With so many delicious yogurt options at the grocery store, why bother making your own? Two words: quality control. Homemade yogurt lets you achieve just the right consistency and flavorwithout fillers or thickeners. Adding your own fresh fruit or preserves allows you to manage sugar levels and create flavors you won’t find in the supermarket. Plus, freshly fermented yogurt is a rich source of probiotics, since the live cultures haven’t diminished due to long transport or storage periods. Refrigerated right away, yogurt will stay fresh for up to a week. And now that yogurt makers are less expensive and more reliable than ever, it’s easy to produce a perfect batch at home.
What You’ll Need
Freeze-dried live yogurt culture or store-bought plain organic yogurt (look for “live, active cultures” on the label)
Milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
How Yogurt Works
When live bacterial cultures (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus) are added to warm milk, they feed on the milk’s natural sugars. The milk then ferments, which creates acids that cause milk proteins to coagulate to make thick, creamy yogurt.
A yogurt maker is basically an incubatorit heats milk and bacterial cultures at the optimum temperature to make yogurt. Here are two we like.
Yolife Yogurt Maker
This versatile machine comes with seven 6-ounce glass jars, plus an extra-tall dome lid that lets you use larger jars to make a single big batch of yogurt.
Cuisipro Donvier Electronic Yogurt Maker
The Donvier’s eight 8-ounce jars fit snugly into the yogurt maker and are made of unbreakable, dishwasher-safe plastic, making it a good choice for butterfingered cooks or families with small children.
get the recipes
Perfect Plain Low-Fat Yogurt
An extra boost of skim milk powder is added to this all-purpose recipe to increase the proteins in the mixture for a thicker yogurt. Be sure to use instant skim milk powder, which completely dissolves in the milk.more
A lightly sweetened vanilla yogurt is prepared over fruit preserves for a stir-in option. For best results, choose preserves that aren’t too firm.more
Rich Chocolate Yogurt
It took more than a few tries to get this chocolaty-smooth dessert just right. The secret is shaking the yogurt jars or stirring with a spoon before popping them into the refrigerator; this prevents a darker chocolate layer from sinking to the bottom.more
Creamy Old-Fashioned Yogurt
Full-fat yogurts are gaining popularity with foodies in search of extra-creamy, dessert-worthy taste. Serve with fresh fruit, fruit preserves, or maple syrup.more