We developed this yogurt recipe to make thick “custard-style” yogurt without the need for additives like gelatin or powdered dry milk.
It uses two key techniques for creating thicker, creamier yogurt: hold the milk at 195F / 90C for ten minutes, and culture with our High-Low method. This method starts with a hot temperature to speed culturing and provide the most food-safe conditions, then switches to a low temperature to achieve a smooth, firm set.
|Milk (volume)||4 cups / 1 liter||half gallon / 2 L||1 gallon / 4 L||2 gallons / 8 L|
|Milk (weight)||34 oz / 976 g||69 oz / 1.95 kg||8.6 lbs / 3.9 kg||17.2 lbs / 7.8 kg|
|Yogurt* (volume)||2 Tbs / 30 ml||¼ cup / 59 ml||½ cup / 118 ml||1 cup / 237 ml|
|Yogurt* (weight)||1.1 oz / 31 g||2.2 oz / 61 g||4.3 oz / 122 g||8.6 oz / 245 g|
*Either store-bought plain yogurt with live cultures or homemade yogurt reserved from a previous batch. Learn more about how to maintain a yogurt culture.
Equipment: Brød & Taylor Proofer, thermometer, glass mason jars or other heat-proof containers with a capacity of one quart / one liter or less. (To make yogurt in one large container instead of a group of mason jars, see our Greek yogurt recipe.) Everything that will touch the milk should be thoroughly clean and dry.
Note: When using the Folding Proofer to make yogurt, be certain there is no water in the water tray. The water tray is not needed for making yogurt. You can remove it from the Proofer, if you like, or leave it empty. But do not add water because it will affect temperature settings.
Step One: Heat Milk to 195F / 90C and Hold for 10 Minutes. Using either a microwave or the stovetop, heat milk to 195F / 90C. If using the stovetop, stir frequently to prevent scorching. Hold the temperature of the milk above 195F / 90C for ten minutes. Depending on batch size, it may be necessary to use low heat (stovetop) or a short burst in the microwave to keep the milk hot. Tip: Whisking the milk to cover the surface with bubbles will prevent the milk from forming a skin during heating and cooling.
Step Two: Cool Milk to 115F / 46C. Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool to at least 115F / 46C. For faster cooling, place the container of milk in a pan or sink of cold tap water. While the milk is cooling, set up the Proofer with the wire rack in place and the temperature at 120F / 49C.
Step Three: Add Yogurt to the Milk. Put the yogurt with live cultures into a small bowl. Gradually stir in enough of the warm milk to liquefy the mixture and mix until smooth. Then pour the liquefied culture back into the large container of milk and stir gently to distribute. Pour the milk into jars and place in the Proofer. Tip: For proper heat circulation and the most accurate culturing temperature, arrange the jars so that they are not directly over the center of the Proofer. Be certain there is no water in the water tray. The water tray is not needed for making yogurt. You can remove it from the Proofer, if you like or leave it in place but do not add water because it will affect temperature settings.
Step Four: Culture at 120F / 49C for an Hour, then Lower the Heat to 86F / 30C. Set a kitchen timer for one hour, then after that hour turn the Proofer down to 86F / 30C. It’s important not to let the yogurt remain at 120F / 49C for more than an hour in order to avoid the whey separation and lumpy texture that come from culturing too hot.
Step Five: Check the Yogurt after Two Hours. Check the yogurt by gently tilting a jar to the side to see if the milk has set. If you have used a higher protein milk or a fast-acting culture, it may be ready in just 2 hours (one hour at 120F / 49C plus one at 86F / 30C). Most yogurts will take about 3-4 hours to set, or the yogurt can be cultured longer for more flavor and acidity. When the yogurt is ready, put it into the refrigerator and allow it to chill thoroughly. Be sure to reserve enough yogurt to start your next batch.
Strained Greek yogurt can be made from Classic, Custard-Style, Lactose-Free, Goat or Soy yogurt. Or, we also have a recipe that’s specialized for making the best Greek yogurt with the most convenient process, it’s here.
To strain Greek yogurt, line a colander or strainer with several layers of cheesecloth, a clean tea towel or a large paper coffee filter. Set the strainer over a bowl and spoon or pour in the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate. Allow to strain for 3-4 hours for thick Greek-style yogurt, or overnight for the thickest possible texture.