Making your own yogurt allows you to control the sweetness, flavoring, additives and consistency. It is relatively easy to make and requires few ingredients. Whether you choose to purchase a starter or use a commercially made yogurt as a starter, the results will be similar. Homemade yogurt has a different consistency from the commercially prepared versions; it is often thinner or looser and can retain lumps. While commercial yogurts are thickened with a variety of agents, you can thicken the yogurt yourself without additives.
Things You'll Need
Choose a bowl slightly larger than the bowl of the strainer. Hang the strainer in the bowl and ensure it will be sturdy enough to hold the yogurt. Cut a piece of cheesecloth large enough to hang over the bowl on all sides. Layer the cheesecloth inside the strainer or sieve. Pat it gently into the contour of the strainer.
Spoon yogurt into the cheesecloth until it is about 3/4 full. Take care not to overflow the cheesecloth and strainer. You can strain in batches if necessary. Pull up all four corners of the cheesecloth and affix with a rubber band or clip. You can gently squeeze the cheesecloth to give the process a head start, but patience is your best tool.
Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight if possible. The liquid will drain from the yogurt, rendering it thicker. Experiment to achieve a palatable consistency. The first time, try checking the yogurt every hour or so to achieve the thickness you are looking for. Discard the liquid or save it for another use.
You can use the discarded liquid as a starter to make more yogurt.
Other natural ways to thicken yogurt include adding wheat germ and thick blended fruit like banana. Or, you can add gelatin to the cooking process to add a little extra thickness. If the yogurt is still too thin for your tastes, adjust the fermentation time for the next batch you make. Allowing it to ferment longer makes it thicker.
References and ResourcesDivine Mind: Yogurt Thickening Techniques
Homemade Baby Food Recipes: Homemade Yogurt in Seven Easy Steps
Apple Pie, Patis and Pate: Homemade Yogurt