quart of milk, and I make 3 quarts at a time (we go through that amount in a week). I already add 1/4 c powdered milk to the milk in the crockpot, to help thicken it, and it does help some. But overall… I’d change to the powdered starter if it makes thicker yogurt.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t found that the powdered starter makes my yogurt as thick as store bought – typically though, that’s because store bought yogurt has fillers added.

    [Reply]

    lenora Reply:

    I used FAGE as a starter 2 tab. to 4 cups of milk, it turned out perfect thick n creamy. now I have my own starter from my batch and it is the same, perfect. I have been using a maker ,stovetop method I cant wait to save more time with this method. It only took 3-4 hrs in the maker. not bad for a first timer. thanks hope this helps

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I also use a Greek yogurt starter for my homemade yogurt, the Stonyfield one, and it comes out nice and thick, then I reuse it until I go on vacation or forget it and let it go bad. but if you don’t want to do that you can just strain your yogurt until it is the consistency that you want. Store bought yogurt is so thick because pectin is added or because it is strained. To strain it I don’t bother with cheesecloth I just used a double mesh strainer and haven’t had problems, the yogurt stays in but the whey drains out, I just set it over a bowl in the fridge.

    [Reply]

  92. Amanda says

    Hello, I cant wait to try the yogurt and crean cheese recipes!! But I have a question. If I cant get milk from a farmer :( what is the best milk to buy at the store?(Organic or almond…) And for the yogurt instead of buying the yogurt stater kit is using plain greek or fage just as healthy?? Thank you so much!! I love your website!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Organic milk would be best. Yes, plain greek or fage would be good!

    [Reply]

  93. Hazel Tibbetts says

    My yoghourt cream cheese looked good but was too sour to taste – made with Yeo Valley plain yog. – I had added a little salt to the yoghourt before beginning – any advice?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure – I’ve only used homemade yogurt to make this. :)

    [Reply]

    Michelle Reply:

    The salt may have caused problems with to the culture. I know salt causes problems with yeast if there is no barrier, so that could be the problem. Cultures need a sugar to stay alive (like lactose or fructose). HTH

    [Reply]

  94. Lisa says

    I got watery yogurt, I can use it for a smoothie, it tastes good, but really disappointed, wanted this to work. I used Hood whole milk and a stoneyfield vanilla yogurt for a starter, used my therometer and tested everything 100 degrees. Wonder why it did not work.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure, although I will say that mine is always runnier than storebought yogurt. They usually add fillers to thicken theirs.

    [Reply]

    Shawna Reply:

    I just made this for the first time last night, followed the directions to a T and it still came out very runny. Used grass-fed raw milk and plain greek yogurt as the starter. Heated to just under 100 degrees and put in a cooler with hot water for 7 hours. Will it thicken up more in the fridge? I hate to throw it away. But I know my kids and this stuff is too runny. Any advice on thicking it up? I realize it is runnier than store bought but this is the consistency of milk. I really wanted this to work:(

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sorry I’m just now getting around to answering this! If it doesn’t thicken within 7 hours, it’s okay to leave it in hot water for another hour or more until it does thicken up.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    Possible solution is that is wasn’t warm enough, I have been making both coconut and cow milk yogurt for years and have always added mine to my yogurt maker once it cooled to between 100 and 110 degrees. For dairy yogurt I use stonyfield greek yogurt as my starter and it comes out pretty thick, not as thick as the greek yogurt but if I want that consistency I just strain it for a couple of hours.

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    The trick with yoghurt is that, in order to get the thicker consistency, to heat the milk till 160F ffirst and then cool down to 100F.

    [Reply]

  95. lenora says

    love your idea easy way to make yogurt. I wiil try it. I will let u know what happens. mine is always thick n creamy, I use stovetop n maker with fage starter.I make homade cereal with yogurt, by soaking the grains overnite which are nuts and gluten free flour, it breaks down things the gut cannot. this will save me time. thank you

    [Reply]

  96. KC says

    I am feeling a bit confused. You need to buy store bought yogurt to make homemade yogurt? Is that every time or just the first time and then you use a little of your homemade stuff each time after that instead?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Just the first time. After that, you use the last of your homemade yogurt to make more homemade yogurt. :)

    [Reply]

  97. Barbara says

    You can thicken up any yogurt and even make it “Greek style” by just putting it in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter over a bowl for a few hours or even overnight in the fridge (depending on how thick you want it). I love Greek yogurt, but don’t want to pay the high price for store bought, so I just make my own. Very yummy!

    [Reply]

  98. Daphne says

    I don’t know if I missed it somewhere, but how long does the yogurt or cream cheese stay fresh in the refrigerator?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Mine stays good for about two weeks.

    [Reply]

  99. Colleen says

    Hello ;)
    I’m excited to try to make our own yogurt. I have 4 boys (9,5,3,1) and we have a bit of a strange situation. 2 of my kids are Deaf which is not an issue at our house anymore – it’s become the norm ;) The eldest one also has ecezmea (I know I spelled that wrong!!), the 5 year old has a sensitivity to milk or something to the point of vomiting every time he has milk – so soy or almond has always been safer for him. Not sure why this is – but any ice cream or mac and cheese anywhere and that’s the outcome. The 3 year old is just Deaf, and the baby we just found out is allergic to strawberries – but now I’m wondering if it is the pesticides in the strawberries he is allergic to. He also gets weird rashes at strange times so I think we are at the tip of the iceberg as far as his allergies. Anyhow – we got introduced to coconut kefir pudding and it has done wonders for the 5 year old. I want to make this yogurt but I am afraid of using whole milk. None of the house has ever done ok with whole milk. Can we do 1% organic or soy/almond? Just switched to organic produce and milk so that’s what I have.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’ve never tried it, but I would imagaine that this would work just fine with 1% milk. I’m not sure on the almond. :)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Reply:

    I make coconut yogurt because my kids have a dairy allergy, I make homemade coconut milk and then I heat it to 180 degrees, I use agar agar to thicken it, if you don’t thicken it it will be very thin.. You have to add sugar so that it will culture, I use about a tablespoon of honey. You heat it to 180 with teh agar agar (or other thickener) and honey, then cool to between 100 and 110 degrees, then I put it in a yogurt maker, but you can find some other way to hold it at the right temp. I use so delicious coconut yogurt for the starter. Good luck!

    [Reply]

  100. Dena says

    I just found your site and I love it! I’m wondering if anyone here can answer some questions for me? We just began buying fresh, raw milk from a local farmer, because I have recently found out I’m allergic to pasteurized dairy products.

    1) Is raw milk *with the cream* still in it considered/referred to as WHOLE milk?

    2) If the answer to #1 is yes, is the milk *with the cream removed* considered/referred to as skim milk?

    Thanks to anyone that can answer these questions. Since all of this is new to me, I may have more questions as time marches on.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, raw milk with all its cream is considered “whole” milk. You can remove part of it, and it would become like 2% or all of it and make it skim. :)

    [Reply]

    Dena Reply:

    Thank you very much, Laura.

    [Reply]

    Meghan Reply:

    To add to this question:
    1. how do you skim the cream?

    2. And I’m a little confused on the greek yogurt part. I have a greek yogurt started from CFH. Can I use it and do this method for making greek yogurt? (I think you already answered yes to this, but just want to be sure in the greek yogurt starter)

    3. Can i make whey from greek yogurt, or does it meed to absolutely be plain yogurt for whey?

    Thank you so much! I get my first raw milk tomorrow! :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I use a small gravy ladle to skim off the cream. Yes, I believe you can use this same method to make Greek yogurt. I’ve never made Greek so can’t say for sure on the whey. :)

    [Reply]

    Linda Reply:

    For Greek yoghurt: Drain your ‘normal’ yoghurt in a colander lined with a tea towel for about2-4 hour:done

    [Reply]

  101. Karen says

    Hello, thanks for explaining how to make homemade yogurt. This is my first time making some and i might have put too much starter yogurt? ( a store bought plain greek yogurt which is 142 g for 4 cups of milk). Anyhow once the milk had cooled, i put the yogurt in and mixed it with the milk but already there was small little curds along with the milk. I placed the mixture in little containers and placed them in the yogurt maker. I left them for about 15 hours and i noticed then some liquid ( the whey) and little chunks. Does this mean that the yogurt turned out good? Anyhow i was scared that it wasnt good so i still put 3 containers in the fridge to cool before tasting and tried to make some greek yogurt like u showed. It kind of looks like ricotta cheese. Then i let the rest sit some more to extract the whey to make some cream cheese. It is now in the fridge cooling down. Im wondering if i managed to do it right and if the yogurt should have that chunky liquidu look to it. Kind of gross to say but it kibd of looks like vomit!? Thanks for your reply

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Interesting, I’m really not sure since I can’t see it myself. Does it taste and smell okay? Sounds like the curd already started separating from the whey, which is fine.

    [Reply]

  102. Erin says

    So, you mention that you like cream cheese quite a bit. Do you make all the cream cheese that your family eats or do you buy some as well? If you buy it what kind do you buy?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Laura often buys Philadelphia cream cheese.

    [Reply]

  103. Linda says

    To make cream cheese, I don’t use yoghurt at all. I think it would be too sour to my taste.
    All I use is full fat fresh raw milk at room temp. On 2 gallons I use 1 tsp of cheese culture and 1/8 tsp rennet. Let stand overnight. Then in the morning it is a nice solid mass. You have to cut that with a large knife into 1 inch pieces (just slash a couple times through it, and then it all goes into a pillow case. I tie the pillow case closed and put everything in a colander in the sink. After 7-10 hours, depends how dry you want to have it, the whey is out. Put the cream cheese in the fridge or freeze what you don’t use.

    [Reply]

  104. Rebecca Jacobson says

    For those of you making greek yogurt, do you have any idea of the protein content? I usually choose greek yogurt at the store because I like the low sugar/high protein content. I am new to the process and not quite sure how that works. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  105. Hannah says

    I’m confused. If you are only using a quart size jar to make the yogurt why would you need 1-2 quarts of milk. Wouldn’t that be too much milk or am I missing something?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    No wonder you’re confused! I wrote terrible directions. I’ll go back and edit the post to make more sense. To clarify for you though, ultimately you can do this with 1 or 2 quarts of milk at one time and achieve the same result. :)

    [Reply]

  106. Lynzy says

    My Mother makes great yogurt. To make it thick and set-up without getting slimy-strands, she adds 1 tablespoon (for about a gallon of milk), of gelatin dissolved in a bit of cold water, right before she pours it into the jars. She has found that pouring the jars half full on the first round, then finishing filling them in a second round, works best for us. We have had troubles with the first (or might have been last) jar not setting up properly, because the gelatin wasn’t evenly spread.

    [Reply]

  107. Chasity says

    I tried the yogurt recipe last night and my yogurt is runny. When I opened the jar there was yogurt in the bottom of the jar, I’m thinking that I didn’t shake it long enough. I’m going to try again, but I also wondering how hot the water in the cooler needs to be? Also, what is in my jar smells good and is creamy, would it still be ok to use in smoothies? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I just use very hot tap water – it is usually steamy. You can definitely use the contents of your jar for smoothies and it will be just fine!

    [Reply]

  108. Tara says

    So when making cream cheese do you do something with the whey or just discard it?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I usually discard it because I don’t get much whey in this process.

    [Reply]

  109. Stephanie says

    1. Have you ever tried freezing some yogurt to use later, say like after vacation or something? Would that kill the cultures or would it still work?

    2. Can you repeat this process indefinitely just using some of your last batch of yogurt, or do you eventually need to start over with a fresh starter?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t tried freezing so I’m not sure how that works. Eventually, you’ll need to start over with fresh starter, but I make batch after batch after batch (for months or even a year) before I notice that my culture isn’t working as well any more. :)

    [Reply]

  110. Lauren Hill says

    Hi Laura-love your blog and have followed it for a while. I was wondering-how long does your butter, yogurt, and cream cheese last in the frig after you make it. How do you know when it has gone bad. thanks so much!

    [Reply]

  111. Tia says

    This will be my first time and I want to get it right. I haven’t seen any mention of a lid to cover the jars.When I put my jars in the cooler do I use lids? If so are the lids tightly closed?
    Thank you for your web cite Laura, I love it!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I close them tightly with lids. Sorry I forgot to mention that!

    [Reply]

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