Easy Homemade Berry Yogurt

I have been eating homemade yogurt since I was a kid. I was a very sickly child.  I had a lot of health problems and allergies,that are to long to describe in this post, but because of this my mom made almost all of our food from scratch.  She made the majority of her baked goods with whole grains and honey and she made everything she could from scratch. One of those things was yogurt and she made really good yogurt, including flavored ones.

Fast forward quite a few years and I no longer ate very healthy.  What I considered healthy was the store bought yogurt, like yoplait.  This yogurt is really good and tasty and yes a low fat breakfast or treat, but it is full of sugar and other ingredients that are not so healthy. This is the yogurt my family and I ate for years.

Long time readers know that my daughter suffers from severe asthma. Her main triggers are chemicals and smells. After she was diagnosed I really started to look around at the things in my house and the foods that we ate. I really started to read labels and pay attention to the ingredients of the foods we eat.

One of the things we ate a lot of was yogurt.  Once I really started paying attention to what was in the yogurt I felt bad feeding it to my family.  I decided to try some of the healthier, more organic yogurts in the stores.  My family did not like them at all.  They did not like the taste or texture.  I could use them in smoothies, but my family enjoyed eating a bowl of yogurt for breakfast and they did not like these healthier varieties.

I decided that I needed to figure out how to make really good yogurt at home.  This actually was not the first time I had tried.  I had tried in the past in order to save money.  Homemade yogurt is usually more frugal, but I had not found a homemade yogurt my family would eat.  Sometimes it was sour and other times the texture was off.  I tried all the tricks, I used powdered milk. I tried gelatin. I tried whole milk and I tried low fat milk.

I used several different methods of cooking it.  I tried the crock pot and I tried the overnight in the oven trick.  I never got consistent results.  Sometimes it would turn out and my family would eat it, but most of the times I ended up using it for cooking or smoothies. The main complaint was it was too sour and had poor texture. They would not just sit down and eat a bowl of it like they wanted to.

But when I visited my parents in June my mom made some of her homemade yogurt.  She had not made it in years, but had recently started making it again.  One bite had me, it was the best homemade yogurt. This is what I had been looking for, but had not been able to get.

What was her trick?  A yogurt maker, yes a yogurt maker and I came home and bought one just like hers. Now, I know many of you that make your own yogurt will disagree with this.  But in my opinion if you want really good and consistent results you need to use a yogurt maker. A yogurt maker gives you the perfect environment for the yogurt cultures to work.  It is the perfect temperature that you need to get consistent results.  It is not too hot or too cold.  There is not guessing, no messing, it gives you the easiest, best results every time. The yogurt maker I bought is the Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker – YM80 and I love it.

I know this is not the most frugal option, but I think it does pay for itself.  Plus, my main goal is not just the cost.  I am trying to find a healthy alternative to the store bought varieties and not only that, I want a homemade yogurt my family will eat and enjoy. I have finally found it.

The basic recipe I use came with my yogurt maker.  It is the easiest homemade yogurt I have made.  It says that it gives you a more European style yogurt because you do not heat the milk.  From what the recipe book says, heating the milk gives you an American style yogurt.

You may find that this recipe works using some of the other methods, like the crock pot or oven, but I have only made this in my yogurt maker.

See it is thick and creamy.

Here is what I do.

For more recipes see Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays and Tasty Tuesday.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. That look so good, and definitely thicker than my homemade yogurt I made last week (although it was my first time ever!). I’m not interested in buying a yogurt maker (yet!), but I may just try your recipe in the crockpot.

  2. I’ve been looking into yogurt makers, as I figured this was probably the best and safest way to make yogurt! I think you’ve convinced me now…. this looks delicious.

  3. I will defnitely be giving this a try. I eat yogurt, usually Greek, every day. I love it, but it can get expensive. I hope you will come join me for Crock Pot Wednesday at diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com. Mister Linky is up and ready for your entry.

  4. So first of all, this looks delicious! I just made my first homemade batch and while the flavor was good, it did not have the thickness and creaminess as your does. My question for you is this. Do you think that this yogurt has equal benefit nutritionally? It seems that the probiotics would be higher in milk that starts out heated when you add the starter, but I am a newbie at this, so I may have no idea what I am saying! What do you think?

  5. I found a yogurt maker a few months ago and it does make very good yogurt! I don’t really have a good place in my apartment to keep something at a consistent temp so it was a good find.

  6. It looks so good and sounds easy to make!

  7. This is really yummy! I love the little jars.
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Liz

  8. I just made yogurt in my crock pot for the first time last night. It was a success but it was not this thick. Have you tried this recipe in the crock pot?

  9. Sarah, I have only tried this in my yogurt maker.

  10. I love homemade yogurt. i was trying to figure out how to flavor it and jelly or jam never crossed my mind. Great idea, what does the powdered milk do? is it a thickener? My recipes doesn’t have the milk.

  11. Tina, the powdered milk helps thicken it. I plan on doing a 2nd yogurt post more about the why’s of this recipe.

  12. This sounds delish!

  13. YUMMY!!! homemade yogurt. When I was young my mom made yogurt. I have to make some for my family. THANKS!!! for the recipe. Geri

  14. I have a yogurt machine, but have only made it using heated milk. I then end up draining the yogurt to get it thicker. I will definitely be giving this a try. Thanks!

  15. My mother used to have a yogurt maker too, and it was good. But I have been hooked on Trader Joes yogurt for a while.

  16. Darleen@jwcreath@gmail.com says:

    Can you use raw milk for this recipe? Also, can you use arrowroot to thicken the yogurt instead of powdered milk?

  17. I think you would have to heat the raw milk. But I have never tried it with raw milk. I don’t think arrowroot would work. Arrowroot thickens totally different than the powdered milk does in this recipe. The science behind it is totally different.

  18. Thanks Lynn I will keep a eye out for your next post. I have you on my blogroll. have a great night.

  19. That is so cool and sounds good. Grace LOVES yogurt.

  20. You yogurt looks yummy. I understand it that you heat the milk to kill any unwanted bacteria before adding the culture do you think that is only for raw milk?

    • @jblank, I am still unsure on the whole heating vs non heating of milk. But I think for raw milk you may still have to heat it. However, from what I can tell from reading, if your yogurt is thick, then the cultures are working. If there is too much bacteria, the culture will not work, and the yogurt will not get thick. Again, I have not been able to find a lot of info on the whys you heat or don’t heat the milk, but that is my thought.

  21. Would 2% milk work well or would whole milk work best? Also, for the plain yogurt to add to it, would lowfat work or does it also have to be full fat yogurt?

    It looks delicious! I have a yogurt maker, but the yogurt I made in it turned out runny.

    Thanks!

  22. I bought this yogurt maker but my yogurt tastes sour and smells like curdled milk. My kids won’t eat it. I made it with unsweetened jam. Maybe that’s the problem. Julie

  23. Michelle says:

    I purchased a yogurt maker this past weekend and use the heated recipe in the book, while it was good — I think I am going to try yours!! I love it thick and creamy … like Yoplait.
    Did you ever do a second post? I haven’t been able to find it. Thanks.

  24. Do you know if you can use a homemade plain yogurt in place of a storebought yogurt that the recipe calls for?
    Thanks!

    • @Amy, I think it would work as long as the homemade yogurt still has good cultures. I have had mixed results using homemade yogurt as my starter. I can usually get by with it once or twice in a row, but it seems like after awhile the cultures are not as good. But overall yes I think it would work fine.

  25. Lynn, i am wondering how often you make yogurt. I just bought the same yogurt maker, and am considering buying an additional set of jars b/c i have a family of 7 and would be making yogurt every day to keep enough around the house for everyone. DH eats it daily to regulate his stomach, and the kids always want to eat it too when they see him eating it. How often do you end up making yogurt for your family? Thanks :-)

    • @susan, It really depends. I have the extra jars now and love having those because I can make it less often. It really depends on how much I use the plain homemade yogurt for things like cooking and how much we eat it for breakfast. We go through it much faster if I am using it a lot for cooking. Lately I have not had a of time so I have not make homemade yogurt at all. But I try to make it once a week or so when we are eating a lot of it. I hope that helps and I hope you enjoy your yogurt maker!

      • @Lynn, Can i ask for a little trouble shooting help…i keep ending up with runny yogurt. what am i doing wrong? i tried just starting with room temp milk and adding everything, but after 3 runny batches decided to heat the milk as recommended in the yogurt maker direction and achieved my 1 successful batch. then made another batch and ended up runny again? thankfully it’s not a complete flop b/c my little boy, who won’t drink milk will drink the runny yogurt and all the kids enjoy it. Thanks!

        • @susan, Are you starting with the same brand of yogurt every time? The starter yogurt can make a difference. I occasionally get a runny batch, but not often once I found a brand of yogurt that I like to start with. I try to find something plain and more name brand. I have found that Walmart brand plain yogurt does not make good starter yogurt. Also, they recommend that you only use homemade yogurt for a few times as a starter and than start again with a new starter. I would also maybe try a higher fat milk if you are using a fat free or really low fat one. I hope that helps and you have more successful batches.

  26. I have been making yogurt for more than 20 years, because my husband is of Middle Eastern descent and they love to eat a lot of yogurt, Now they don’t like the sweet flavored variety, but we do eat it plain or cooked into other dishes. For those who are not ready to take the step to buy a yogurt maker, this is how I make it.
    I always follow these steps: I slowly slowly boil 1 gallon of milk, 1%, 2%, whole. Then cool until about 110 (like really warm bath water). Be careful not to touch the milk, we are trying to sterilize it so the culture will flourish. If you don’t have a thermometer, take a small spoonful and test it on your inner wrist like the old way to check temps of baby milk! Also, if you want to speed up this step of cooling off your milk, immerse the whole pan in a sinkful of cold water and ice cubes.
    Then, add up to 1 quart of plain non flavored yogurt (fat free or low fat are both fine). Stir well, and transfer to a non metal container, (I have a favorite large Corning wear dish), cover and wrap in a large towel or blanket, and leave for a few hours or overnight.
    When the yogurt is ready, I ALWAYS place several paper towels over the surface to soak the whey that often appears on the surface. I change the paper towels daily and it keeps the yogurt a bit creamier.
    One note: If the yogurt/milk mixture seems to have cooled off too much before you cover and wrap it, you can zap it for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
    Also, feel free to adjust the quantities for your family’s needs.
    Hope this helps some of you.

  27. Lacy Tatum says:

    Hi Lynn!
    I just bought this yogurt maker per your recommendation — I love creamy, thick yogurt but wanted to make our own healthier version. I just made my first batch yesterday, and sad to say — yuck! It tasted extremely bitter and only the top half-inch of the yogurt was thick and creamy, the rest really runny and all of it bitter. I would love help trouble-shooting because I am a complete yogurt-maker newbie! I used whole milk, plain whole milk yogurt, and strawberry jam. I heated it for almost 8 hours exactly.
    1. How long does it take for 4 3/4 cups of milk to come to room temp? Five hours? Seven hours?
    2. How soon after your yogurt is finished do you put in the fridge? Thirty minutes? One hour? Two?
    3. Was my yogurt bitter because I am used to the sugary store-bought brands & just need to adjust, because I did something wrong in the mixing process, or because I may need to add more than 1/4 cup of jam?
    4. What are some reasons for runny or half-runny yogurt? Needs to cook longer?
    Would love any help!
    Thanks so much!
    Lacy

    • Homemade yogurt is going to be different than the store bought, because it it does not have all the extra sugar and stuff and sweeten and thicken it, but it can still be very good. As far as how long the milk takes to get to room temp. it varies on how warm my house is. I would say it usually takes at least 4 hours or longer. I put my yogurt in the fridge right after it is done and then we usually let it cool all the way before eating it. I usually like it best the next day. You can add more Jam to sweeten it or even add some honey when eating it. If I have a batch that is a little bitter that is what we usually end up doing.The results can also vary depending on what you used as a starter. Some brands of yogurt work better than others for a plain yogurt starter. Don’t give up, it may take a few batches to get it how you like it and to adjust to the non store bought version. I hope that helps. (and you can also try out some of the other versions of yogurt that came with your maker. It maybe that you will like one of the other versions of yogurt better)

  28. I bought a yogurt maker and have made my own for a couple months now. I cannot seem to get the smooth creamy texture of store bought. Any suggestions?

    • Homemade yogurt does have a bit of a different texture than store bought. One thing that helps is to not stir it until you are ready to eat it or take out what you need and not stir the main rest.

  29. I made my first batch using this yogurt maker. It turned out so creamy and thick! I poured almost boiling water into the individual jars till ready to use (to sterilize them). Heated 42 oz. 1 % milk (5 1/4 cups) (with the 1/2 cup dry non-fat milk added) on the stove to 180 degrees, stirring. Let cool between 100 to 110 degrees. Meanwhile, turn on the yogurt maker to pre-warm it. To the milk, add the 1/2 cup lukewarm (room temp.) greek yogurt (Chobani non-fat) and gently stir to mix thoroughly. Then emptied the water from the individual jars and added the yogurt mixture. Placed them in the yogurt maker and they were ready in 6 1/2 hours. Add the tops and put in fridge for 2 hours before eating.

    Like to add blueberries from the garden, a little cinnamon and a little sweetener.

    I’m very happy I purchased this yogurt maker. Love the little jars. I was so afraid it would not turn out and so glad it did!

  30. Im very curious on this homemade yogurt and looking into getting the yogurt maker you have. I have never eaten homemade yogurt so I am very curious if I would like it. I know this may be hard to do but could you tell me what the difference in taste is compared to the store bought stuff? Id hate to waste the money and not like it.
    Thanks,
    Anne Gallo

    • I love the results a yogurt maker gives you. I think it is more consistent and less sour that way. Homemade yogurt is creamy and delicious in general, but it is different than store bought. It is not sweet unless you add sweetener and it is not as thick since it does not have the thickening agents. Here is a post a friend of mine did on homemade yogurt and her experiment with some of the non yogurt machine methods. I suggest trying one of those first, so that you don’t have to invest in a machine to begin with. It should help give you an idea what it is like. http://goodcheapeats.com/2012/08/morning-yogurt-and-oats/ I hope that helps.

  31. I only just made yogurt last night and used the crockpot/oven method, and after doing a lot of research I found that one of the problems of thin yogurt in some recipes i’ve found is that too much of the starter yogurt is used. I only used 2 TB of yogurt to 2 qts. of milk and my yogurt came out thick and creamy with no separation. I’ve read that TOO much of the culture will actually yield thinner yogurt because you’re crowding the space required for the cultures to live and thrive. I also strained out most of the whey, but after putting in a bit of vanilla for flavoring, it started thinning out again. I only strained it for an hour, so I put the rest back in the sieve and it’s sitting in my fridge now. I’m hoping with more straining it will yield a thicker yogurt even after flavoring is added. The yogurt itself isn’t tart, even after being in the oven for 11 hours.

    Also, I didn’t add any powdered milk or thickeners because I wanted to go the pure route (powdered milk is highly processed) and since this was my first time, I wanted to be as traditional as possible.

  32. I started making yogurt in my crockpot, it is awesome!

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