Making Yogurt in a Small Cooler


Making Yogurt In A Small Cooler

~ Recipe: Susan Maxon

Supplies needed:

several containers with covers
wooden spoon
1-quart milk
quality store-bought yogurt with live cultures
powdered milk (optional)


  1. Pour hot water into several covered containers that will fit inside your cooler to warm up the inside of the cooler.
  2. Heat 1-quart of milk on stovetop to 180 – 185, stirring with WOODEN spoon to prevent film from forming.
  3. Add 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk, stir thoroughly (makes yogurt thicker and boosts the calcium).
  4. Hold yogurt temp 10-20 minutes to prepare whey proteins which are responsible for thickening.
  5. Cool milk quickly to about 125 degrees (put pan in sink filled with cool water – keep thermometer in yogurt).
  6. Pour milk into a sterilized container with a cover (washing in dishwasher is good).
  7. Continue cooling to 110-115
  8. Add starter culture (2 tbsp of store-bought yogurt); stir thoroughly before adding & after to incorporate.
  9. Replace hot water in covered containers in cooler
  10. Wrap a towel around yogurt container and put inside cooler with the hot water containers.
  11. Set the cooler somewhere it won’t be jiggled for next 4-10 hours (incubation time will depend on starter used and thickness and texture desired). With store bought yogurt as a starter, it’ll probably take 8-10 hours to thicken enough. I often do this overnight.

Longer time and higher temperature = thicker, tangier yogurt

Less time and lower temperature = thinner, sweeter yogurt

If yogurt is too thin for your liking or you want to add fruit or maple syrup, thicken it by draining off some of the whey by letting it drain into a strainer lined with sanitized cheesecloth, coffee filters, paper towels, or a clean tea towel.

Refrigerate – which will also cause yogurt to thicken a bit more.


For “French Vanilla Yogurt” add 2 tbsp sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla for every 1 quart of milk (after “cooking”).

Skim milk makes firmer yogurt, whole milk makes creamier.

Store-bought yogurt works only for a limited number of “rounds”, then you must buy new yogurt to start the next batches. You can buy dried yogurt cultures online.

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