VANCOUVER -- It’s surprising how much added sugar can lurk in our favourite foods, including the ones we think of as healthy. That’s especially true with many supermarket yogurts. So why not skip them altogether? There’s a simple way to make homemade yogurt that offers all of the pros, like protein and probiotics, without the cons.

We often think of yogurt as a health food staple, but if you look carefully at the nutrition label, you’ll see many are loaded with added sugar. By making it yourself, you control the ingredients and know exactly what you’re eating.

“You can buy freeze-dried yogurt cultures online or at health food stores,” says Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports’ home editor. “But if you have a favourite brand of plain yogurt already, just save a few tablespoons of it and use that as a starter for your homemade yogurt.” 

After that, all you’ll need is milk and a food thermometer. 

“You can use any type of pasteurized dairy milk you’d like but avoid those labeled ultra-pasteurized because your yogurt won’t thicken up properly,” Santanachote says. 

While making yogurt is easy, there are several steps you’ll need to follow carefully. 

  • You’ll need to heat the milk to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius) and maintain that temperature for 10 minutes. Then, let your milk sit until it reaches 110 F, about 43 C. 
  • Skim it, then add your starter. After that it will need to ferment up to 12 hours in your oven, with the light on and oven off.
  • Then it goes into the fridge to thicken for another eight to 12 hours.

Consumer Reports also checked out two other ways to make homemade yogurt - using the sous vide method and the Instant Pot. 

The sous vide method delivered consistently excellent yogurt every time. Results from the Instant Pot were disappointing, even after fermenting the yogurt three times longer than the sous vide method.

Homemade yogurt is good for up to two weeks in the fridge, but if you want to use some of it for a new batch, you should do that within a week.

With files from Consumer Reports