DIY: Homemade Yogurt


My sister, Haidi, was kind enough to pass along her method for making homemade yogurt to me. Since hers is the best I’ve ever had, it’s only fair that I share it with you. All I ask is that you, in turn, pass it on to someone else.

I started making yogurt when my youngest, now seven, started eating solids. Feeling uncertain about the benefits of store-bought, pasteurized milk, I decided that the least I could do was give her something which I knew was beneficial for her developing digestive system. Cultured milk products contain “good bacteria” which help build a healthy immune system and aid digestion.

Besides, I am not a milk drinker, but I do love yogurt. So anyway, my eldest ate yogurt. I’m happy to say that she still enjoys yogurt because I mixed everything you could think of into it. I should qualify that statement: everything healthy.
She ate it with chopped sprouts, grated carrot and cucumber, brewer’s yeast, minced parsley, finely ground seeds and nuts – oh, fresh fruit as well.


I have made yogurt countless times over the last few years, and I would say I have fine-tuned the process. I usually make a gallon, which lasts our family about two weeks. I have used all kinds of milk including raw cow and goat milk. My preference is for raw milk, but if that is not available, I try to use organic. If I find it on clearance, all the better – I bring it home and make a batch that day.
So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Haidi’s Homemade Yogurt

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1 cup good-quality plain whole-fat yogurt

In a large pot, slowly heat the milk to 180 F, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool to 110 F. As the milk is cooling, I measure the starter (yogurt) into a bowl to allow it to warm a little.

Wash 5 quart jars and lids and fill with hot tap water.

Prepare your method of incubation:
There are many ways to incubate yogurt. I have used these two with good success.

The first is a small down comforter which I put in my laundry basket and line with a dishtowel. The second is to use my camping cooler.

You will no doubt come up with your own method which is most convenient for you. In the center of my incubator of choice, I place a couple of quarts of hot water (120 F) to help maintain the heat during the incubation process.


So, the jars are ready, the incubator is ready, the starter is sitting out, and the milk is cooled to 110 F. Take a ladle-full of the milk and stir it gently into the starter. Now pour the starter into the pot of milk and stir again. Empty the jars of hot water into the sink ( I use the water to wash my yogurt dishes) and pour the milk into the jars.

Wipe clean, screw on lids, and place in incubator. The yogurt should be ready in six hours.

If it still seems thin when you tilt the jars, leave for a couple more hours. The cooler the temperature of the incubator is, the longer it will take to set, which will also produce a tarter flavor.

If you accidentally let your milk get too cool, just turn it back on and carefully bring it back to 110. If your yogurt doesn’t turn out perfect the first time, don’t be discouraged. It will still make great smoothies. Try a different brand of yogurt starter and see if that makes a difference.

I have converted several friends to making their own yogurt when they saw how easy it is, and how much money it saves. Besides, it’s so much fresher than store bought.

Homemade – it’s the best!

* All photos by Haidi. Written by Haidi.

Spotlight Ingredient: Brussels Sprouts

When the first stalks of brussels sprouts appear at my local market in the fall, I greet them with the same enthusiasm as I do a basket of strawberries in the spring.

I can finally bypass the staunch, yet stodgy broccoli and bring home a vibrant green vegetable that I’m excited to cook.

I’ve always loved brussels sprouts, perhaps because my father always took such delight in them whenever we ate them growing up; the British, are, after all, the top consumers of sprouts, and my dad hails from across the pond. Brussels sprout lovers are aptly labeled, lovers, and most can wax poetic over the little green sprouts all the day long.

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Weekend Links

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Butternut Squash Gratin: A New Family Favorite Side Dish

Today’s post is going to be brief! There’s been a line-up of epic posts recently – all good things mind you, but it’s time for something short and sweet.

This butternut squash gratin is just that: uncomplicated, yet sophisticated in an understated way. We enjoyed it as one of our side dishes this past weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving, and here’s the crazy part: my kids ate it and asked for seconds. I know !

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Thanksgiving…many ways.


Last week I was probably more excited about having Noah home for four whole days than I was about Thanksgiving. For some crazy reason, I had decided not to cook my own turkey dinner, perhaps because an entire week (OK, make that a month) of functioning on five or six hours of sleep had taken it’s toll.

Besides, I knew we would have turkey dinner with all the trimmings at my in-laws, so it wasn’t like I was skipping Thanksgiving entirely.


Then I developed this recipe for Whole Wheat Buttermilk Rolls and invented their adorable presentation…and got all excited about cooking again. And setting a fine table. And hosting. There was no way I could not cook a Thanksgiving dinner, I mean, just look at this festive inspiration outside my patio doors.


So I was pumped; I found a fresh local turkey, TONS of brussels sprouts – which Mateo helped carry – and proceeded to spend half of Saturday in the kitchen.


Turns out that was just what I needed. It no joke that cooking is my therapy of choice, and I relaxed, rejoiced, and found rejuvenation in preparing a simple turkey dinner for my family and a few close loved ones.


You’ve seen a few of these recipes before…Fruit & Herb Stuffing, Perfect Mashed Potatoes, and a few more are coming soon on Simple Bites. One in particular, the butternut squash gratin (Wednesday), was a huge hit, leaving me with zero leftovers. I should probably be happy about that, but dang, I wanted some for the reheat!

So that was Saturday. Sunday was the wonderfully homey traditional dinner with my in-laws. There were pies, Maple, Pumpkin and Cherry. I had some of all three, then we beetled off home because I had an early morning date with these guys:


The folks from Daybreak had invited me to come talk turkey in studio at 8 AM. So I drove downtown and tried to put cohesive sentences together on only one cup of coffee.
You decide if I succeeded or not; you can listen to the radio clip HERE.

I did discover, however, that I have a lot to say on the subject of turkey and could probably go on all day. Mercifully, the news had to be shared eventually and I got shut down.

Our afternoon today was lazily spent, well, eating. Friends came over and we shared a most excellent Turkey Shepherd’s Pie (loosely based on this one, but with sauteed leeks and cheese curd in the mashed potatoes), with more brussels sprouts.


Then we headed outside, went for a walk, hung around the campfire and toasted cinnamon marshmallows, and enjoyed the very best weather of the season.

Late afternoon brought tea on the patio as well as this beautiful pie that my friend brought over.


Yes, there was even homemade vanilla bean ice cream to top it off with. Now you see why my Thanksgiving weekend is shaping up to be one of the best ever.


Incidentally, this pie was also my late dinner, and now that I’m writing about it…I’m thinking I need a snack. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to enjoy the last few hours of my Thanksgiving – with a slice of apple pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers….