Homemade Greek Joghurt (Oven-Technique)

Making yoghurt at home is a very satisfying experience. It’s easier than you would expect and tastes fresher than the one you buy at the store. I started making my own Greek yoghurt three years ago and I haven't looked back. The recipe I'm sharing with you today makes a very thick and creamy yogurt, and the best part is that it is effortless to make. :-)

I have looked at many different methods and found the oven-technique to be the most simplest. There is no straining, no use of crockpots, no jars, and no complicated steps required. The yoghurt is made is three easy steps: 
  1. Slowly heat up the milk (while you are making dinner).
  2. Let it cool to 48 deg C/118 deg F (when it's time to eat and then clean up).
  3. And finally, incubate overnight in the oven with the light on (let the oven do the rest of the work for you).
You'll have a beautifully mild flavoured yoghurt the next morning for breakfast. If you prefer it more tart, then let it sit in the oven for another day and then refrigerate it. Don't let it sit at room temperature longer than two days, otherwise, it will spoil.

I start with about a litre (or a quart) of room temperature milk in a stainless steel saucepan. I always use the smallest gas burner on the stove to heat up the milk slowly, which takes about half an hour or so. The reason for heating the milk slowly is to kill off any organisms that are present in it. I don't use a thermometer at this point but I wait for the milk to start steaming and bubbling around the edges, but I don't let it come to a rolling boil, nor do I let it overflow. If you prefer to use a thermometer, then heat the milk to 82-90 deg C (180-200 deg F).

One thing to keep in mind when choosing the milk is that, the higher the fat, the thicker the yoghurt will be. I always use pasteurized milk with 3.5%-4% fat (what is available in Germany).

The next step is to remove the saucepan and let it cool to 48 deg C / 118 deg F. This takes about 45 minutes. I always use a thermometer at this point, but if you don't have one, you can use Mireille Guiliano's technique that she shared in her book, French Women Don't Get Fat:
"If you don't have a thermometer, then do what the locals do: the temperature is correct when you can keep your index finger in the warm milk for 20 seconds." :-)
As the milk cools, it's time to prepare the starter. I use an inexpensive, full-fat Greek yoghurt that I find at the local supermarket. Just about any plain yoghurt will do. According to an article by AboutYogurt.com, all yoghurts are required to be made with at least two live and active cultures, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Scroll down the section titled, "What are live and active cultures?" to read the information.

The not-so-secret-ingredient that I use to thicken up the yoghurt is dry milk powder. I use half a cup per litre (or quart) of milk. I have read that you can use as little as two tablespoons, but I haven't personally tried it. I really like my yoghurt thick and I find that half a cup does the trick.  :-)

In a small or medium bowl, I mix the store-bought yoghurt with the dry milk powder, and mix in a bit of warm milk to loosen it up a bit. Then I whisk the starter into the warm milk in the pot, cover with a lid and place it into the oven with the light on. Some recipes have you put the yoghurt into glass jars, but I let the yoghurt ferment right in the pot. It works just as well. When the yoghurt is ready, then I transfer it into a glass jar or a plastic container large enough to hold it (this recipe makes 1 kg or 2 lbs).

I like to prepare this on a Friday or Saturday night so we can enjoy it for the breakfast over the weekend. This recipe makes enough for the week in our household but it can be easily doubled if you consume more. The yoghurt keeps well for up to two weeks. Reserve 3/4 of a cup or 200 grams of the yoghurt to make your next batch.

If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it turned out! I would love to hear about it!

Happy yoghurt making!!

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 4 cups (1 L or 1 Qt) room temperature milk (preferably 4%, but anything above 2% is good)
  • 3/4 cup (200 g) greek yoghurt (full-fat)
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) dry milk powder
  1. Place milk in a medium saucepan and slowly heat the milk over the lowest flame. This might take half an hour and/or the temperature should reach 180-200 deg F (82-90 deg C). Remove pot from burner and let the milk cool to 118 deg F (48 deg C), or until you can keep your index finger in the milk for 20 seconds. Cooling should take about 45 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mix store-bought yoghurt with dry milk powder in a small bowl, and add a ladle of warm milk to loosen it up a bit. Slowly pour the starter into the warm milk, whisking quickly and thoroughly. Make sure that it is evenly distributed, otherwise, your yoghurt will turn out lumpy.
  3. Cover pot with the lid and place in the oven over night with the light on. If you prepare this during the day, let it sit in the oven for a minimum of 12 hours. Enjoy with your granola or use it in one of your recipes.
MAKES 1 kg or 2 lbs

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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).