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How To Make Homemade Yogurt

Use your intuition to make this beautiful, simple recipe

I believe homemade yogurt is one of the most beautiful, simple recipes you'll ever learn how to make. The process of making homemade yogurt is slightly intuitive; you'll get a feeling for how it all comes together the more you make it. Tap into your maternal instincts and watch this baby come to life.

Homemade Yogurt With Cheesecloth And Lid

Sweet vs. Tangy

What I've discovered, is that the first batch of homemade yogurt results in a dessert-like sweetness. This is because there's a "newness" to the cultures that require a little mothering before they mature. You'll likely detect that creamy, buttery consistency of unpasteurized raw milk. In this case, I like to eat it right out of the jar, or use it in a face mask recipe.

The second and third batches deliver that tanginess you want to achieve when making homemade yogurt. Personally, I prefer yogurt this way because it's neutral enough to be an ingredient in, or a side to, savory meals. And, it can be sweetened any time with local organic raw honey or pure maple syrup, jam, or lemon curd.

The Goddess of Cultures

I loved learning about the history of butter in the book, Bread & Butter. Its history is rich with folklore, cultural traditions, and was even considered a rare commodity, making butter a privileged luxury. Basically, butter was an accident that only certain regions were able to make.

Thanks to the waddling nature of donkey bottoms, butter exists to satiate our palates, contributing to our enthusiasm for life! Raw milk was transported inside leather sacks to nearby villages for a variety of dairy productions. Unbeknownst to the farmer, the sloshing motion churned that milk into a thick, spreadable cream.

Probably, after days of traveling, the farmer was disappointed to find that his precious milk agitated itself into a weird, fatty clump; until he spread that clump onto a piece of fresh bread! (Cue the salt.)

I believe that yogurt is a refined production of another ancient milk accident. Consequentially, humanity was gifted with the perfect probiotic for skin and gut health, crowning woman the Goddess of Cultures. Get a taste of that.

So, babe, I'll let you in on a few secrets that will get you intuiting how to make homemade yogurt in just 24 hours. If you think this couldn't be more simple, you can prepare Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup in 25 minutes!

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt · NOURISHES again & again


for the yogurt
non-homogenized whole milk (I use Straus Creamery or Alexandre, cream tops)
leftover yogurt


1. Heat milk* over medium heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Do not stir.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low (or low) and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure the milk doesn't boil over.**

3. Remove the hot milk from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

4. When the milk is still hot (but cool enough to hold the tip of your pinky finger for 6 to 7 seconds below the surface), pour it into jars, leaving an inch of space from the top.

5. Using a wooden spoon (not metal!), stir 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of leftover yogurt (the thick last bits at the bottom of the container) into each jar until fully combined.

6. Cover each jar with cheesecloth and tighten with a rubber band or mason jar lid without the seal. Do not use an airtight lid as the milk must breathe in order to cool into yogurt.

7. Place yogurt jars into a small casserole dish, covering with a small blanket or dish towels to insulate, and set in a cold oven with the pilot light on*** for 8-10 hours, or overnight.

8. Remove the coverings and check that you have indeed produced yogurt. The consistency should be thick and not sloshing around. Be careful to not disrupt the yogurt before refrigerating.

9. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. A general rule is that if you want yogurt to be ready by morning, prepare the morning before. If you want yogurt to be ready for dinner, prepare after dinner the night before. Give your yogurt 24 hours to set.


Do not stir your yogurt in the jar. Scoop into small ramekins for serving, spooning some of the yogurt liquid into each dish. Alternatively, eat right out of the jar! Use in recipes that you would normally use yogurt. Stir yogurt once it's in a serving dish so that the original product remains as natural as possible.

Recipe Notes:

*You cannot make yogurt with homogenized or ultra-pasteurized milk. The heating process for pasteurization removes any naturally occurring bacteria in the milk, rendering it useless for binding into a healthy solid product. Look for "vat pasteurized" non-homogenized cream top whole milk.

**The milk may create a dome-like bubble while it simmers in the pot. This, and the natural milk film that occurs, is normal and an indication that you're making magic yogurt. Just be sure the bubble doesn't pass the brim of the pot to avoid an unwanted mess.

***The yogurt must rest in a warm, undisturbed place. My mother-in-law places a tray of recycled glass jars, wrapped in blankets, either on top of a cabinet in her kitchen in the summer, or in another room that is sure to be kept warm during winter.

Lastly: Save the last tablespoon or so for your next batch of yogurt! The cultures and probiotics cultivated in homemade yogurt is like the "glue" and the most important bacteria for future yogurt production. Enjoy intuiting how to make homemade yogurt // may it nourish you again & again.

How To Make Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Anne’s Turkish Yogurt Soup

My mother-in-law, Anne, is a pure example of Turkish hospitality and her yogurt soup recipe is proof.

Every day she relentlessly prepares homemade meals for her family. It's a rare occasion when she doesn't cook. That's never stopped her, though, from stewing over leftovers and piecing together random ingredients for a whole new nourishing meal.

I lived with my husband and his parents for nearly two years in Turkey, where we were spoiled with his mother's cooking.

We reminisce about the days when we hovered over thousand-piece puzzles and were suddenly overwhelmed by plates of fruits and nuts, hot tea, and cheeses after dinner. In the winter, we looked forward to homemade mantι (a Turkish ravioli), musakka, and many simple, yet delicious soups.

Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup

One of the first soups I learned from Anne (pronounced "ah-neh", meaning mother), was yogurt soup.

The main ingredient for Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup is yogurt. And, as one of the staple foods in Turkey, women make homemade yogurt every week or so as toppings for pastas or dipping sauces for köfte, to blend into ayran, or to enjoy as a side dish to any meal.

Yogurt to Turkey is like ketchup to America. This explains why my husband loves ranch dressing so much.

Well, for this recipe, Anne will actually buy a strained yogurt from the market. Homemade yogurt is quite light and airy, and so when shopping for this recipe, look for "Greek style" or "strained" yogurt. You want to make sure it's thick and dense.

This recipe is one you'll want to memorize and have on hand throughout the winter months. We're even know to make a pot of yogurt soup during the summer, it's that good!

Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup · NOURISHES 4 to 6


for the soup
5 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons jasmine rice
500 grams strained yogurt (I like Siggi's 4% or Fage 5%)
1 pasture-raised egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
salt (I use finely ground grey Celtic Sea Salt)

for the topping
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
ground cumin (optional)

for the garnish
dried spearmint leaves

freshly cracked black pepper


1. Add 4 cups of the water & white rice to a medium-sized sauce pan. Turn the fire on high, uncovered, and set a timer for 15 minutes. Whisk occasionally to keep the rice from sticking.

2. In a tall vessel, combine the yogurt, remaining 1 cup of water*, the egg and the flour using an immersion blender or whisk. The consistency should be completely smooth and "thick like boza" (which is a traditional fermented Turkish beverage served in the winter). If you've never had boza, strive for the consistency of eggnog!

3. Add a couple pinches of salt to the rice water and stir.

4. When the timer goes off, slowly stream the yogurt mixture into the boiling rice water, whisking constantly until all of the yogurt mixture has been added. Continue whisking until the soup returns to a boil (lift the whisk out of the pot every minute or so to catch sight of the bubbles).

5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan (or butter warmer) over medium low heat. Add the tomato paste and roast gently until the mixture darkens slightly and the aroma of the paste evolves from bland to OH MAN! Add a bit of salt, a pinch of cumin (if using) and roast for about 30 seconds. Stream in a tablespoon of water at a time and mix until the sauce thickens, but a layer of oil remains around the edges.

7. When the soup is ready, taste and add salt if needed. Add hot water to the soup to loosen it up to your preferred consistency (but not too thin!)**.


Ladle Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup into bowls, top with a swirl of the sauce (be sure to get some of that floating oil on the spoon as it adds a beautiful presentation), and garnish with the mint and black pepper. Serve immediately & sip sun.

Recipe Notes:

* To help the yogurt mixture acclimate more quickly to the boiling rice water, add hot water from the kettle.
** The soup will thicken as it cools. It's common to thin each bowl of soup rather than thinning the whole pot of it. This is usually the case when scooping leftovers from the fridge as well. Just remember, you want to drink the soup, not eat it.

Anne's Turkish Yogurt Soup Recipe