By the Chef Marshall O’Brien Group

Makes about 7 cups  

  • 1/2 gallon 2% or full-fat whole milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh plain, full-fat yogurt with live and active cultures (as a starter)

Special Equipment: Portable oven/meat thermometer


  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Pour milk into a 3-quart saucepan. Scald the milk (bring almost to a boil, around 180 degrees), stirring as needed to prevent burning on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Remove scalded milk from burner. Transfer into ceramic or glass container (with lid) and set aside. Cool the milk to 120 degrees. If it is too hot, it will kill the active cultures in the starter.
  3. Stir in the starter and place lid on container. Turn off oven and place container in oven. Turn on the oven light. The goal is to keep the milk at a steady, low temperature—around 120 degrees—and the oven light provides enough heat to do this. Place portable oven thermometer on top of lid to monitor oven temperature.
  4. Leave container in oven for 8-10 hours; overnight works well.
  5. Remove container from oven and remove the lid. Do not stir! The mixture should look firm, almost gelatinized, but a little watery. If mixture is not firm, return to oven for additional time.
  6. Do not stir or strain. Place yogurt container in refrigerator to thicken further.
  7. Portion yogurt into individual containers for grab-and-go convenience. Add fresh or frozen fruit, chopped nuts, low-sugar granola, a little honey, etc. for flavoring before serving.

Note: Use relatively fresh yogurt as the starter. As yogurt ages, the active cultures die off and the yogurt may not thicken properly.

The Chef Marshall O’Brien Group is a dedicated assembly of professionals based in Minneapolis, Minnesota committed to the goal of using nutrition to help children and families lead happier, healthier lives.