• Yield: About 7 cups homemade yogurt; may be scaled up

Cheryl Sternman Rule's Streamlined Instructions for Making Homemade Yogurt

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk (organic, if possible)

  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (label must say “live, active cultures”)

1. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, slowly heat the milk to 180°F. Turn the burner down as low as possible, and “hold” the milk at this temperature (it may climb a bit, which is fine) for 5 minutes. Remove from the stove.

2. Cool the milk to 115°F. You may wait for this to happen naturally or set the saucepan in a sink filled part-way with icy water.

3. Stir a bit of the now lukewarm milk into the 2 tablespoons plain yogurt. Scrape this milky yogurt back into the saucepan. You’ve just inoculated your milk with the starter culture.

4. Cover the saucepan and find a way to keep it warm (110°F-112°F) for 6 to 12 hours, or longer, until thick. This is the incubation phase. (You may wrap the pot in a blanket or heavy towel and set it someplace warm in your home. You may wrap it in a towel and set it in the oven with nothing but the oven light on. Or you may set the covered pot on a heating pad on the lowest setting after confirming that the temperature hovers around 110°F.)

5. Transfer the yogurt to a clean container. Chill for several hours before eating. If you like, strain off some whey to thicken (keep it!), and whisk until smooth.

[Story: To change the flavor and texture of homemade yogurt, use a different type of milk]

Adapted from Yogurt Culture (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) and TeamYogurt.com.