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From Scratch: Yogurt Making

Probiotic for you and your dog
By Claudia Kawczynska, October 2012, Updated June 2021

Making yogurt is easy, economical and it helps both you and your dog to stay up on your probiotic regimes. With only two ingredients and a few tools, it couldn't be simpler. (While a commercial yogurt maker is convenient, it is not necessary.)

Make Yogurt from Scratch

In this recipe, make DIY yogurt from scratch on the stove. There is also an easy crockpot method you might like to check out.


Heavy pot
Kitchen thermometer (with a clip to hold unto to the pot)
Glass jars with lids, warming pad or insulated cooler.


2 qt. milk (low fat or non-fat; cow’s or goat’s milk)


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2 or 3 tsp.* of fresh plain yogurt (from the previous batch or store-bought—but be sure it contains a live-culture!)


Step One: Heat the milk

Pour milk into a pot, heat slowly until the temperature reaches 185 degrees, stirring frequently (this can take up to 30 minutes). The longer you maintain this temperature, the thicker the final product. Be sure not to scald or burn the milk.

Step Two: Cool the milk

Pour the hot milk into a bowl or keep it in the pot—it will need to cool down to 110 degrees. You can place the bowl/pot into a larger bowl (or in the sink) with cold water or ice cubes around it to help the cooling. This can takes around 45 minutes. It is important that it cools down before adding the culture. High temperatures can destroy the culture.

Step Three: Add the culture

Pour about a cup of the cooled milk into a small bowl or into a two-cup measurer and add 2 to 3 tsp* of yogurt. Whisk. Add it back to the rest of the milk, whisking again to make sure the milk and culture is thoroughly mixed.

Step Four: Incubate

Pour this mixture into 2 quart-sized mason glass jars with lids, or a two-quart glass measuring glass (batter bowl) with a lid. Place jars or bowl on a heating pad (set on medium, or a setting that assures 110 degrees) and cover with towels, for 8 to 12 hours or until thickened. Or wrap the jars in towels, and place them with other jars filled with hot water into a cooler, close the cooler and let set for 8 to 12 hours. (There are many other methods to provide this low-warmth level, but the key is to hold the mixture undisturbed for 8 hours or more at 110 to 115 degrees.) After the yogurt has set, put in the refrigerator where it will set more. It can keep up to 1 week chilled. 

Remember to make your next batch, use 2 tsp. from the present batch.

Note: We changed the starter from 2 tbsp. to only 2 tsp recently. In Sandor Katz's (the dean of fermentation) new book Wild Fermentation, that is what he recommended. I was so surprised that I actually contacted him about this change, as most every recipe you see will have noted the higher amounts and even in an earlier book of his that was his direction. He kindly wrote back "I use less and less! about 1 teaspoon per quart/liter these days." I've tried a few times now and yes it works much much better. 


Extras for Dogs:

Frozen Yogurt Treats:

Your pups will love e a frozen yogurt treat. Pour into silicone ice cube trays, with a few blueberries or other fruit or juice. Dogs eagerly lick up these tasty, healthy treats! Or share your smoothies with them.

Extras for You:

Eat yogurt plain (a French meal favorite) or add honey or an easy-to-make fruit compote like this blueberry one adapted from Anson Mills.

For the blueberry compote:
1 pint fresh (or frozen) blueberries
Pinch salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ small cinnamon stick
Juice of one lemon

Place berries into pot with the sugar, salt, lemon juice, and cinnamon stick, and set over medium-low heat. Stir frequently as the berries begin to sizzle softly and melt. They will quickly begin to release their juices and cease sticking. Bring them to a simmer until soft and saucy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, remove cinnamon, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.  Stir into a portion into individual yogurt servings.

Additional uses:

To use yogurt as a sour cream substitute, thicken it by straining through a coffee filter. Or to make yogurt cheese (dog’s favorite), wrap the yogurt in fine, unbleached cheesecloth and hang it up for a day, for a quick cheese.

Photo: iStock

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.