Homemade Yogurt


Plain homemade yogurt
2 L milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup yogurt (I used Danone plain Greek yogurt)

Vanilla homemade yogurt
2 L milk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup yogurt (I used Danone plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup sugar
40 ml vanilla

I received the plain yogurt recipe from a lady I met at a CBC event in Charlottetown in early February. Her name is Shirley Smedley. She says that she has been making yogurt for 40 years.

Here are the instructions she gave me for plain yogurt. Very simple!

“1. Put 2 litres milk into a pot and heat to scalding point or 180 F

2. Remove from the stove and cool to lukewarm or 105 – 110 F

3. Stir or use a whisk in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
– from the last batch of yogurt
– or good quality store-bought yogurt (not flavoured)
– or ask in the natural food section of the store for a package of yogurt starter (2 pkgs. cost $5)

4. Have ready: 5 mason jars/lids sitting on a cookie sheet.
Pour mixture into 5 clean mason jars; screw on lids.

5. Put the jars on cookie sheet into the oven. Turn on the oven light which provides a low heat to ferment the yogurt. Close the door and leave overnight.
In the morning, put jars into the fridge and allow to cool for a couple of hours to stop the fermentation process.
You now have homemade yogurt! When my kids were young, they enjoyed toppings such as blueberries, honey, strawberries, etc.”

I let them sit in the oven overnight for about 9 hours, and then cool in the fridge for about 3 or 4 hours. Our kids and myself like vanilla flavoured yogurt as well as sweetened. When step #2 is just about complete, I add the sugar and vanilla, stir it in well then continue with the rest of the recipe.

The Danone Greek yogurt I bought was all used up with 3 yogurt batches. No yogurt starter went to waste. My next batch will be my own starter yogurt.

I hear that these starters for fermented products and such are given a name, like a pet. The Zero Waste Chef for example has a sour dough starter named Eleanor. So I told my husband, Chris, that we must come up with a name for our yogurt starter. Olaf was a suggestion. I thought that maybe it should have something to do with Greek, as it started out as a Greek yogurt. Finally, Chris came up with a brilliant, hilarious, perfect name. None other would suit! Gertrude! Gerty for short.

Can you imagine, one opens the fridge and says, “Hey, yo-gert!
Chris’ joke! hahaha!

So now with our homemade yogurt, we can have 100% homemade yogurt drinks too!

Thank you Shirley!

Update: here is a very informative article about the starter yogurt. A good read from a friend on Waves of Change.

2 L whole milk
180 degrees. Does not take long to heat up, maybe 15 minutes. I did not time it . . . yet
Mason jars ready for a filling. I actually needed 6 for this recipe.
about 110 degrees. Takes about 40+ minutes to cool down
Add 1/2 cup sugar and 40 ml of vanilla. Stir in completely. Add 1/2 cup yogurt.
Filled and covered
In the oven for the night
Complete, ready for cooling
Cooled and ready to eat
Yogurt on the left and yogurt drink on the right.
Thomas loving the yogurt drink
Jack loving the yogurt drink

Update. July 18, 2019
Gerty is finished. I got slow and did not make yogurt when I should have. So here I am, making another batch. This one is the first starter of the new one I made last week. I used Greek yogurt again. I recently tried Yoplait, as an experiment, but the yogurt was kind of . . . slimy. Not my cup of tea! 

15 responses on “Homemade Yogurt”

  1. About how long can this yoguet be kept before going bad?
    There is just me and the hubby at home.
    We use yogurt for smoothies.

    1. Hey there!! Thanks for asking! I guess I should add that info in there. I would say just as long as any other yogurt. I have read the longer it sits, the more acidic the yogurt gets, as the culture is eating the lactose. I have read you can add a little extra scalded, 110 degree milk to the yogurt if it is aging, to feed the culture. Yes, feed it! Lol

      Here is the article that was shared on my post on Waves of Change. I added it to my blog as well as an update. Please read it!


  2. I would love to do this but one question! I have a new oven with an LEDlightbulb…don’t think it emits much heat…what to do …the lowest temp I can heat my oven to is 175° F.

    1. Test the oven light! Before you make the yogurt, turn on the light for a couple hours with the door shut. The air should feel warm inside. If not, then I would turn on the light, it would give some heat and wrap the yogurt bottles in a towel to help keep in the heat.

      Good luck!

    1. What I understand about yogurt, is that the culture needs the lactose. But saying that, I just started to make my own, I posted about my experience. If I make any changes I will certainly update my blog!!

      A friend shared this link with me, they do talk about other milks, in the comment section. It’s a good read from start to finish, and I am sure if you explore the website, you may find what you are looking for!


  3. I set aside some time to read your blog this evening Rachel. Wonderful to see Gertrude is working for you! One tiny edit: I’ve been making homemade yogurt for 40 years.
    Shirley Smedley
    PS We call our GPS – Gertrude.

  4. I’m just starting this recipe right now. Thanks for posting it! Just to clarify, I think the temperatures you list are meant to be degrees F.

    1. It turned out great! I made the plain and my 10 yo and 8 yo both gave it a thumbs up! (High praise from these picky eaters.) One added a dash of vanilla and sugar. The other added strawberry jam.

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