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How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Store-bought yogurt may be convenient, but it doesn’t compare to the creamy deliciousness of homemade yogurt, which is a staple around our place! Bahram’s Iranian roots have led us to nearly always have a batch of fresh, homemade yogurt on hand. In Iran, yogurt is not just a breakfast or snack food, but it’s frequently served as part of a dinner as well.

Not only is yogurt delicious but it’s also one of the best food sources of probiotics – live microorganisms that can provide all kinds of benefits to your body and brain. Studies show that probiotics may improve digestive health, boost your immune system, reduce depression, improve heart health, and give you better looking skin!

Our homemade yogurt recipe is super simple and doesn’t require any special equipment other than a food thermometer!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2  gallon of organic whole milk.
  • One cup of previously made yogurt (starter). If you don’t have previously made yogurt, you can use organic, plain, whole milk yogurt which contains active, live cultures that will serve as a starter for your homemade batch.
  • Optional: add to taste – flavors such as honey, vanilla, molasses, fresh or dried fruit, herbs, garlic, etc. Adding these toppings and flavors is a very American thing – in Iran and many other parts of the world, yogurt is eaten plain or as a side dish accompanying a meal.

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170. With oven light on. 

Step 2: Pour half gallon of organic whole milk into ceramic container. 

Step 3: Put in microwave on high for about 20 min until temperature reaches 190F (no higher than 200F and no lower than 180F).

Step 4: Remove from microwave and set aside. Allow to cool to ~110F. Once milk reaches this temperature, add one cup of previously made yogurt.  Simultaneously, keep an eye on the oven which is preheating and turn it off once yogurt temperature reaches 140F (but keep oven light on).   

Step 5: Place mixture into the oven (note: oven is off, but oven light is on). Leave in the oven with the light on for 3 full days. As the yogurt sits, it becomes thicker and more tart (which is how we like it). Some people prefer it less tart, so then it does not need to stay in the oven quite as long. If this is your first time making yogurt, you can check it after 12 hours or so and when it reaches a flavor and consistency you like, remove it from the oven. Avoid mixing or stirring the yogurt until you remove it from the oven.

Step 6: Cool the yogurt. Once the yogurt has set to your liking, remove it from the oven and cool in the refrigerator. Be sure to fully chill the yogurt before serving. If you see any watery liquid on the surface you can either drain this off or mix it back into the yogurt. Mixing will give the yogurt a creamy, consistent texture. Homemade yogurt should keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

And that’s it! Serve and enjoy! One of our favorites is to mix chopped cucumber, fresh mint and sea salt with yogurt. It makes a delicious side dish to any meal! My kids love adding honey, fresh fruit or granola – the options are endless.

View video below of Bahram talking through our homemade yogurt recipe: 

Do you have a favorite topping or herb that you add to yogurt? Let me know in the comments or send me a message!


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