Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by Share My Kitchen
There is a reason why people prefer homemade sack yogurt or greek yogurt. However, there are still a few hurdles when considering making your own yogurt: 1) You are not raising goats or dairy cows. 2) You will need raw milk to make yogurt.
And, truthfully, it would cost much more than buying yogurt at the grocery store.
However, you don’t even need a dairy animal or raw milk source to make homemade sack yogurt! It’s possible to make homemade yogurt with whole, local, non-homogenized dairy milk, and you still get it cheaper than buying yogurt of the same quality and quantity at the grocery store.
It is more expensive than using regular store-bought milk (approximately $3.50/liter of whole milk vs. approximately $2/liter for regular store-bought milk). However, it is entirely possible that you have changed the way you think about food, and you are willing to pay a bit more for a better product (i.e. whole, non-homogenized milk obtained from a local dairy where the cows are grass fed and raised out on pasture).
It all depends on your goals for making yogurt at home. It is better to opt for regular milk from the store if your ultimate goal is to save money.
Benefits of Making Homemade Sack Yogurt
If you choose to buy regular store-bought dairy milk, it is recommended that you use the highest fat milk possible (or, homogenized). Although there are yogurt recipes that use cream, most of them contain some form of low-fat milk as well, probably because the cream is too thick on its own.
Whole milk is the ideal option, and avoid ultra-pasteurized or ultra-heat treated milk (aka. “UHT”). While it’s possible to make yogurt with UHT milk, it is not always guaranteed to produce good or consistent results.
Making your own yogurt has another benefit: you can choose what goes into it. Although you might do your best to read labels and avoid fillers, sugars, and additives at the grocery stores, sometimes a few get through.
As you gain more knowledge about food and understand the connection between food and our health, you will find yourself making more homemade food to avoid harmful additives and to use the best quality ingredients available.
Probiotics from Homemade Sack Yogurt
You also get a lot of probiotics from homemade sack yogurt that will help support your microbiome and gut health, which are pillars of good overall health.
It is fine to purchase a good quality yogurt from the store with live bacteria cultures. However, it is more expensive and you need to read labels carefully to make sure you are getting healthy yogurt and not something that only looks healthy.
Again, your unique goals and priorities will determine the choices that you make. Let’s get back to yogurt-making.
It’s actually easy to make yogurt at home with good quality whole milk. Here’s how you can make homemade sack yogurt at home.
How to Make Homemade Sack Yogurt From Scratch
First, heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it reaches 180°F (a kitchen thermometer will be helpful for this step). It takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to reach the desired temperature. It is also important to stir it every few minutes to evenly distribute heat, and prevent thick skin from forming on top. You can stir in any skin that forms during heating back into the milk.
Turn the heat off when the milk reaches 180°F. Either you remove the pan from the heat immediately, or leave it on the burner to cool down until the temperature drops to 110°F.
Mix in your culture once the milk reaches 110°F.
In order to start your first batch of homemade sack yogurt, you will need starter culture (i.e. yogurt with active bacteria cultures). You can buy a yogurt starter culture, or get plain yogurt from the grocery store. However, make sure that there are no added ingredients, like sugar, fruit, etc. And, it needs to contain live bacterial cultures.
Add your starter culture to a clean, sterilized mason jar. One tablespoon of starter is enough for each cup of milk. Or, add 1/4 cup of starter yogurt to 4 cups of milk.
Next, add the milk. Before you pour the milk into a mason jar, skim any skin that has developed on top.
Stir the ingredients in your jar, then put the lid on. You can either use the mason jar lids you have saved or use plastic lids.
Now, from this point, you will need to keep the sack yogurt incubating at 110°F to 115°F for 6 to 8 hours. This can be done in a number of ways. And, you can use your dehydrator.
Use a Dehydrator
An Excalibur dehydrator comes with a yogurt setting of 115°F. So, you simply place your mason jar on a rack at the bottom of the dehydrator, then turn on the yogurt setting. You can also use the yogurt function if you own an Instant pot. Although it’s okay to use your Instant Pot, you might prefer using your dehydrator since you won’t have to dirty another pot.
For those who don’t own an Instant Pot or dehydrator, you can leave your jar in the oven with the light on. Or, use a slow cooker to keep the yogurt warm. You only need to fill the slow cooker with warm water halfway, then place your yogurt jar(s) in. Set the slow cooker to low, and keep the lid off.
Your yogurt should thicken after 6 to 8 hours. There may be a thin layer of whey (thin, yellowish-is liquid) on top, and this can be left alone or stirred into the mixture.
If your sack yogurt remains runny after 6 to 8 hours, heat it up a bit more. You can let it incubate for as long as 10 to 12 hours, or longer. It will thicken more if it is left at 110°F for longer, but it will also become tangier. So, this all really depends on your taste.
In order to make thicker Greek-style yogurt, strain the yogurt through a fine wire strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Do this until all the excess whey has drained out, and the yogurt has reached the desired consistency.
When you are satisfied with the consistency, you can leave it to cool in the refrigerator. But, actually, before you eat your yogurt, reserve some yogurt for when you make your next batch!
You may keep and reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your homemade sack yogurt, so you can start your next batch without needing to buy some from the store. If you don’t plan to use it next week, however, you can just put it in the freezer. Then, when you’re ready to use it, bring it out of the freezer and let it defrost before using it to make another batch.
Enjoy the homemade sack yogurt plain! It’s packed with tons of probiotics, so it’s an excellent health food on its own. Or, you can add it to smoothies, served with some fresh or frozen fruits. You can also mix some honey, maple syrup, or homemade jam to make it sweet. It is also an option to top it with almonds, hemp hearts, granola, and other goodies. You get the idea. Enjoy it as you would any other yogurt!
You may keep your yogurt in the refrigerator for at least one to two weeks. If you store it longer than that, you will see mold growth on top. At that point, you need to throw the yogurt away and make a new batch. But, you can freeze your yogurt, then defrost it and mix it well for later consumption.
Don’t forget to reserve at least 1/4 cup of your current yogurt to start your next batch!
If your yogurt doesn’t set after following the instructions exactly, or it is too thin for your preference, you might need to use a dairy with higher fat content. Or, you need to keep it warm while incubating. If your yogurt has been heated in an oven with the light on, turn on the oven to its lowest setting, and leave the jar in with the light on and the door closed.
The temperature shouldn’t be an issue if you use an Instant Pot, dehydrator, or slow cooker.
Other than that, you will rarely face any problems when making homemade sack yogurt. So, it’s really an easy skill to learn and add to your homestead kitchen repertoire.
Homemade Sack Yogurt Recipe
It does not matter if you buy your milk from the grocery store, or you are raising your own dairy cow (or goats, sheep, etc.) You can learn to make your own yogurt, and it is worth the effort and time it takes!
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup starter culture (or plain store-bought yogurt)
- First, heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it reaches 180°F. It is also important to stir it every few minutes to evenly distribute heat, and prevent thick skin from forming on top.
- Turn the heat off when the milk reaches 180°F. Either you remove the pan from the heat immediately, or leave it on the burner to cool down until the temperature drops to 110°F.
- Mix in your culture once the milk reaches 110°F. You can buy a yogurt starter culture, or get plain yogurt with live bacterial cultures (without additives) from the grocery store.
- Add your starter culture to a clean, sterilized mason jar. Next, add the milk. Before you pour the milk into a mason jar, skim any skin that has developed on top.
- Stir the ingredients in your jar, then put the lid on.
- You will need to keep the yogurt incubating at 110°F to 115°F for 6 to 8 hours using a dehydrator, or wrap the jar in a dish towel and leave it in the oven with the light on. Alternatively, you can use your slow cooker that’s set on low, or an Instant Pot on the yogurt setting.
- Your yogurt should thicken after 6 to 8 hours. There may be a thin layer of whey (thin, yellowish-is liquid) on top, and this can be left alone or stirred into the mixture. For thicker Greek-style yogurt, strain the yogurt through a fine wire strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Do this until all the excess whey has drained out, and the yogurt has reached the desired consistency.
- If your yogurt remains runny after 6 to 8 hours, heat it up a bit more. You can let it incubate for as long as 10 to 12 hours, or longer. It will thicken more if it is left at 110°F for longer, but it will also become tangier.
- When you are satisfied with the consistency, you can leave it to cool in the refrigerator. But, actually, before you eat your yogurt, reserve ¼ to ½ cup of your yogurt for when you make your next batch. Store your reserve in the fridge or the freezer, then defrost it before making your new batch of yogurt.
- When the yogurt is chilled, you can now enjoy it! Put some granola on top, mix it with some honey or homemade jam, add it to smoothies, or just enjoy it however you desire.