I think most of you know that I do eat some limited sources of dairy. Specifically, homemade 24-hour yogurt and butter/ghee are the only dairy sources I can safely tolerate. In fact, homemade 24-hour yogurt is a major component of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the reason I started making it in the first place. Culturing it for 24-hours ensures that all the lactose gets broken down and makes for a nice, sour yogurt. Generally, I make it with organic grass-fed whole milk, but sometimes I make it with pasture-raised half and half when I want something more decadent. The hardest part is waiting for it to culture and then waiting again for it to set overnight in the fridge. I tell you though, it is well worth the wait! This is unlike any yogurt you’ve ever tasted and thick by nature. It’s yogurt fit for the Gods and Goddesses! I enjoy it plain, with fruit or as a dessert garnish (used like whipped cream).
For this specific recipe, you need a yogurt maker, but there are ways to make homemade yogurt without one too. I know there is an oven method, along with a heating pad method. I can attest that the heating pad method works, but is a pain in the butt if your heating pad automatically shuts off every two hours, like mine. I had to get up a few times in the night to turn the heating pad back on and after this escapade, I bought a yogurt maker. They’re pretty affordable and I’ve definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of it. Specifically, this recipe uses the Yogourmet electric yogurt maker, so directions may differ slightly if you have another model.
If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can make yogurt with homemade almond milk or full-fat canned coconut milk, but would need to find a source of non-dairy cultures. I do okay with dairy yogurt and cultures, so I’ve never experimented with this, but I know it’s doable.
Click here to read about the importance of 24-hour yogurt in the SCD.
24-Hour Half and Half Yogurt
- 2 packets Yogourmet starter culture
- 2 quarts (1/2 gallon) pasture-raised half and half
- Pour the half and half into a large pot and turn burner to medium heat (or just above medium). Clip a thermometer (candy thermometer works) to the side of the pot. Stir the half and half continuously to keep it from sticking or scorching.
- Slowly heat the half and half to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn heat down and continue to simmer for about two minutes. Watch closely and keep stirring, so it doesn’t boil over.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. To speed up this process, you can also place the pot into a sink filled with cold water. When checking the temperature, be sure to stir the half and half first and then test in the middle of the pot, versus on the side. It is very important that it’s not too hot when you add the cultures.
- Add yogurt cultures into the yogurt container (mine is one big container) or a large bowl. Scoop a few ladle-fulls of the cooled half and half into the container or bowl. Stir well until the cultures are dissolved. Then, mix back into the pot with the remaining milk.
- Pour the milk into the yogurt container and seal with the lid. Add water to the fill line in the yogurt maker and then place the container inside, and cover with the yogurt maker lid. Plug in and culture for 24-30 hours.
- Once done, place yogurt in the fridge to chill and firm up. I recommend letting it sit overnight to ensure the yogurt is fully set and chilled.
- Enjoy as desired!
Yields: 2 quarts of yogurt
Yay! I was actually in need of this recipe right now. I have some pastured 2% at home that I want to try out and take a break from my coconut milk yogurt. Thanks for posting this!! 😉 Also, if folks want a recipe for coconut milk yogurt, check out Cultures for Health. 😉
Yay 🙂 Thanks for mentioning the site for the coconut milk yogurt!
This looks AMAZING! I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous 🙂
Haha, I knew you’d be excited, Ashley 😉
I’m thinking of indulging in a yogurt maker- is this the only one you use?
Yes, this is the only one I use. I like it because it doesn’t have an automatic shutoff (since it cultures for 24 hours, this is nice) and it can make up to 2 quarts at once in one big container. There’s no need for me to have more than one yogurt maker anyway.
Ok, I tried it just as you have it in the recipe, and LOVED it! I decided to make a second batch, but this time I decided to split a vanilla bean, scoop the insides into the 1/2 & 1/2, and then dropped in the pod to let it steep while it was coming to a simmer and while it was cooling to 110. I took out the pod just before I put it in my yogurt maker. The finished product is a little more tart than the plain recipe, but it has this nice hint of vanilla that I really like. 😉
I don’t get why it made your yogurt more tart??? Anyway, I’m glad it worked out and that you had fun experimenting! I’m strictly a plain yogurt kind of gal. It’s so good as is that I don’t like to mess with it. I do like good mix-ins though once it’s all cultured. Unsweetened coconut shreds, raw cacao nibs and berries are my favorite 🙂
I have been making this for a year now. Funny thing…I dont have a yogurt machine and tried all kinds of things then my husband said hey…how about the hot tub! Low and behold I have a great yogurt machine that stays at a constant temp for 24 hours! Just thought I would share! I love my yogurt with a bit of honey and blueberries!
Wow, funny…and creative!
1. Why do you heat it so hot? It’s already pasteurized? I just heat mine to 110, then add the culture, wrap it up and set it on top of the hot water tank in the cool months, out side when it’s hot summertime here. It may take 24 hrs to culture, but you were going to do that anyway. Am I missing something?
I do it this way because that’s how I learned (via the instructions that came with my yogurt maker). I don’t think you’re missing something and if what you do works, then no worries. I agree that I probably don’t have to heat it that hot though.
I’ve read the heating process to 190 changes the protein in the milk to aid the culture in making a thicker yogurt. I’m think it was on the “copycat Oui web page.” I hope this helps
I make my yogurt in my crock pot a gallon at a time. Half a gallon of whole milk and 2 quarts of heavy cream. Heat on high for an hour and Forty five minutes to bring it to 110-120 degrees. Add one 8 oz carton of plain live culture yogurt that has been mixed into a cup of the warm half and half. Stir well and add back to the crock pot and stir well to evenly distribute the starter. Cover with the lid and place the whole crock pot in your oven with the light on for 12 to 14 hours. (No heat). I usually do this overnight. Then I strain out the whey using a white cotton tea towel to the consistency I like.(thick). The whey can be used for added protein for smoothies or soups. My house plants flourish with a little whey drink once a month. You can store your yogurt in any type of container you like that has a tight fitting lid. I always add whatever berries,sweetener or toppings as I take out what I want to eat. It will last approx 3 weeks if I haven’t eaten it all. I also save an 8 oz jar of whey to use as my next starter. Just keep in the fridge with a tight lid on it.
Make sure all your utensils are ultra clean so you don’t culture any live organisms you don’t want!
So far I have tried 1% lactose-free, low-fat milk and nonfat yogurt combination x 9hr incubation. Texture is alright, not runny, but it could be little bit more creamier and little less tangy. Now, I bought 0% fat-free milk (not lactose-free) and lactose-free half and half. Should I combine both or use just one at a time for trial? It was not easy to find organic, lactose free, fat-free milk at the store today. I also bought lactose-free, low-fat yogurt, regular fat-free yogurt, and whole milk yogurt. I am debating which yogurt and milk I should combine for experimentation. Any suggestions? Too many variables?
Sorry to hear you haven’t been having great luck, Seung. I have never used lactose-free, fat free, or low-fat milk for homemade yogurt, so I can’t speak from experience there. I use organic whole milk or in this case, I used organic half-and-half. I also always ferment for 24 hours, not nine. Are you using the same yogurt maker as I am? The Yogourmet? My yogurt is tangy and I think that tends to be the nature of homemade yogurt. You could always strain it a little afterward in a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and disregard some of the whey if you want it creamier. I’ve done this before and the result is lovely — more like Greek yogurt.
Wondering if there are any nutrition facts for about a cup serving? The half and half to begin with has 0 carbs so I was wondering if that changes in the process anywhere!
Hi, Nicole. I’m not sure about nutrition facts with this yogurt since it’s homemade. I don’t think carbs would increase much or at all during the fermentation process since sugars are broken down during that time and it has a longer ferment time (and you’re using half-and-half, which has zero carbs – as you mentioned). I know that’s not the most direct answer, but it’s what I know and hope it helps!
Half and half has at least 1.3 carbs per oz. (Heavy whipping cream has 0.85 carbs per oz.) So two quarts (half a gallon, or 64 oz) would have 83.2 carbs for the whole batch, MINUS all the carbs that vanish with the sugar that gets eaten in the fermentation process. It’s anybody’s guess what that might be, but the 24 hour process time probably gets a ton of it, and every bit of ‘sour’ taste is more indicator of sugars-eaten-in-fermentation.
Thanks for the recipe. I have an instant pot and want to make chicken tikka masala that wants yogurt for the marinade, but my limited local shopping (read: walmart) thinks “fat free with gums for thickener” = greek yogurt (it’s like a midwest food tragedy) so I thought maybe I’d try making some of my own, since the instant pot does that too (never tried it for that before!).
Thanks, PJ! I hope your yogurt turns out well in your Instant Pot. I don’t have one (yet), so can’t speak on any experience there. Also, I hear ya on the Midwest food tragedy, though I admit that options have greatly improved in my little hometown in Michigan. It used to be a bigger challenge when I’d go back to visit and my mom would often pick up items in the Detroit-area when she’d be down there visiting my sister. But regardless, homemade yogurt is pretty fantastic, especially with half-and-half!
Hi Alisa, thank you for your post.
I am on a low-carb diet, so recently I made half and half yogurt in my vintage Salton yogurt maker. It was supposed to incubate for 10 hours but I forgot and left it plugged in for 18. It was fine, very good, not tangy snd very thick, you can hold the jar upside down and it wouldn’t drip. I decided to reduce the carbs further, by remiving some whey and make it Greek yogurt, so I put my homemade yogurt in a coffee filter in the refrigerator overnight. It reduced volume by 25%. The result is a very firm cream cheese texture. There is no tang whatsoever and it is really quite luscious.
I’m just not quite sure what I have made. It’s thicker than store-bought Greek yogurt, but I’m not sure if it’s cream cheese, or geeek yogurt or yogurt cheese or somethin else.l. I read that the difference is the fat to protein ratio. Can you help me out?
Hi Rhonda, thanks for your message and for trying the half & half yogurt recipe! To be honest, I’m not really sure what you were left with — could be like an Icelandic yogurt (which is thicker than Greek yogurt) or yogurt cream cheese, but I don’t really know for sure. Half & half yogurt is so thick on its own (and already naturally low in carbs) and I’ve never drained it because of its thickness, so I don’t have experience to speak on there. As long as it tastes good and you enjoy it, that’s all that matters! I know you may be wanting to figure out the fat to protein ratio though and for that, I don’t have an answer. I don’t imagine it’s too different from before it was drained though since there’s not much whey to drain out. I know this isn’t the clearest answer, but your guess is as good as mine. I hope this helps at least a little bit though!
I am about to sound totally premitive. I have been making my yogurt at home for decades now, without any yogurtmaker or machines (instaPot). I simply boil the milk, bring it down to where it is just luke warm (I don’t take temps either) and then transfer it to the container (a canister with tight lid), add a teaspoon of yogurt (just plain yogurt). Mix it well. Close the lid. Let it sit overnight on the countertop, for about 8-10 hours and the yogurt is ready in the morning. That’s it. It’s yummy every single time, not watery at all.
That’s wonderful and good to know! Cheers to delicious, homemade yogurt!