If you eat a lot of yogurt, you end up stockpiling or recycling a lot of plastic containers. But yogurt is embarrassingly easy to make, which eliminates the need for all that packaging. It’s also really fun. And once you get started on fermentation projects, you may not stop. You could move on to beer, wine, kimchee, vinegar, and way more. (Read what home fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz has to say.)

Here’s how to make your own yogurt:

  • 1. Pour a half gallon of whole milk into a pot.

    2. Stir in a tablespoon of nonfat dry milk. This will help thicken your yogurt.

  • 3. Heat the milk slowly on the stovetop, monitoring its temperature with a meat thermometer. When it reaches about 185 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the stove. (This will kill off any “bad” bacterial cultures that may be in your milk.)

    4. Pour the milk into a heatproof container with a lid.

  • 5. Cool the milk down in an ice bath, removing it when it gets to be about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (Cooling the milk will allow the “good” bacterial cultures to live once you add them.)

    6. Mix a heaping tablespoon of your favorite plain yogurt into the cooled milk. The yogurt is your starter culture. (If you’ve already gone through this process, you can use some of your last homemade batch as your starter culture.)

  • 7. Put the lid on the container and store it in a cabinet at room temperature for a day or two, or until the yogurt acquires the taste and consistency you like. Refrigerate it to slow down the fermentation process. It will keep in the fridge for approximately two weeks.

Lessley Anderson is senior editor at CHOW.

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