Something that comes up again and again about homemade yogurt is how to make it thicker, more like store-bought. Actually, thin runny yogurt loses its appeal very fast, so let’s talk options.
- MILK– Before making yogurt at home, take a look at the kind of milk you are using. You can make yogurt with whole, or 2%, or non-fat milk. Milk with higher fat content will definitely give you a thicker, creamier yogurt. Also, avoid milk that has been Ultra High-Temperature pasteurized (UHT). UHT pasteurization tends to break down the proteins necessary to set milk into yogurt.
- Longer Initial Heating– Warm the milk to around 200°F before cooling it down and adding the yogurt culture. In this step, try holding the milk at 200°F for 20 minutes or longer. This allows some of the moisture in the milk to evaporate and concentrates the solids.
- Let the Yogurt Sit– The longer the yogurt has to set the thicker it will become. The trade-off is that it also gets sour the longer it sits. A balance between thickness and sourness is at around the 7-hour.
- 4. Strain the Yogurt– There is a lot of whey suspended in the yogurt then straining some of it out for making Greek-style yogurt. You can strain for anywhere from a few minutes to overnight depending on how thick you want your yogurt.
- Add Non-fat Dry Milk Powder– Try adding 1/2 cup of dry milk powder per quart of milk. Mix it into the milk before you start heating it. This is especially helpful for making thicker yogurt from non-fat milk.
- Add Gelatin– A little gelatin helps make yogurt surprisingly creamy and thick. Start experimenting with one teaspoon of gelatin per quart of milk. Mix it in a bowl with a little milk and let it bloom. Then stir into the pot of milk as it starts to heat. If you want to avoid gelatin, try pectin.
NOTE– Using different brands of commercial yogurt to culture your homemade yogurt made much difference in terms of texture. Some brands will have different strains of active culture, which will give your yogurt slightly different flavors and health benefits. But it seems like the thickness is more dependent on the type of milk you use and your process.