Before the Instant Pot® made yogurt-making for me even easier, here’s the method that worked best for me in my kitchen. No fancy gadgets or ingredients . . . other than the Kleynhuis Strainer Pouch of course. 🙂 Just you and milk making magic happen in your warm and cozy oven. Here’s a one-sheet summary of both my stove-top and Instant Pot Greek Yogurt-Making Methods.
Greek Yogurt Recipe: Traditional Stove-top + Oven Method
Before getting my Instant Pot, here are the steps I used to make Greek yogurt using my stove and oven.
- 1 gallon milk I prefer whole milk
- 4 tbsp yogurt with active cultures
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp organic sugar
- Slowly heat milk to 195°F. Heat 1 gallon of milk in a covered pot on medium heat until it reaches 195°F. Maintain temperature for 10 minutes. Depending on the type of stove and pot you are using, this will take approximately 30 minutes. Be careful: milk will boil over at 212°F.Note: You may be tempted to skip this step since you will most likely be using milk that is already pasteurized. But heating the milk denatures the whey protein, resulting in improved consistency.
- Sanitize containers and utensils. Meanwhile, place 3 wide-mouth quart-size Mason jars, wire whisk, ladle, and canning funnel in dishwasher. Perform a “quick wash” cycle to sanitize everything.
- Cool milk to 115°F. After milk has finished heating, take the pot off the stove and place in a sink filled with cold water and ice. Cool milk to 115°F. which will take about 15 minutes. Skim off any skin that forms on the top of the milk.
- Warm up oven. While milk is cooling, turn on oven to 350° for 3-5 minutes, then turn off the oven and turn on the oven light. The goal is to bring the oven temperature to a warm temperature between 105° – 115°F. This may take some trial and error, and note that yogurt cultures will die at temperatures above 130°F.
- Add yogurt culture. Spoon 4 Tbsp. of plain yogurt with live active cultures into a medium bowl. (1 Tbsp. of yogurt per quart of milk.) Pour 2–3 ladles of the lukewarm milk into the bowl with the yogurt, whisk gently, then pour the mixture into the milk and whisk gently until the yogurt is completely dissolved in the milk.
- Incubate at 105-115°F. for 8-10 hours. Place the lid on the pot and wrap in a large towel. Place in a warm oven (105–115°F.) with oven light on. Don’t disturb for 8–10 hours. The little yogurt bacteria will begin working their magic of turning milk into yogurt! It works great to start the batch in the morning and allow it to incubate all day, or make it at night and incubate over night.
Here are a couple other methods people use to incubate the milk:
1) place wrapped pot in a cooler with another pot of hot water;
2) wrap pot in a towel and place on a heating pad set to low.
- Save some for next time. You should now have made yogurt! Take out 4 Tbsp. of the freshly-made yogurt and store in a container to use as the starter for your next batch.
- Strain off the whey. Cover a large colander with a Kleynhuis Strainer Pouch and place the colander in a larger bowl. Carefully spoon yogurt into the lined colander. Strain for 2 hours to create thick yogurt. Strain over-night to make very thick Greek yogurt. Experiment with straining times to find your perfect thickness!
- Saving/Mixing. If you would like to save the whey, pour the whey from the bottom collection bowl into another container and store in the fridge. Then spoon the strained yogurt from the colander into a mixing bowl. If you like sweetened yogurt, add 2–4 Tbsp. of your favorite sweetener (organic sugar, honey, etc.) and 2–4 Tbsp. of vanilla extract. Whisk in mixer for 5 minutes until smooth.
- Ladle yogurt into mason jars. Carefully ladle or pour yogurt into Mason jars using a canning funnel to prevent spilling over the side of the jars. Depending on how long your yogurt was strained, you should fill 2–3 quart-sized Mason jars. The yogurt will thicken as it chills in the fridge. Enjoy!