Adventures of a former overseas missionary, pilot's wife, and mom of 4 girls

Favorite Recipes – Homemade Yogurt March 26, 2011

Filed under: Favorite recipes — junglewife @ 3:41 pm

Two recipes in one week? Must be some kind of record 🙂  Anyway, I promised to post my yogurt recipe for an Internet group of missionary ladies I am a part of, and thought I would just post it here too 🙂  I made yogurt the other day so you all get treated to pictures as well!

Let me just say that there are a LOT of tutorials out there on the interwebs on how to make yogurt. Most of them involve using fresh milk, heating it up to a certain temperature, letting it cool to a certain temperature, and continuing from there. Mine is not made that way. The method I use (mainly because we can’t get fresh milk here) comes from one of my very most favorite cookbooks, the Wycliffe cookbook. I HIGHLY recommend this one. It’s a bit different than the More With Less I recommended earlier this week. The Wycliffe cookbook has more basic recipes, sort of a “Betty Crocker” type cookbook, if you will, for those who are cooking just about entirely from scratch.  Lots of good recipes and basics in there.  So anyway, this is my adapted method of making yogurt from the Wycliffe cookbook.

To make homemade yogurt, all you need is water, powdered milk, and some yogurt to use as a starter. I also use a can of sweetened condensed milk to make sweet yogurt but that is entirely optional.

Before you start, put a nice big pot or kettle of water on to boil – you will need it later.


Start off by pouring 6 cups of room-temperature (you can use tap water, just make sure it’s not too cold) water into a good-sized bowl.

Add 4 1/2 cups of powdered milk. A note here about powdered milk. I would highly recommend using full-fat milk powder. Usually in the States I only see fat-free/skim milk powder in the usual place where milk powder is sold. BUT (at Walmart anyway) if you go to the hispanic/ethnic aisle, I have seen full-fat milk powder. I think it is “Nido” brand.


Whisk up your milk powder into your milk to combine.


Add in you can of sweetened condensed milk if you are using it. It really adds a nice flavor and the resulting yogurt is good enough to eat all by itself. I just can’t do plain yogurt by itself, sorry!  But this way you are not adding loads of jam or honey or whatever to the yogurt afterwards just to make it sweet enough to eat.


Is your water boiling yet? Good! Add 3 cups of boiling water to the mix and make sure it’s all thoroughly combined.

AFTER adding the hot water, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of yogurt (you can use store-bought yogurt, just make sure it has active cultures. I thought it was a given that all yogurt had active cultures, but found out early in my time here in Indonesia that is not necessarily true! I found yogurt at the store down in Sentani once and snagged a couple little containers to use as starters… and then my yogurt never set up! Someone told me later that kind does not have active cultures… oh well!  Now I just try to save some of my last batch to use in making a new batch, or get some from a friendly neighbor :-))

The reason you add the yogurt last is because if you agitate the yogurt too much, I guess you can kill the cultures. So add the yogurt last, after you do all your mixing. Make sure the yogurt is mixed in well, but just try not to stir it TOO much!


Then pour it into your containers. I find that old mayo jars work really well.  However I just broke one last week (I dropped a full glass jar of yogurt on the floor the other morning! Yikes!) and so here I have a pickle jar, too 🙂  This recipe makes a good 3 quarts of yogurt. (that pickle jar is not quite a quart, so I also used a smaller mayo jar)


Some people like to sterilize their yogurt jars. I tried to sterilize this plastic jar and it didn’t work so well, so maybe if you are using plastic jars just make sure they are nice and clean!


Now comes the incubating part. There are LOTS of different methods for this (just google it!) but here is what I do: I use an insulated container that holds my jars nicely. Then I pour water around them to reach almost to the top of the jars. I try to make the water around them about the same temperature as the liquid inside. Since the recipe I use calls for 2 parts room-temp water to 1 part boiling water, I use that same ratio for the water that surrounds the jars.  (That is why I boil a nice big pot of water, so I will have enough for putting around the jars as well as making the yogurt mixture.)  Make sure to feel it with your finger. It shouldn’t be TOO hot. Bathwater temperature is a good reference point.


Then cover it up and let it sit!  I usually check it after about 3 hours. If the yogurt is a nice “set” consistency, I take the jars out and put them in the fridge. If they are still liquidy, I just let them sit another hour or two and check it again. I have had it take anywhere from 3 to even 6 or 7 hours for the yogurt to set up.


Here is what the yogurt should look like when it is “set.” There might be a little liquidy whey around it, but overall it should not pour out when you tilt the jar at an angle.

So, that’s my recipe!  Here’s the full recipe if you want it:

Homemade Yogurt

6 cups room-temperature water

4 1/2 cups powdered milk

3 cups boiling water

1 can sweetened condensed milk (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cup yogurt to use as a starter.

Mix water with powdered milk. Add sweetened condensed milk (if using) and boiling water. Gently whisk in yogurt. Pour into jars. Put into insulated container surrounded by warm water and incubate for 3-6 hours or until yogurt is set. Store yogurt in the fridge.

One last note. If you don’t want to make quite that much yogurt, please note the ratios above.  2 parts room-temp water to 1 part boiling water, and then however much water you have all together, add half that much powdered milk. So you could do 4 cups room-temp water, 2 cups boiling water, and then 3 cups powdered milk, etc.

Let me know if you make homemade yogurt and how you like it!


4 Responses to “Favorite Recipes – Homemade Yogurt”

  1. This is great Sarah….Thanks for posting.

  2. Ellie Says:

    I am going to try that!

  3. britney Says:

    I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!! i was hoping you would post about yogurt because i would like to make my own. i love eating it, but it costs a lot here. i think it is going to be more cost effective to make my own. Do you think if i cut the recipe in half that will cause any problems?

    • carol van Says:

      Thanks for posting this. I lost my cookbook in a move and had forgotten to write down this recipe which was a favorite.

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