Monday Mission: You Can Make Homemade Yogurt!

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back to basics

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make homemade yogurt – even if you’ve been afraid to do it in the past!

Making homemade yogurt has long been a foundational Kitchen Stewardship habit, because it is something you can do that fulfills all four pillars of KS:

  1. Yogurt is very good for you – so your nutrition benefits.
  2. Making homemade can save you a lot of money – your budget benefits.
  3. You save resources when you don’t buy plastic tubs every week – the earth benefits.
  4. Since you’ll only have to devote 15-20 minutes of active work time to the whole project – your family time doesn’t suffer.

My painless method generates zero dishes except the jars you use to store the yogurt in plus one spoon. You can’t get any better than that!

Yogurt Resources

homemade yogurt with frozen fruit

I’ve been making homemade yogurt for about five years now and have said almost everything I know about it already here at KS, including the comprehensive how-to post which was published in my second month of blogging. Here’s where you can find the posts:

  1. The definitive post: How to Make Homemade Yogurt (really, be sure to read this one, as the rest of this post won’t make much sense until you familiarize yourself with the cooler method and the terms incubation and starter culture.)
  2. The Definitive Homemade Yogurt Troubleshooting Guide
  3. Adjusting for Raw Milk Yogurt(see below for new ponderings)
  4. Homemade Yogurt Updates: Other steps you can take if you’re not ready for homemade (wimps!), New ways to cool the milk, Skim Milk + Cream for homemade yogurt, What Milk SHOULD I Use?, and Greek Yogurt.
  5. 4 Tricks to Help you Reduce the Amount of Sweetener you need to eat plain, homemade yogurt.
  6. Yogurt Recipes and Substitutions (so none of your yogurt ever goes to waste)
  7. Bonus: How to Make Yogurt Cheese and Whey (If you’re already making homemade yogurt, this can be your Monday Mission!)

Yogurt Excuses

eating yogurt

I really, truly believe that everyone can and should make their own homemade yogurt. Even if I was really rich and didn’t care a whit about my food budget, I’d probably still make this item homemade, because I can do it better than the factories (nutrition-wise, at the least).

Lots of people are afraid of this one. Here are some common excuses and my straight-up responses:

  1. I work all day, and even though yogurt doesn’t take that long to make, the steps are all spread out. I can’t fit it in!
    My response: You have two options to make homemade yogurt fit with your schedule. First, there’s always the weekend. I realize that’s not always possible, because sometimes weekends get awfully full, too. Second, if you start the process when you get home from work – let’s consider you a workaholic and it’s already 7 p.m. – you can put your jars into the cooler by 8:30 if you use the speedy cooling method and 10 p.m. at the latest if you let the milk cool on the counter. Incubate overnight, or even until you get home from work the next day (I prefer 16-20 hours, myself), and stick the jars in the fridge. Ta da! You’re done. Full-time work is no excuse.
  2. I’m single/a student/no one in my house eats yogurt except me. I can’t make huge batches and just let it go to waste!
    My response: This method is adaptable to any amount of yogurt that you can fit in a pot. I happen to make 4 jars (just less than a gallon) at a time, but my mom has just started making homemade yogurt using my method (way to go, Mom!) and makes just one jar at a time. You could make two cups if you wanted to. You decide the size and number of your jars. Anyone can make homemade yogurt!
  3. I don’t have a picnic cooler, so I can’t use your nifty method to incubate.
    My response: Lots of  people also think they need a yogurt maker to make yogurt, but I think that investment is not worth your money or space in your house. You can incubate yogurt in any place that will stay at about 100 degrees F for 6-24 hours. Many people can use an oven with the light on (check your temperature – mine is probably not warm enough, but others say theirs gets up to 140-150F!). You could also try wrapping the jars in towels with a hot water bottle(s) or even an electric heating pad. Some have had great luck with a slow cooker filled with water and kept on low with the lid off, and a friend of mine simply leaves the jars in her pot of water on the stove. You’ll have to check the temp the first few times you make yogurt, but once you understand the science of growing bacteria from this post, you can handle about any situation. Once I incubated yogurt all day in the sun on my back porch, then overnight in a warm car. It made the creamiest raw milk yogurt ever! You do not need fancy equipment to make homemade yogurt.
  4. I don’t know where to buy yogurt starter/cultures.
    My response: Trust me, any grocery store has some sort of plain yogurt for sale. Any plain yogurt will do, as long as it lists “live and active cultures” on the side (and I have yet to find one that didn’t). I’ve used Meijer brand, Dannon, and Fage Greek yogurt. If you can only find vanilla, give it a shot! Only fat free? You’re using whole milk anyway (right???), so the fat free portion of the finished yogurt is so small it’s insignificant. You do not need fancy starters to make homemade yogurt.
  5. I use coupons, so I don’t need to make homemade yogurt to save money.
    My response: There are still two other reasons to make your own, and I bet in the long run it will still save you money. First, your famiy’s nutrition. Incubating your yogurt longer than 4 hours will decrease the milk sugars and increase the probiotics in the final product, which you can’t say about store yogurt. You also will avoid all sweeteners and other junk that might be added to the yogurt cups that are on sale with a coupon. Lastly, your family will eat more yogurt when you have it available in bulk, I guarantee it. More yogurt consumed = a healthier family. The second reason to make your own is to avoid wasting all those little (or big) plastic yogurt tubs. Making homemade achieves that in a big way. You save a lot more than money when you make your own.
  6. I’m still afraid of it. Your method has too many steps.
    Okay, if you want something easier (but it makes more dishes!), you can always try the slow cooker yogurt method that Sarah shares.
  7. Nope, I’m still afraid. Will you come to my house and show me how? I think if I see if done just once, I will believe I can do it myself!
    Sure, I can do that…sort of. If you’re a really visual person (or a really nervous one), I will be presenting my method and all my thoughts on and love for homemade yogurt as part of the GNOWFGLINS eCourse on cultured dairy and basic cheesemaking, starting in February. My guest lecture is in March (note to self: tape yogurt making!), and you can access it at any time with any level of membership once it’s posted. You can check out the cultured dairy schedule HERE by scrolling down to the course description and clicking through for more info. As a side note, the “thank you video” for this month features my kids and I making Farmer’s Cheese, an unbelievably simple recipe and very cool science experiment. My kids are hilarious, and Paul had a great time explaining some of the process (trust me, you’ll laugh at his antics).

One Yogurt Update: Dairy-Free Yogurt

I’ve made a lot of changes in the way I make homemade yogurt over the past 5 years, including lowering my incubation temperature, learning to make it with raw milk, and increasing my incubation time this past fall to a full 24 hours. Most of those changes are detailed in previous posts, but I did try one new experiment that I haven’t yet shared: dairy-free yogurt.

Possibly the most common question I get asked, which pains me because I never know the answer, is whether non-dairy alternatives can be cultured using this method. I finally tried coconut  milk yogurt this fall, and it got mixed reviews.

  • First, I used a box of coconut milk instead of a thick, creamy can. I would recommend using the can if you try this yourself! The box started me off with a deficit because it’s so thin.
  • I did the jar of coconut milk yogurt right along with three other jars of cow’s milk, so the directions for my regular yogurt were followed exactly.
  • The result? The coconut milk got a little bit thicker, but it was still very, very runny. It had a definite smell of something cultured, so I think something happened, but I can’t be sure how much.
  • The taste? We’re also working with a handicap here because we don’t drink or use coconut milk, so I didn’t even really know what it tasted like before being made into yogurt. For my tastebuds, it was very tangy, and I’d classify the experience as “gross.” I tried mixing a bit of coconut milk yogurt into my regular yogurt, but I just ended up wanting more sweetener. I managed to not let the whole jar go to waste by using some in a smoothie (you can hide anything in a smoothie, I’m telling you! Except cod liver oil…) and cooking with the rest of it.
  • If you’re dairy free, I think it would be worth trying a can of coconut milk and making it into yogurt. I did use my regular starter, but only because I wasn’t willing to buy expensive coconut milk yogurt to start with. If you buy the stuff anyway, as long as there are live cultures, please let me know how it goes!

A Few New Thoughts

On using raw milk for yogurt: A lot of people disagree with the fact that I just pasteurize my raw milk before I make yogurt with it. I do it because I simply couldn’t make yogurt my family would eat with raw milk any other way. I realize this knocks out the raw factor of the milk, but as I explained in my milk post, there are many other advantages to our raw milk. If yours is much more expensive, and you can get equally high-quality milk albeit pasteurized for less money, I would recommend buying that pasteurized stuff for yogurt, unless you want to buy a special culture for raw milk.

I have one hunch that I just thought of today when I was pondering raw milk and the fact that I now incubate at a lower temp. Since raw milk seems to incubate well at room temperature with the proper culture, I wonder if my raw milk would make better raw yogurt at a rather low incubation temp, like maybe just 90 degrees. Someday I’ll try it!

On incubating a full 24 hours: I was totally shocked to find that 24-hour yogurt wasn’t too sour or simply nasty, as I expected it might be. It’s really quite good! Incubating for 24 hours is supposed to get rid of all the lactose in the milk, so the yogurt is quite digestible for folks who are having intestinal ailments. It’s recommended on the SCD Diet (explained here) for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and other gut issues. To achieve a 24-hour incubation, simply add a few cups of boiling water at 8 hours and again at 16 hours.


Making homemade yogurt is part of the Back to Basics series this January to get you back on track to balanced nutrition, while not sacrificing your time or budget. Last week posed a simple challenge to reduce restaurant waste by bringing your own take-out containers, and next week we’ll review the beauty of cooking with dry beans.

Who’s ready to take the plunge? Are you going to give homemade yogurt a try yet?

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71 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Dorothy says

    What a timely post: I ran out of yogurt for my family this morning, and I’ve been out of the habit of making yogurt for months. This post is encouraging me to go into the kitchen and get a batch organized. Thanks!

  2. says

    I was reading through your different posts on yogurt and honestly I am finding them a little intimidating! I started making my own yogurt a month and a half ago using Beth Terry’s recipe found here:
    It is very, very easy and takes very little time and seems fairly foolproof. Also, there seem to be fewer supplies needed (just something to heat the milk in, a thermometer, starter yogurt, milk and a thermos…although as you mentioned somewhere you can skip the thermometer).
    Even though I use a different method I agree with you about the benefits of homemade and appreciate this post.

    • Katie says

      Whatever method works for you is awesome! For me, that would not make enough since we go through it like crazy, but a thermos is one method of incubation I hadn’t thought of. Way to go, Beth Terry! She’s great.

      Thanks for sharing! :) Katie

      • says

        Thermoses come in all shapes and sizes…I think you can get them up to 64 ounces or something crazy. If I was going to buy something new to use, I’d probably get a giant thermos. In the interest of frugality and using what I already own, I tend to monopolize all of our thermal coffee cups overnight when I make yogurt (1-3 times per week). But the method I use is so simple I don’t mind doing it every few days.

  3. says

    Ha! Thanks for the link, Katie! I’m about to make a batch of yogurt in my slow cooker this morning!

    Though . . . I’m not sure if my method makes more dishes. . . mine doesn’t require a thermometer or an extra pot, or a picnic cooler. Just the slow cooker and a timer. Then, since I nearly always srain my yogurt to make it thicker and collect the whey, it goes right in the jars (just two quart jars!) in the fridge! For me, it’s easier to NOT have a picnic cooler in my fridge as my little guys would constantly be getting into it and cooling it down! :) The only thing I have to wash is the slow cooker insert and the colander I use to strain the yogurt . . . the towel remains dry and I just put it away (no laundry even!) Maybe, technically we have the same number of things to wash (two) and mine are bigger, but I have less things to put away in the end. . . :)

    But, we can agree to disagree, my friend, as long as we both make it! :) You know I’m just teasing you, right? :) I know we’re both partial to our own systems and they work well for each of us! Yum!

    Happy Yogurting!


      • Katie says

        See, you were just nervous about picking on me. I do not wash my pot which only holds water, just rinse and tip upside down to dry, so it’s truly only the jars and one spoon for me! *raspberries* 😉

        Love that so many people love your method though!
        :) Katie

  4. Teresa says

    I use a yogurt maker to make yogurt, but I stopped making it because the last few batches I made I was having problems with the yogurt curdling. I use whole milk and cream top yogurt as my starter and then incubate it for 10 or more hours. I don’t know why it is not turning out. I have had some batches turn out great and taste really good, but then others just don’t turn out so great.

  5. says

    I’m going to try this using my crock pot. I have a yogurt maker that I used once and then never used again because it was a pain to heat up the milk and then pour everything into those little jars. I think if I stick with the crock pot method and then store it in mason jars I will be more likely to keep doing it. We’ll have to see how it works out.

  6. Nicole says

    Ok, I have bee putting this off for a long time. But I will try it this week!! I am the only one of the 5 in my family who eats yogurt regularly…but I am going to try and do smoothies to get the kids to eat it!

  7. says

    I made a 1/2 gallon of yogurt yesterday! It’s a little weird but not the same texture as the other stuff I did a couple weeks ago. It’s edible. My son LOVES his plain yogurt, if he has a taste he wants more!

    My problem now is this: I made raw milk yogurt as usual (I always use raw milk, I only heat it to lightly steaming and I don’t have a problem with thickening. 18O degrees doesn’t work out for me, and tried to strain it, but the whey was whitish!! ARGH! It needs to be yellow/green! I need that whey for some ferments so please help if you can! I tried the store bought yogurt I used as culture, same problem. I even tried letting some raw milk sit out on the counter to clabber. It’s been out for about FIVE days now, and it’s already over three weeks old, and it’s not clabbered. I’m so frustrated, I just want to make some fermented food!!

    • Katie says

      I am definitely not the fermented foods expert, but I can say I’ve never had white whey from yogurt before. Same cloth you’ve always strained it through? You are having some yogurt issues! Total bummer. I’m not sure what to tell ya….

      On clabbered milk, and maybe Wardeh would know more, isn’t it supposed to be fresh milk set out to clabber?

      Good luck! :) Katie

  8. says

    We (unfortunately) can’t stand the taste of plain yogurt, and think that if we mix in sweeteners, etc. after the fact, it still tastes like plain yogurt – just WITH the other stuff.

    But we discovered that you can add honey and vanilla (non-alcoholic; if you use regular vanilla, you taste the alcohol) before incubating it! I was afraid that the antibacterial nature of the honey would interfere with the culturing process, but it didn’t. We used 2-3 Tbsp. honey and 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla per quart.

    (One last note – if you use a dehydrator to incubate your yogurt and there is a toddler in the house, tape the temperature dial! My toddler ruined my yogurt on a few occasions because she turned it way up and killed the culture. I did discover that I could add a new culture and re-incubate it, and it was salvaged. Not as good as if it had worked the first time, but usable.)

  9. says

    I’ve been making homemade yogurt for months now! I am able to incubate it in the oven with the light on (with the jars in a pan of hot water). I incubate for 6-10 hours and its worked great; haven’t noticed a taste difference either. We just use fruit or honey to sweeten. My daughter loves this stuff! Now I just need to eat more of it.

  10. Carrie de says

    Can you freeze the finished jars of yoghurt for later use? (assuming you left enough room at the top of the jar for expansion)

    Can you freeze it to make frozen yoghurt?

    • Katie says

      You can freeze yogurt – in fact, I freeze the remainder of my Greek yogurt for use as a future starter. However, the texture is generally compromised and will be more watery, not as nice for regular consumption although fine for smoothies. The probiotics are still in there, alive and well.

      Frozen yogurt would need churning, I imagine, like ice cream, but if you follow directions for making homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker, I bet it would be wonderful!

      Yogurt lasts quite a long time – I bet a month – refrigerated, so no real need to freeze it just for storage purposes. :) Katie

  11. says

    I’ve been loving homemade yogurt after first learning about it here, though I’ve only ever done it the slow-cooker way. I love how it tastes plain, though my kids like a little fruit or jelly mixed in. I’ve found too that if I use a flavored yogurt as the starter, the entire batch is less tangy and my kids love it.

  12. Gina says

    I just tried your method last night and it turned out pretty good. I accidentally used pint jars instead of quart . . . I also used raw milk. I looked at some milk in the store and it was all ultra pasteurized. I’m not sure what kind to buy. The raw milk is quite expensive here so using something less costly would be great. Any help on where to find the right milk? Mine turned out kind of runny and slightly lumpy (not like cottage cheese just not smooth). I am going to keep trying since my son loves his yogurt!

  13. Amanda says

    I was intimidated by the yogurt making process you described previously but I believed in the benefits so I purchased a Yogurt Maker (EuroCuisine). I’ve made 2 batches now and its super easy. Boil the milk, add the starter and the machine does the rest! Its, of course an initial investment (just under $40) but totally worth it and we’ll make up the difference in a few months with the amount of yogurt we eat. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Sonia says

    We’ve been making yogurt for the past year. :) Although we were unable to get your cooler method to work.. ours kept cooling down too much too soon. My husband searched online and found a different method that uses a pot (with the milk in it) wrapped with a towel on top of a heating pad. It probably does end up being more dishes but at least we can get it to work everytime this way! Thanks so much for showing us how to do it!

    • Sonia says

      Oh also, thanks for the info on the 24hr incubation, I’m glad to hear it doesn’t taste that sour or gross… maybe we’ll have to try that next!

  15. says

    I’ve been making Specific Carbohydrate Diet yogurt (24 hour process) since June and would never have started except that we’re following the diet for my daughter’s health issues and I had to make yogurt at some point since it is in many recipes. I was a little intimidated at first, but now it is so easy. I started dripping the yogurt two months ago – didn’t really know what that would be like, but it’s simple and yummy. I use it as a sour cream alternative that I mix with hamburger or spread on steak. I invested in an Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator to make the yogurt and to dehydrate fruit for snacks and it has been totally worth the money.

    • says

      OMG! Why didn’t I think of the dehydrator! We have been using the light on our oven, which I must say does not stay the same temperature the whole time (it gets too hot).

  16. Joyce says

    I have a very easy Crockpot recipe for making “true” raw milk yogurt that doesn’t separate and doesn’t need to be strained.

    Pour your raw milk in a Crockpot and turn on high. Somewhere between 45 mins. to one hour later your milk temp will reach 110. Remove the crock from the heating element.

    Remove a cup or so of the milk and whisk 2 TBSP of Stonyfield yogurt (full fat) and 2 Tbsp of non-instant milk powder PER QUART of milk into the milk. Pour back into heated milk. Stir very gently to mix.

    Put the crock back on the heating element, put the cover on it and cover with a down coat or down coach throw out of a drafty area.

    Leave overnight and in the morning put the crock directly into the fridge to chill. When chilled you will have great, creamy non-separated raw milk yogurt! (Katie, I sent you photos last week, if you want to see what it looks like!)

  17. says

    I love making yogurt but it’s been awhile. We stopped eating dairy for a short period of time and now we use lactose-free milk. I have no use for buying regular milk because we can’t use it up before it goes bad, even if I make yogurt. But I wonder, does making yogurt extend the life of the milk? I’ve also been wondering if we can make yogurt with lactose-free milk?

    • Katie says

      Yes, yogurt definitely extends the life of the milk, being cultured. Lactose-free would be interesting b/c what would the bacteria eat? But if my coconut milk yogurt turned out okay, maybe it would too? Or maybe you’d add a tiny bit of a sweetener to give the bacteria something to eat?? Great questions!
      :) Katie

      • says

        Lactose-free milk has glucose and galactose for the sugars, which should still be fine for yogurt making. They just add lactase to break those two sugars apart (when together, they make lactose). And I’ve heard it works the same.

  18. WEFA (Jesilee) says

    I have my yogurt recipe from that I have been doing for about 6 months now. It took me a few times at the beginning to perfect it (was still good for smoothies though!) and now I love yogurt even more. I just made 5 pints yesterday. I use them for everything, though I have yet to be able to eat plain plain yogurt since I grew up with the sweet cups. I am working on it though!

  19. says

    I used to make yogurt all the time using a yogurt maker and then I had batch after batch not turn out and I never could figure out why. So I gave it all up until I found Caspian Sea Yogurt. It incubates at room temperature – no pots, no coolers or crockpots or ovens, you drop one tablespoon of last week’s yogurt per cup of milk in a jar, stir in the milk, and leave on the counter until it sets. That’s it. The taste is a little different but it’s good. You can buy a starter from Cultures for Health, although I found mine on ebay.

  20. Judy H. says

    Katie, I’ve been making yogurt by your method for some time now and once I settled on choices of milk (whole) & starter (Stonyfield), it’s worked wonderfully! In fact, I now use it plain with no sweetener, save the granola I mix with it and it’s absolutely delicious. And you’re right, it’s only a few minutes of hands on time now that I have the process memorized. Thanks so much for sharing your method and inspiring me to do this! I feel really good about not using plastic, and using local milk. Happy 2011!!

  21. says

    I just made my first successful batch of homemade yogurt this past weekend – so does that mean I’m ahead of the Monday Mission assignment? 😉
    Made mine in a crockpot. Let it sit for 8 hours, so I’m not sure what the health quality is compared to the full 24 hr variety.
    Still, it was successful, a baby step, and even my toddler likes it.

  22. says

    Making yogurt is the best! My husband had been making it using a heating pad until we stumbled upon a brand new yogurt maker at a garage sale. We were buying a few books and the woman hosting the garage sale threw in the yogurt maker because she knew it would be going to a good home. We were so lucky!

  23. suse says

    I’ve been making yogurt at home for about 3 months now, and love it. The first couple times took a lot longer than it does now that I have several batches under my belt, and I have the process down to fit into just about any schedule I have at home. My son and I are the only ones that eat it, so we only make 2 quarts at a time and it lasts us about 2 weeks or so.

  24. says

    Regarding the non dairy issue, I semi regularly make soy yoghurt as it’s nearly $10 a litre where I am for the plain/natural stuff and I simply refuse to pay such an insanely high price.

    It works really well and is better than store bought natural soy yoghurt that I’ve tried. Just use the dairy directions but substitute your regular drinking soy milk. The only difference is the keeping time. It goes off in about a week.

  25. says

    Okay, I’m trying it! I have always wanted to give making yogurt a try but have been too much of a chicken. Today when I was picking up shrimp for dinner I picked up 1/2 gallon of whole milk and some plain yogurt and the milk is in the crockpot now – I’ll report back when it’s finished – I figure worst case scenario I can add it to smoothies!

      • says

        That usually suggests a temperature issue. In other words, it sounds like the temperature either dropped too low or rose too high for at least part of the incubation period.

        I, personally, never had any success with doing it in the crockpot (I think they all heat differently.) or, for that matter, anything without a specific temperature control.

      • Katie says

        It does kind of sound like it must have gotten far too hot or too cool and is just milk with a bit of yogurt starter in it. If it’s a recent failure, you might just try heating that same milk up again and starting over from step one. Make sure the milk doesn’t feel *hot* or hurt at all on your wrist when you stir in the yogurt. Good luck! :) Katie

  26. Joyce says

    I wanted to share some info that I feel is important in making a decision about whether or not you “cook” your raw yogurt, destroying its enzymes, or make “real” raw yogurt that preserves its enzymes.

    Sallon Fallon recommends the book “Enzyme Nutrition” by Dr. Edward Howell. It’a a very enlightening book.

    He states: “In the animal kingdom (which eats all foods raw) enzyme reinforcements are coming in continuosly through the food. But in man, the trillion cells in the whole body are called upon to supply the entire enzyme requirements, since our enzyme intake is practically nil. This is because almost no uncooked food that is high in CALORIES is used. Foods low in calories, such as raw salad, vegetables, and juicy fruits, are also low in enzyme content. ”
    “Some foods which are endowed with both calories and enzymes are palatable in the raw state an some are not. Examples of the former are banans, avocados, grapes, mangoes, olives from the tree, fresh raw dates, fresh raw figs, raw honey, raw butter, and RAW MILK, germinated, inhibitor-free raw cereal grains and seeds and germinated, inhibitor-free tree nuts.”

    So, the higher the caloric content of the raw food (I also eat raw eggs) the “bigger bang for your buck,” enzymatically speaking. Raw milk is also a rare commodity for most of us, so I choose to respect its amazing nutritional properties. That’s just my 2 cents on the whole topic :)


  27. says

    I’ve posted this a few times now, without much response or change in the terms people are using.

    But, there is a difference between Ultra Pasteurized (UP) milk and Ultra-High-Temperature Pasteurized Milk (UHT). UHT milk is sold by companies like Parmalat, and even some organic milk companies are producing UHT milk. It is the shelf stable stuff in tetrapacks.

    While people in many countries enjoy UHT milk, the US market, and many northern European countries have not taken to it.

    Here is a link to a site that explains the difference between the two:

    UHT milk is usually used for emergency situations, or for areas where refrigeration is not possible. It is hermetically sealed. It can go without refrigeration for months.

    Ultra Pasteurized milk lasts longer than Pasteurized and Raw milk, but it will not last as long as UHT and it does require refrigeration.

    From Wikipedia ” It is the main reason for milk’s extended shelf life. High Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurised milk typically has a refrigerated shelf life of two to three weeks, whereas ultra pasteurised milk can last much longer, sometimes two to three months. When ultra heat treatment (UHT) is combined with sterile handling and container technology (such as aseptic packaging), it can even be stored unrefrigerated for 6–9 months, although superheated milk’s flavor is impaired, and it may lose some nutritional value.[citation needed][5]”

    UHT processing causes a pronounced cooked flavor and the color of the milk is also changed. It may have a slight brown tint to it.

    Here’s a source I found online: “Ultra Pasteurization (UP) is a process similar to HTST pasteurization, but using slightly different equipment, higher temperatures and longer times. UP pasteurization results in a product with longer shelf life but still requiring refrigeration. Another method, Ultra High Temperature (UHT) sterilization raises the temperature of milk to at least 280° F for two seconds, followed by rapid cooling. UHT-pasteurized milk that is packaged aseptically results in a “shelf stable” product that does not require refrigeration until opened.”

    There’s even a chart:

    Here’s another:

    “-Pasteurized: Milk is heated to ~66C / 150F and held for ~30 seconds before cooling. This is the most common and kills the least bacteria. Milk normally requires refrigeration to prolong it’s life.

    -Ultra-Pasteurized: Milk is heated to ~72C / 162F and held for ~15 seconds before cooling. Higher temperature and shorter time, the second most common, kills more bacteria than Pasteurized. Thus enables longer refrigerated shelf life and is common on products that are consumed or sold slower such as creams and organic milks.

    -Ultra Heat Treated or UHT: Milk is heated to ~82C / 180F and cooled immediately. Highest temperature and shortest time, the least common method, kills the most bacteria. Results in shelf life of years even without refrigeration. Commonly used where milk is not common or logistics of getting Pasteurized milk or other products is problematic.” From here:

    Now, I’m not saying that Ultra Pasteurized is better for you than Ultra High Temperature pasteurized milk, but I wanted to point out the fact that they are indeed different. People are applying the term UHT to U.P. milk, and that’s incorrect.

    • Katie says

      Thank you so much! I had never even heard of “UP” before this. I know the info says Americans haven’t taken to UHT/shelf stable milk, but many of our organic milks are kept under refrigeration for looks, but say “UHT” right on the package. They are in asceptic containers (like OJ boxes). I’m still kind of amazed that such a short time works to pasteurize milk, period. 30 seconds!? Wow. This is really good information, though – if I’m smart I’ll update my post on organic milk. You’re right, I’m not sure which one really denatures the milk more than others…

      :) Katie

      • says

        All of the organic milk I’ve ever seen in the supermarket is ultra-pasteurized (UP).

        The only UHT milk I’ve seen is the shelf-stable stuff in the aseptic containers. It’s not in half-gallon cartons; more like quart-sized boxes. (Look kinda like oversized juiceboxes.)

    • Joyce says

      Wow Amanda, that’s really great info. But, I do have one question, I always assumed that the unrefrigerated milk in the boxes was irradiated. But, I guess from what you’ve said, that is not the case. Can you please clarify that for me as I’d love to send it out with my Boy Scout Troop if isn’t irradiated. Thanks, Joyce

  28. says

    “The most common method of pasteurization in the United States today is High
    Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurization, which uses metal plates and hot
    water to raise milk temperatures to at least 161° F for not less than 15 seconds,
    followed by rapid cooling. Higher Heat Shorter Time (HHST) is a process similar to
    HTST pasteurization, but it uses slightly different equipment and higher
    temperatures for a shorter time. For a product to be considered Ultra Pasteurized
    (UP), it must be heated to not less than 280° for two seconds. UP pasteurization
    results in a product with longer shelf life but still requiring refrigeration.
    Another method, aseptic processing, which is also known as Ultra High Temperature
    (UHT), involves heating the milk using commercially sterile equipment and filling it
    under aseptic conditions into hermetically sealed packaging. The product is termed
    “shelf stable” and does not need refrigeration until opened.”

  29. says

    Every week for almost a year I’ve been making yogurt (and just about everything else) in my slow cooker… I will never go back to store bought yogurt, with all that sugar and ‘fruit’.

    I love that you’re spreading the word and encouraging everyone to try… my friends and co-workers think I’m crazy and make excuses about not having enough time etc.

    • Katie says

      Hmmm, never tried chocolate milk before! I always add my sweetener after culturing, but some people do add honey before, so maybe? Can’t hurt to try one jar, right? :) katie

      • James Tracy says

        I did indeed try making chocolate yogurt. I used a 1/2 gallon “Horizon Organic” chocolate milk (less 1 pint) and added 1 pint half&half. I am slim build and fat means absolutely nothing to me, muhahahha. After the yogurt cultured I strained 2/3 of the whey out for a denser product. After it cooled in the refrigerator, I sweetened with honey to taste.The yogurt came out fantastic! I also made a black cherry fruit to top it with. I put 1 bag of frozen cherries in a pot and added a small amount of honey and 1 Tbl of red wine.I then let the cherries sweat out their juice on very low heat until it comes to a syrup like consistency.WOW, take about divine delight! The yogurt did not last 2 days. I would like to know what suggestions you have for using the left over whey?

  30. Wynn Przybycien says

    I was wondering if you thought it would turn out the same if you used Lactaid milk. My daughter is lactose intolerant and that is what she drinks. She loves yogurt but can’t seem to tolerate it anymore. Thanks

    • Wynn Przybycien says

      so after doing some more snooping on your page and links I found the answer. Thanks for the post it has given me the courage to make my own yogurt.

      • Katie says

        I’m glad you found the answer! Sometimes incubating the yogurt for a full 24 hours enables people who cannot tolerate lactose to be able to eat yogurt, because after that amount of time, nearly 100% of the lactose is pre-digested by the yogurt bacteria. Might be worth a try so you can use normal (less expensive) milk.

        Good luck on the yogurt!
        :) Katie

        PS – I have to comment on your last name – the first 6 letters are the same as my maiden name!! Ha! Not a combination you see every day, to be sure. I bet no one can pronounce it correctly, right? 😉

        • Wynn Przybycien says

          Thanks, we already use almond milk so I am going to try a variation with that and yea very few get our last name right, it kinda sounds like (pry-bu-sin) but if you pronounce it in polish forget it, it’s crazy. My family thought he should have taken my name instead- Keeney much easier. Thanks

  31. erin says

    Just wondering if anyone has tried the dairy free homemade yogurt yet and let you know how it turned out. None of my kiddos can have dairy, but they all LOVE yogurt! Getting coconut yogurt here is a special treat for them.

    • Katie says

      I tried one jar of coconut milk yogurt, and it was really, really runny and I didn’t like it. But I’ve never had storebought coconut milk yogurt to compare. I used the box of coconut milk and think I need to try it with a can, as that stuff starts out so much thicker! I would recommend giving it a go – use the thick coconut milk, and maybe throw in a spoonful of sugar so that the yogurt bacteria have something to eat in case the coconut milk doesn’t have as much sugar (the lactose in milk is what makes the culture work). Also, if you incubate dairy yogurt 24 hours, supposedly all the lactose is gone, in case your kids just have a lactose intolerance. Green Valley Organics sells lactose-free yogurt, and it’s really yummy! 😉 Katie

      • Christina says

        I have tried to make coconut milk yogurt on two occasions. I eat it semi-regularly from the store. It is very good and from the store the consistency isn’t that far from regular yogurt. It is REALLY expensive and can’t be bought in the large tubs, so I would love a good way to make it. I found a recipe online at The only problem is that her recipe also calls for a little experimentation to get the consistency right. You have to add a thickening agent to the coconut milk yogurt (it’s even in the store bought kind). I used pectin because it was easy (or so I thought). My first batch was as thick as tofu. I added more coconut milk and shook it hard to get something a little less jello-like. I could eat it a few times before it grossed me out. The taste was fine (I added vanilla, honey… I don’t know what else to sweeten it a bit, probably some fruit). The second round was super runny! I couldn’t stomach it and threw it all out after two days. The first time I used almost a half gallon of coconut milk and 2 tbsp of pectin. The second time I only used 1/2tbsp of pectin. Both times I cultured in jars in my crockpot. Anyway… I should really try again, but I’m not thrilled with using pectin. Do you know of anything else that is a natural thickening agent that could be added?

        • Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship says

          Oh – and when I have unpalatable yogurt, I always make smoothies or bake with it, like baked oatmeal or pancakes. Better than tossing it, I figure… :) Katie

  32. Sarah Mulholland says

    I have tried making yogurt so many times only to have it too tangy for our tastes. Tried again yesterday. Success! I followed your recipe with the exception of putting it in my dehydrator to keep it at 100 degrees. It fluctuated between 100 and 106. I just took out most of te racks, put my jars in and dropped a kitchen towel over the opening and turned it on for four hours. Put my yogurt in the freezer for one hour and made smoothies this morning with blueberries. I never thought I would see the day we ate plain yogurt with no sweetener but fruit. That is a huge jump from yoplait!

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