Personal Hacking for Health and Productivity

Gadget Free Homemade Yoghurt

I’ve been hankering after a yoghurt machine for yonks but having stumbled across a blog post showing just how easy it is to make yoghurt at home, I’ve set too and filled my fridge with gallons of the stuff, and I haven’t needed to purchase a single gadget for the job.

All I used was a pan, some mason jars and a tea towel (for extra cosiness). 

…fermentation of milk results in numerous beneficial changes. Fermentation breaks down casein, or milk protein, one of the most difficult proteins to digest. Culturing restores many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurisation including lactase, which helps digest lactose or milk sugar, and numerous enzymes, which help the body absorb calcium and other minerals.

…In addition, cultured dairy products provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid to the digestive tract

Nourishing Traditions

If this is your first time you will need to source high quality milk and a live yoghurt to act as a starter culture. Once you’ve got going you can save half a cup of your own yoghurt as the starter culture – you still need the milk though.

Milk from Jersey CowsI experimented with my first batch, comparing two of the premium milk bottles from Sainsbury’s – Graham’s Gold Smooth and Taste the Difference. They were both delicious and creamy but I was disappointed that neither were organic and I’ve been unable to find out much detail on how the animals are reared. The Sainsburys Taste the Difference milk is at least unhomogenised. Ideally I would be using raw milk for the job but I haven’t yet managed to find a source for it. 

As an aside, Handyface who writes a blog on home cheesemaking ran an interesting experiment using different milks, here’s his intro and then the results post.

I also switched starter cultures so one was made with Fage Total Greek yoghurt and the other with Yeo Valley natural yoghurt. Whatever you choose just make sure it is live and includes some form of bacterium on the ingredients list.

Although I’m a massive fan of Total Greek yoghurt, I actually preferred my yoghurt when it was inoculated with Yeo Valley. Both had a good set and could almost be called a greek style but the Yeo Valley yoghurt had a stronger, sourer flavour, while the batch made with Total was all about the texture and was quite bland. I found that the flavour was enhanced by keeping the fermentation going for a few more hours before refrigerating the homemade yoghurt.


Homemade Yoghurt
Yields 1
Simple and delicious natural yoghurt. Made at home without gadgetry.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
8 hr
  1. 750-800 ml of quality full fat milk
  2. 1/2 cup of live yoghurt for a starter culture
  1. Put the milk into a pan and bring to 80'C. If you don't have a thermometer bring it to the point where lots of little bubbles form on the surface of the milk but turn it off before the big bubbles form and the milk spews over the hob.
  2. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slowly to 45'C which is warm to the touch.
  3. Add the half cup of starter culture, which can be a sample from your last batch of yoghurt or shop bought live yoghurt if this is your first time.
  4. Whisk gently to mix in the starter culture and then pour into your mason jar. Wrap in a small towel and then transfer somewhere warm such as the airing cupboard.
  5. Leave overnight and enjoy a nutritious yoghurt for breakfast the next morning.
  1. Probably because I'm using very creamy milk, my yoghurt is coming out with an impressive set. If yours is too runny you can strain through cheese cloth or muslin to create a Greek style texture.
  2. Its worth saving the liquid that you strain, the whey, as its really useful for initiating other lacto-ferments such as sauerkraut.
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