Homemade Yogurt with Jam

Food trend for 2013?? I’m sure you’ve heard… fermenting. Canning is so 2012.

For weeks and weeks, I have been promising to put up directions for making homemade yogurt. Making yogurt is not very complicated and yet I had a less than stellar first attempt. I needed to try it a couple more times to make sure I had the hang of it. I’m feeling pretty good… so let’s discuss homemade yogurt!

Yogurt is generally thought of as a health food, but if you look at the ingredients and sugar added to a lot of yogurts sold at the grocery store, you might as well get yourself a bowl of ice cream. Making yogurt at home – plain or sweetened – guarantees that you control all the ingredients and you are getting all the benefits of this amazing fermented food.


One of my favorite local businesses here in Charlotte is Cluck Around Urban Farm Supply located at the Atherton Farmers Market. They are so full of information and have plenty of gorgeous cast iron pans to add to (or start) your collection. Trish is very encouraging when I say something like… I want to make cheese or, what do you think about homemade yogurt? She does it all, so if you have a chance go visit her for a chat!

Live Yogurt Cultures

Live Yogurt Cultures: My first go-round with homemade yogurt used live yogurt cultures in a cute little package like the one shown above. These darlings need to be kept in the fridge until you are ready to use them so that the live cultures stay live. Right from the start, that was possibly a little too much for me to handle. We don’t keep fish or small creatures here for a reason…

If you, like me, aren’t good with remembering small details like, refrigerate your live yogurt cultures, I recommend you keep some PLAIN Greek yogurt on hand – whatever your favorite brand may be. Just double check to make sure that it has a few LIVE yogurt cultures listed on the back. I like FAGE plain Greek yogurt for this project. 

Equipment: There are a few projects out there in the make-it-yourself world where it pays to invest a bit of money into some equipment to speed up the process… I think that yogurt-making is one of those make-it-yourself projects that is hugely assisted by the purchase of a $40 set-up to let your yogurt ferment successfully. Williams-Sonoma sells a fancy-schmancy yogurt maker for a couple hundred dollars – totally unnecessary! They also sell a really simple automatic yogurt maker for a fraction of the price made by Euro Cuisine. (Click here to see one similar to mine…) Chef stores, Amazon.com, and many online retailers also sell this simple version that will save you so many steps.

Making Slightly Sweetened Yogurt With Jam: 

1. In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, add about 6 to 7 cups of milk – I prefer to use 2% or whole. Heat the milk over medium to medium high heat until it just starts to boil. Use a thermometer to check the temperature – you want to get it to 180 degrees. Don’t over-boil the milk or you will end up with a gross skin on top!

2. Remove the milk from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a separate, smaller pan, heat 4 to 5 tablespoons of your favorite jelly. (I have been using Muscadine jelly made by the fabulous Mrs. Edgerton of Edgerton Farms not too far from us in Charlotte.) Add about 2 cups of the cooling milk into the jam or jelly and whisk together over medium heat until the jam is well combined with the milk. Set this pan aside and let it cool.

4. Once the milk has cooled to about 110 degrees (lukewarm), add about 6 ounces plain yogurt into the milk with the jelly and stir until smooth. Combine both pans of milk and stir together. Don’t put the yogurt into milk that is too hot or it will kill the live cultures… trust me, I have done it.

5. Evenly divide the milk into the glass jars or into one 6 cup pyrex bowl and place in the yogurt maker – no covers yet! Place the machine cover over all of the yogurt and set the machine to about 7 or 8 hours.

Slightly thick! Ready to eat!

6. When the yogurt is done, carefully remove the cover, cover the individual glasses and let them sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I like to give my yogurt a quick little stir before eating it! Enjoy! 

Notes about plain yogurt … If you don’t want any sweetness to your yogurt, just skip the part about heating up some jelly. As soon as the yogurt has cooled to 110 degrees, add in your package of yogurt starter to your milk or your 6 ounces of refrigerated, plain yogurt. Whisk together. It’s really that easy.

Notes about yogurt machines … The yogurt machine pictured below is just a tiny bit fancier than the one I own – I own the same brand of machine but mine is not digital. The one featured below is from Sur La Table… Check it out. 

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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