Find out the easiest method for how to make yogurt from scratch. Making my own yogurt saves me over $220 a year and using this trick, it is so easy to make!
How I Save $18.37 per month in just 5 minutes
My family eats about 64 servings of yogurt per month. That’s about one serving each per day for my husband and I, since my son is dairy free and we haven’t introduced dairy to the baby yet.
If I were to buy organic, pastured yogurt ready made, the cheapest I’ve found it for is $3.55 per quart, or $28.40 for a month’s supply. However, I can buy grass fed organically raised milk for $4.99 per gallon, or $9.98 for the month’s supply, and use it to make my own yogurt. I save $18.37 per month.
If you prefer not to use grass fed or organic, you can replace conventionally raised yogurt with conventionally raised milk and you’ll see a proportionate amount of savings.
How to Make Yogurt from Scratch (one is easy, one is even EASIER!)
What’s that you say? You just can’t add one more thing to your already full plate? I totally understand! Luckily, making homemade yogurt is truly one of the easiest things to make at home.
1. Making Homemade Yogurt the Easy Way
- Heat your milk on medium-low heat to 180 degrees on the stove or in a crock pot.
- Turn off the heat, and allow it to cool back down to 110 degrees.
- Stir in your starter culture (use about 1/2 cup starter per quart of milk)
- This is the tricky part. Cover pot and place it in a warm place so that it maintains it’s temperature of 110 degrees over night. You can do this by wrapping the slow cooker in a towel or placing the whole pot in a warm oven, or setting it on a heating pad.
- Refrigerate in the morning.
(These instructions are based on those on page 85 of Nourishing Traditions. affiliate)
This works, and I have made my own yogurt this way for years. However, it can be a little temperamental and nerve-wracking to make sure you maintain that warm temperature all night long.
A note on choosing a yogurt starter: You can use any plain yogurt that has “live and active cultures” as a starter. We have used Nancy’s brand in the past, but it has a pretty tangy flavor. I prefer to use Plain Cream Top Brown Cow natural yogurt as a starter. After that first batch, you will use some of your last batch of yogurt as the starter for your new batch of yogurt, so you only have to buy it once. If you want to get really crazy, there’s even a way to make your own yogurt starter using trimmings from chili peppers!
2. Making Homemade Yogurt the EASIER Way
- Pour milk into a plastic or glass container.
- Stir in your starter culture.
- Leave it sitting at room temperature for about 12 hours.
- That’s it!
I recently found a new kind of starter culture that cultures at room temperature (70 to 77 degrees). No cooking the milk to a certain temperature, no trying to keep your oven slightly warm all night, no buying a puny yogurt maker that holds about one days worth of yogurt! This yogurt culture totally rocks!!
If you want to try this method for homemade yogurt, look for a “Mesophilic Yogurt Culture.” You’ll probably need to order this online or get it at a local natural foods store. After making one batch with your starter, you can reuse your own yogurt as a starter again and again.
I got my yogurt starter from Cultures for Health. If you’re in Canada, check Culture Mother. There are several options depending on how you like your yogurt (greek, mild, etc.) but I picked the Flimjolk yogurt culture that is custard like and popular with kids. The regular price of the starter culture is $12.99. It’s more expensive than buying regular store bought yogurt as your starter. However, I save $220 a year by making my own yogurt. For me, the cost of the culture is well worth the convenience in this case.
24 thoughts on “My secret for saving $220+ per year on Groceries”
I did try making yogurt a few times in the crockpot. The first time it came out ok, but pretty runny. The second time, it burnt the milk for some reason. :/ It does seem easy, but it has been hard for me for some reason.
I agree, the crock pot and stove top method can be tricky! As for being runny, I think what starter culture you use makes a big difference. The Brown Cow I mentioned in the post stays nice and thick and doesn’t need to be strained much if at all.
I use a yogourmet yogurt maker. The jars are large, two quarts. Several years ago the initial investment was $60.00, and included the incubator, the thermometer, a straining bag, and the two quart jar. It works well. I do have to heat the milk and cool it. The incubation period is between three and four hours. I have used their culture and then saved a bit to make the next batch for several years.
That sounds great! Where did you find your yogurt maker? What brand? I looked a bit but couldn’t find anything nearly that big. Yogurt makers also seem like one of those things like bread makers that you could find in thrift stores for cheap.
Can you use raw milk with this method? I haven’t tried making my own yogurt yet, but I’ve heard that it may be even trickier with raw milk as bacteria in it already “competes” with the yogurt probiotics.
I haven’t tried it, but the instructions that came with the culture say to refer to the CFH website for detailed instructions concerning raw milk here http://www.culturesforhealth.com/make-mesophilic-raw-milk-yogurt/
I’m new to all of this “make your own yogurt” stuff, so this may be a dumb question. But, how do you re-use your own yogurt as a starter for your next batch of yogurt? Thanks so much!
Just save some of your yogurt that you just made, and that literally becomes your starter for the next batch. Hope that makes sense!
I saw you mentioned you freeze some of the new yogurt to use as a starter? Is that correct? What do you freeze it in?
Also, how much milk to how much starter? I thought I read that you make a gallon at a time, right?
Sorry for my millionth question, but also can any of those cultures be used to do the room temperature method?
This may be a silly question, but what kind of milk do you use?
Right now I use non-homogenized low-temp pasteurized milk. Boy that sounds fussy, doesn’t it? If you’re doing the no-cook method, then you’ll need to make sure to find regular pasturized milk, not raw, not ultra-pasturized.
Any ideas how to sweeten or flavor it? I usually just do vanilla, stevia or honey. But the hubs likes the store bought with fruit etc. I make my own with Greek starter from cultured for health in a yogurt maker. I didn’t have much luck with other methods and it makes 1.5 quarts at a time.
I just eat it plain or in smoothies. I know it’s an acquired taste, though. My hubby sometimes sweetens it with honey or adds blueberries. I think people like the store bought because it has a ton of sugar. :) Maybe blend in extra honey and then partially blend fruit with a hand mixer?
I like to add homemade jam to my yogurt. It adds the fruitiness and sweetness that the store bought type has, but tastes much yummier and more really.
Not the healthiest option, but just as a “sometimes” treat, stir in a packet of Jell-o. :)
I wonder if you got your Easy yogurt-making recipe from a Middle Eastern friend or source, because this is nearly EXACTLY the way my parents taught me how to make yogurt!
It’s a little tricky to get the hang of it first, but once you’ve made it a few times it gets much easier. I save 1/4 to 1/2 c of yogurt from each batch and add it to 1/2 to 1 gallon of milk, 2% or whole, and if the yogurt is not setting as well over time you can refresh it by starting fresh with another culture or container of small plain yogurt. We wrap the crock in blankets, jackets or old sweatshirts and let it sit overnight. A longer time sitting out makes for more sour yogurt. I boil it btn 110-125 degrees, but my dad uses the “pinky” method. If you can leave your finger in there for ten seconds, and it doesn’t burn, you are ready to add the starter culture.
We also enjoy it plain, , mixed with honey or dates, jam, or fruit. It’s also tasty as a sauce for Dolmah (stuffed grape leaves) or you can make a sauce by combining plain yogurt with chopped cucumbers and mint.
In the summer, we mix yogurt with ice, water, and a little salt to make a drink called Doogh. (doo-ehh) (also Ayran)
I originally learned how to make yogurt from Nourishing Traditions, but I have a friend who is Armenian that told me her grandparents use the pinky method as well. :)
I am from Albania and my mom thought me the pinky method which I have used ever since. It always works.
can you use this method for non dairy milk, like making it with coconut milk? or have to use another method ….. thank you
Yes, it is possible to make dairy free, although I haven’t personally done it. Here’s one starter culture that can be used with non-dairy milks. The only unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t reculture, so you have to use a new starter packet every time.