Here is my go-to recipe for making thick, creamy Greek-style yoghurt, without any of the additives (guar gum, pectin, gelatin, sugar, sweeteners, etc.) that are used to thicken and sweeten store-bought yoghurts. You don’t even need a yoghurt maker to make yoghurt at home! I’ll show you how…
I first started making homemade yoghurt about eight or nine years ago. My twin sister had just been diagnosed with a dairy intolerance, her gut was really inflamed (she had leaky gut at the time) and her skin was covered in acne.
I was reading up about the importance of beneficial bacteria in the gut and ways to boost this with probiotic foods. I’d made sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, and now I wanted to try making yoghurt.
We didn’t have a yoghurt maker in our home, so I looked into other ways you could make yoghurt and discovered the crockpot!
The first batch of yoghurt I ever made was with unhomogenised, pasteurised full-cream milk (I remember because when I opened the carton of milk, there was all this delicious cream sitting on top). I also used some yoghurt culture starter I’d bought from my local health food store.
I let the yoghurt curate over 48 hours, and it was a complete success!
I’d made the yoghurt for my twin sister to put on her skin, and thought she might be able to have some as it was free of any of the additives store-bought yoghurts come with. Plus the milk was as natural as I could find at the time (I thought unhomogenised milk might make a difference). I’d read that the best type of dairy to have was the raw kind – organic, unhomogenised, unpasteurised, natural – but I could only find unhomogenised, so it had to do.
My sister could tolerate some of the dairy yoghurt I made her, but if she had too much her gut would flare up.
This was eight years ago.
Since then I’ve learnt that if you’re intolerant to dairy it’s best to stay away from it completely, even if it is raw and as natural as can be, as it’s the body’s ability to digest the dairy proteins and sugars that’s the real problem, not necessarily the dairy itself. You need to have certain enzymes, and as we grow older, we produce less and less of these enzymes needed to break down and process dairy. Some of us are better able to digest diary than others, and eating raw dairy can actually prove beneficial in certain regards, but if you’re someone who has an allergy or intolerance to dairy, it’s best to avoid it completely, even in probiotic-rich forms. You can make a dairy-free yoghurt instead full of the beneficial probiotic bacteria, or consume other probiotic-rich foods.
Ironically, since then, I’ve been diagnosed with a dairy intolerance myself. It runs in our family as we’re all intolerant to dairy and gluten.
Nevertheless, I thought I’d share my favourite recipe for making thick, creamy, rich Greek-style yoghurt at home for those of you who are able to stomach dairy, and I’ll share the best places I’ve found for sourcing organic raw dairy to receive the full benefits.
Note: Eating raw, unpasteurised dairy can have its risk due to the presence of harmful bacteria and other germs. Consume with caution and source from trusted suppliers. Always seek professional medical advice before trying or testing any new products or food items. As always, this is not personal medical advice and I recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products or foods. I am not a doctor or medical health professional. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products and foods mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, foods, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Sourcing the Ingredients
The best starters are pre-made cultures. You can find a number of different options at Cultures For Health or health food stores around your area. Alternatively, you can also just use store-bought yoghurt as the starter culture (which is what I did for this batch). It’s a great way of testing how probiotic (or not) a certain brand of yoghurt is.
There are a few things to look for when using store-bought yoghurt:
- Only use plain, unsweetened yoghurt.
- Smaller, local yoghurt brands usually contain a better probiotic level than national brands.
- I’ve had great success with plain Meredith Dairy: Natural Goat Milk Yoghurt and Jalna: Biodynamic Organic Whole Milk Yoghurt (neither of these are affiliate links).
I try to opt for goats or sheep’s milk yoghurt and milk where possible as the protein, casein, found in these types of milk is much more easily digestible than that found in cow’s milk.
Problems That Might Occur
If you don’t have thick yoghurt after 24-48 hours then it’s likely due to one of the following common problems:
- The starter didn’t have enough live bacteria in it.
- If an heirloom culture was used it might be one that doesn’t naturally thicken (so all the probiotic goodness is there, it’s just the yoghurt won’t develop a lovely thick, creamy consistency)
- You may have added the starter before the milk had cooled to 40°C (110°F) and possibly killed the bacteria.
- It wasn’t warm enough during the culturing period (while it was fermenting the temperature dropped too much and the culture couldn’t ferment properly).
How to Make Thick, Creamy Greek-Style Yoghurt
A simple guide to making healthy homemade Greek yoghurt with just two simple ingredients!
Makes 750mL jar of yoghurt
- 2L raw organic full-cream milk (I used Heavenly Bath Milk Organic Biodynamic Jersey Bath Milk which I sourced from Flannerys)
- 2 cups yoghurt with live culture (I used Meredith Dairy: Natural Goat Milk Yoghurt which I sourced from Flannerys)
- Sterilise the glass jars you’ll be using first. To sterilise, rinse the jars thoroughly with boiling water and let dry completely. Make sure to let the jars cool back down to room temperature before adding the ingredients.
- Add the milk to a large saucepan and slowly heat on the stove-top on medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 80°C (180°F). Whisk occasionally to keep the milk from burning on the bottom of the pan. (Heating the milk denatures the proteins making a thicker, creamier yoghurt. You’re welcome to skip this step, but your yoghurt may not be as thick).
- Pour the hot milk into the glass jars and allow it to cool to 40°C (105°F). To test if it’s cool enough, pour a few drops of the milk on the underside of your wrist and if it’s just warm, it’s ready. If it’s too hot allow it to cool a little longer. If it’s too cold, reheat back up until just warm.
- Once the milk has cooled, stir in the culture.
- Cap the jars and maintain the yoghurt at around 40°C (110°F) for 24-48 hours, or until the yoghurt has thickened to a pudding-like consistency (for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours for really sour yoghurt). To keep the yoghurt warm, wrap one or two tea towels around each glass jar to keep in heat, and place them in the oven. Turn on the oven light to keep warm, and let the bacteria work their magic over the next few hours.
- Once fermented, you can eat the yoghurt as is, or strain out the whey to make Greek yoghurt. To strain, line a mesh sieve with some cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and pour in your yoghurt. Place over a large bowl and let it strain in the fridge for 4-6 hours (or overnight), until it’s reach your desired consistency. Keep the whey in a glass jar and store in the fridge for up to one week. Consume as a probiotic-rich beverage.
- You can flavour your homemade yoghurt with fresh fruit, jam, vanilla extract, cinnamon, raw honey and more! Just ensure you don’t add the flavours before culturing as it may interfere with the fermentation of the yoghurt.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you made homemade yoghurt before? How did it go?! Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,