How to Make Traditional Yogurt
There are many ways to make traditional milk yogurt that follow different steps and make use of various equipment. A lot of people use a yogurt incubator if they make yogurt regularly, just to make things easier.
Others use a simple stovetop, an oven, or a cooler and a heating bag to produce small batches and for rare use. Here, we'll focus on the recipes using a yogurt incubator, as it is the ideal option to make rich and creamy yogurt. In this section, we're covering all recipes that use different types of milk to make traditional yogurt.
All these recipes will take 15 minutes of prepping time and around 25 hours of cooking and incubating time.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Whole Milk
Whole milk is the most preferred choice for making yogurt because it contains optimum fat content and produces yogurt that's creamy, dense, and rich in flavor.
4 cups of whole milk (to make 4 cups of yogurt), ice cubes, and a starter culture of your choice (either store-bought yogurt with the live active yogurt culture or powdered starter culture).
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, a yogurt incubator, and 6-oz storing containers. Make sure you sterilize the equipment before use to avoid contamination.
⮚ Step 1: Heating and Cooling the Milk
Pour the milk in the pot and place it on medium heat until it reaches 180°F. Make sure you don't exceed this temperature. Use your thermometer to note the temperature constantly. Let it heat at this temperature for around 20 to 30 minutes and keep frequently stirring to prevent it from forming a 'skin' or additional layer on top. After that, use a water bath filled with ice to cool the milk until it reaches 110°F. This procedure is helpful if you're using raw milk or unpasteurized milk. It helps in the coagulation of the molecules and makes the resultant yogurt dense.
A lot of people use a microwave to heat the milk and stir it at occasional intervals (every 2 to 3 minutes) until it reaches 180°F. But we'd recommend using the stove if you're a beginner, as it provides more precision.
⮚ Step 2: Adding the Starter Culture
Add the starter culture to a small portion of the milk and stir it well. Measure the starter culture according to the instructions and measurements that are given on the label. Every culture type varies in terms of usage and measurements. Add the rest of the milk and stir it again. Pour the mixture in 6-oz storage containers.
If you're using store-bought yogurt, add a small portion of it to a small portion of the prepared milk and stir it properly. Mix it with the rest of the milk.
⮚ Step 3: Incubating the Mixture
Place the jars in the oven or in the cooler with the heating bag if you don't have a yogurt incubator. But if you do, place the containers in the incubator and set the temperature to 100°F or 110°F and set the time according to your preference.
The normal setting time is around 8 to 12 hours, but you can let it set up to 24 hours for a stronger and tangier flavor. You can also taste the yogurt once 5 to 6 hours have passed. If it has reached your desired taste and texture, you can stop the incubation process.
Once it's ready, seal the containers with airtight lids to keep them fresh and place them in the refrigerator. Let them chill for a while.
Your whole-milk yogurt is ready to be consumed directly from the containers. Even though the yogurt can stay safe up to one week or 10 days, we'd recommend consuming it within 2 to 5 days to gain maximum nutritional value from it.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Half-and-Half
As we know, half-and-half milk is half cream and half milk. It also produces yogurt that's creamy and rich in flavor.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with half-and-half milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with 2% Milk
2% milk will also make dense yogurt, but it will be lower in fat content as compared to the whole and half-and-half milk. It contains the same nutritional quality as whole-milk yogurt.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with 2% milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with 1% Milk
1% milk has a lower fat content, so the yogurt might be a bit thinner than the one made from 2% milk. It also contains the same nutritional value as 2% milk yogurt.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with 1% milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Skimmed Milk
Skimmed milk has almost no fat content, and thus, the yogurt will be the runniest among the above choices. It's highly preferred by people who are watching their weight but cannot give up on yogurt.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with skimmed milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Evaporated Milk
Evaporated milk is milk separated from the water content. It tastes creamier and has a slightly toasted color.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with evaporated milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is thickened and separated from the water content, just like evaporated milk. The only difference is the sugar content. Sweetened condensed milk is a bit thicker and contains sugar. Yogurt made with this kind of milk is commonly used in desserts due to its sweet nature. It also goes well with berries and cut fruits.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with sweetened condensed milk.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Lactose-Free Milk
Lactose-free milk is the most suitable choice for people who are lactose intolerant and suffer from allergies. This is also good for SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), as we talked about earlier.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with lactose-free milk. But don't leave it to incubate for more than 30 hours as the microorganisms could start feeding on the milk and destroy the yogurt.
How to Make Traditional Yogurt with Powdered Milk
Powdered milk doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to making thick yogurt, and hence, it isn't preferred much. A lot of people also don't like the taste of powdered milk. However, as we've pointed out before, the taste diminishes once it is converted into yogurt.
Use the same ingredients, equipment, and method as described above. Replace whole milk with powdered milk. Most of the time, you don't get the desired density with powdered milk, so you can use 1 cup of whole milk with it to adjust the consistency.
How to Make Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is basically normal yogurt that's thicker and higher in protein content. The only step that's different from the procedure of making normal yogurt is straining the mixture. The extra whey that remains in the resultant yogurt is removed along with the water content to give it a thicker texture and more nutritional value. Greek yogurt has recently become popular following its widespread use in the United States. It is still called strained yogurt in a lot of regions around the globe.
This type of yogurt requires whole-fat milk as it is known for its thicker consistency. The desired thickness and texture can only come from using milk that has a higher fat content. Greek yogurt is highly preferred by people who work out and need a lot of protein. It also goes well with desserts because it is quite flavorful.
Steps to Make Greek Yogurt
4 cups of whole-fat milk, ice cubes, and a starter culture of your choice.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, a yogurt incubator, 6-oz storing containers, a mesh sieve, and a cheesecloth.
Follow steps 1, 2, and 3, as mentioned above. The crucial step here would be straining the yogurt to convert it into Greek yogurt. Take the mesh sieve and line it with the cheesecloth. Place a bowl under it.
Pour the yogurt in the sieve and strain it. The separated liquid is whey and can be used as an ingredient for cooking or in smoothies. Transfer the resultant yogurt to airtight containers and let them chill in the refrigerator.
Your newly made creamy and thick Greek yogurt is ready to be consumed, and you can use Greek yogurt in a wide variety of recipes for dips and desserts.
How to Make Australian Yogurt
Australian yogurt is also popularly known as Noosa yogurt and is highly preferred due to its rich flavor. It is basically Greek-style yogurt that's mixed with honey to give it a sweet and sour taste. The texture and density of Australian yogurt are simply exceptional. It is generally eaten raw or with cut fruit like berries, bananas, or peaches for dessert.
Ironically, this Australian yogurt is actually manufactured in Colorado in the United States. You can find many of varieties of Noosa yogurt in grocery stores, with different flavors such as blueberry and strawberry rhubarb.
Since it's an expensive type of yogurt, you can try making it at home. Follow these steps to make rich, homemade Noosa yogurt that is similar to store-bought varieties at a fairly lower price.
4 cups whole milk, ½ cup heavy cream, ice cubes, a starter culture of your choice, and frozen fruits or fruit sauce (optional).
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, a yogurt incubator, and 6-oz storing containers.
Follow step 1 as instructed above, but also mix the heavy cream with the milk. Follow the same cooking instructions and temperatures that are given and all the other steps. When the yogurt is ready, you can line frozen fruit or fruit sauce in the storage containers to enjoy Noosa yogurt.
How to Make Viili Yogurt
Viili yogurt belongs to Finland and is widely known for its 'stretchy' and slimy nature. Now, this yogurt has two kinds of consistency; short and long. The short consistency is similar to viili yogurt that you can buy from the grocery store with a milder taste, and the long consistency is stretchy and stringy.
A new batch of viili yogurt is mostly prepared from small portions of the old batches. A lot of people are fond of this type of yogurt because of its playful consistency and amazing flavor.
1 cup whole milk, ice cubes, and viili culture or a small portion of viili yogurt of the desired consistency.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, and a bowl.
Repeat step 1 to prepare the milk for fermentation, as mentioned above. Coat the sides of the bowl with 2 teaspoons of viili culture. Pour the milk into it and cover the top. Let it sit for around 12 to 24 hours. Refrigerate to enjoy it cold.
How to Make Kefir
Kefir is a probiotic fermented drink made out of milk. It's thicker than buttermilk and thinner than regular yogurt. It acts like a refreshing drink that provides a lot of nutritional value. It has a creamy consistency and a bit sour in taste.
4 cups of whole milk, ice cubes, and kefir grains.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, a fine-mesh colander, paper towels, and a glass jug.
Repeat step 1 to prepare the milk for fermentation, as mentioned above. Add the kefir grains and pour the milk in the jug. Cover the top with paper towels and secure tightly with rubber bands. Let it ferment for around 24 hours in a dark and warm place.
Once you get the thickened texture and fermented smell, you can strain the mixture using a fine-mesh colander. While you're straining it, stir it continuously to get an even texture. Refrigerate to enjoy it cold.
How to Make Ayran
Ayran is a famous Turkish drink that's fermented and often enjoyed with savory meals. Also known as 'doogh' in Iran, this national drink of Turkey is extremely easy to make and Ayran takes only a few minutes (if you have the yogurt prepared beforehand).
Turkish people enjoy this refreshing drink with warm and spicy meals such as cooked meat, kebab, and burek. It has a similar consistency to lassi, which is an Indian drink, but ayran doesn't have additional flavors in it.
Whole milk, ice cubes, a starter culture of your choice, sea salt, and water.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, a yogurt incubator, a rocket blender, and drinking glasses.
Repeat step 1 to prepare the milk for fermentation, as mentioned above. When your yogurt is ready, add sea salt and cold water to it and blend it using a rocket blender until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and the drink forms a frothy layer on the top. You can also add mint or diced cucumber as additional garnishing on top. Serve chilled.
How to Make Yakult
You might have seen those tiny white containers in the grocery stores, labeled 'Yakult.' It is a fermented drink made of probiotic milk, and it tastes sweet. Yakult is based in Japan and is claimed to be good for your gut health.
These yogurt makers have a patented strain of Lactobacillus known as the Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota. To make it at home in a larger quantity, you can use a small portion of the Yakult drink to benefit from the same strain.
Whole milk, ice cubes, and a small portion of Yakult drink or any other fermented drink.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, and drinking glasses.
Repeat step 1 to prepare the milk for fermentation, as mentioned above. Add a small portion of the fermented drink to a small portion of the prepared milk and mix it well.
Pour it in the rest of the milk and cover it with an airtight lid. Let it sit for around 12 to 14 hours. Once it thickens, transfer it to serving glasses and serve them chilled.
How to Make Icelandic Skyr
Icelandic Skyr, as the name suggests, originates from Iceland and is quite popular as a dessert meal. It's filling, creamy, and rich in consistency, almost like ice cream. It's an old recipe that's been followed for centuries.
Popularly known as Skyr, this type of yogurt contains rennet that is actually used to make cheese. But due to its consistency, it is considered as yogurt. It is also highly preferred due to its great nutritional value. Icelandic Skyr is known to contain a high amount of protein—almost three times more than other yogurt types—and has low-fat content, making it an ideal option.
4 cups of skim milk, ice cubes, 5 ½ oz of Siggi's plain or vanilla Skyr, 7 drops of liquid animal rennet, and ¼ cup of water.
A stainless-steel pot, a ladle, a water bath, a thermometer, and a fine-mesh cheesecloth or a colander.
Follow step 1, as instructed above, to prepare the milk. Add a small portion of the Skyr yogurt to a small portion of the prepared milk and mix it well. In a separate bowl, mix the rennet with warm water.
Pour it all in the rest of the milk and cover it with an airtight lid. Always prepare the rennet mixture fresh as it can be less effective if prepared beforehand. Let the milk and rennet mixture sit for 12 to 14 hours.
Once you see that the milk has separated into curd, you can then go on to the final stage of straining it using a fine-mesh colander or a cheesecloth. While you're straining it, stir it continuously to get an even texture. Transfer it to serving glasses and chill for a while. You can also serve it at breakfast with oatmeal or as a dessert meal with berries and honey.
You see, with a little more effort and a few additional ingredients, you can prepare and enjoy different types of yogurt from all around the world. To get some of the ingredients that can be difficult to find, you can always look them up online or buy them when you visit those specific regions.