Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


How to make Yogurt at home?

4 cups (1 Lt) homogenized milk
2 tablespoonfuls plain yogurt

I use homogenized milk to make my own yogurt. But if you think it is too fatty for you, you can use any kind. Making yogurt is very easy!

Boil the milk first, then put aside until lukewarm. The best and traditional way to measure the temperature of milk is to dip your pinkie in it. It should be warm but shouldn't burn.

Spread a thick towel out over your kitchen counter. Put the warm milk into a clean bowl with a lid and place it on the towel (picture). Put 2 tablespoonfuls of yogurt and mix well to ferment the new yogurt (picture). Make sure they're mixed very well. Cover with the lid (picture). Then cover the bowl with the towel (picture). If it is winter, the yogurt will be done within 8 hours, otherwise during the summer it'll take 6 hours. I generally ferment my yogurt after dinner or before going to bed. The following morning my yogurt is ready to be placed in the fridge. Keep it in the fridge for a day.

You will find many Turkish recipes with yogurt as the main ingredient or as a side dish to make soups, desserts, and our favourite drink Ayran. If you like, you can add honey or your favourite jam to give it some flavour. Or just toss some fresh fruit on it, it is perfectly healthy and delicious. When I was a kid my favourite was with honey or icing sugar. I also love yogurt with some chunks of bread (Turkish, French or Italian style), it's great for lunch :)

A little bit information about Yogurt:

About a thousand years ago, Central Asian Turks were the first to make Yogurt. As it was first spreading into Europe, this dairy product was used for therapeutic purposes. The word comes from the Turkish word "yoğurt", deriving from the verb "yoğurtmak", which means "to blend" - a reference to how yogurt is made. It is consumed plain or as a side dish or to make soups, desserts, sauce, to marinate meat and it is a big part of Turkish Cuisine. You can't find a Turkish house without yogurt.

You should eat yogurt every day, at least one cup :) Yogurt has beneficial bacteria, calcium and protein. We believe yogurt cleanses the body from toxins and poisons.

How to Make Creamy (Strained) Yogurt:

Strained Yogurt

Place a strainer with a paper towel on top over a bowl. Place some yogurt on it and fold the edges of the paper towel over the yogurt. Leave in the fridge overnight. You'll have creamy yogurt waiting in the morning.


At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coffee filters also work for straining yogurt, if you don't trust your paper towel :)

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you know that the greatness of a culture is ascertained by its cooks & its cuisine?

If our culture has been making & eating Yogurt the last one thousand
years, where do you think turkish culture is placed among its peers & friends? :).

I'm so pleased to tell you, my kitchen is never, ever without yogurt, parsley, garlic & lemons.

Now, will this recipe make kaymakli
yogurt? Thanks so much for this recipe. I had forgotten how easy it's to make yogurt.


At 6:51 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Gulacti,
I absolutely agree with you about the
greatness of culture:) I wish Turkish cooking could be more well-known and
commonly accessible to other cultures,
but hopefully the site will help a bit.
If you boil the homogenized milk first
instead of heating it up a little, you will see a thin layer of kaymak on the surface, if you don't break it while you ferment the milk, it should work. I used to have my yogurt with kaymak
when I was in Turkey when I would buy my milk from a milk man:)

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Olga said...

Binnur hanim,
I tried making half a batch of your yogurt this weekend, and it didn't turn out. I did two cups of whole homogenized milk heated 2 minutes in the microwave. Then mixed with 1 tbsp. of plain yogurt. It's summer here already, so I checked after 4.5 hours and it hadn't thickened at all. What am I doing wrong? Was it the fat free starter yogurt I used? If the milk was too hot, would that have ruined the culture? Thank you for your help!

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

Merhaba Olga,
I really don't know what went wrong:(
I hope you used tablespoonfuls of yogurt? I don't use fat-free yogurt
as starters, but I don't think that should matter. If your pinkie
didn't burn when you dipped it in the milk, it was the right
temperature. But if it's too cold or too hot, that will ruin the
culture. I hope you'll give it another try and time time it'll turn
out great.. please let me know if you do :)

At 3:43 AM, Anonymous vania said...

Please: thats "tablespoonfuls"????
Tablespoonfuls=??.......i don"t know !
please inform me!

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Vania,

1 tablespoon is approximately 15 ml
1 tablespoonful is as much as a
tablespoon will hold.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Sev said...

Your recipes are simply great... ever since I've found your website I have only been cooking Turkish. Now Turkish food is being cooked by a German living in Scotland =). So I'm spreading the good news of Turkish cuisine!

Have a great day,

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Sev,
Thank you for the nice comment and intruduce Turkish Cousine
in Scotland:))

At 2:19 AM, Anonymous lisa said...

As an amateur American chef living in Istanbul, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your website! I am having so much fun trying all the great turkish food, and your recipes make it so easy for me to sort out all of the ingredients, etc....

I too tried the yogurt, It tastes great, but stayed runny! I'll try again, but any hints?

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Lisa,
Thank you for the nice comment:)
Homemade yogurt is more runny than commercial yogurt. This is because
there is no gelatin or powdered milk in it. If you like to add these though, you should do so before incubation. Also adding more starter makes yogurt more sour.
I can only suggest you that leave the yogurt in the fridge before use
for about 12 hours. It will make the yogurt more firm:)
I hope this helps:)

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Binnur hanim, degisik ulkelerde yogurt sorunsuz yapiyordum, ama Quito (Ecuador'da) yukseklikten dolayi olmuyor. Bir fikriniz var mi high altitude yogurt making icin?

Anna Durmus

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Binnur said...

Sevgili Anna,
Yogurdun olmayisinin yukseklik ile bir ilgisi var mi? bilmiyorum...Bulundugun yerin asiri sicak olmasinin etkisi olabilir diye dusunuyorum:)

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merhaba Binnur,
I'm a South African who has just returned from a wonderful trip to Turkiye and one of the highlights was your delicious (and healthy) food. I wanted to try making
Turkish food now that I'm home and was thrilled to discover your website! Keep up the good work!
Mary Lou

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Mary Lou,
Thank you very much all the nice words about my site and Turkish food, I hope you will enjoy the upcoming recipes:)

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merhaba Binnur,

Greetings from Australia. My husband is turkish and I live with his family. My Baba is very fond of yoghurt. Just wondering if this recipe would make thick style yoghurt or if you have any suggestions as to who I could achieve thick homemade yoghurt.

Cok Tessekur Ederim Binnur for your wonderful site. It has helped my impress the in laws. Thanks to your site I have fast become the best Aussie gelin in my community :)


At 10:41 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Clara,
Thank you very much for the lovely comment:) If you want it thick but not the commercial style I would suggest for you to boil the milk first for a few minutes, so the water comes out. Then let it cool down to the right temperature to ferment it. I hope you will impress your in laws again:)
Take care,

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Min said...

Merhaba Binnur, thank you so much for your site. I am a Malaysian who was spoiled by my Turkish friend, Esin, with Turkish cooking when she used to live here. Esin was a good teacher who showed me how to cook a few Turkish dishes and also how to make yoghurt. Your site is helping to refresh my memory.

The pinkie test is exactly how my Turkish friend, Esin, taught me! There has been a few times when the yoghurt didn't "set". I heated up the mixture again still warm (pinkie tested) and viola! I get yoghurt a few hours later.

Another trick Esin showed me was to cover the yoghurt with a clean dish towel to absorb the excess water from the yoghurt. Squeeze out the dish towel whenever the yoghurt is taken out to use.

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Emine said...

I read all comments about yogurt and want to add my experience. I live in Dallas, TX, our AC is running all the time. when i make yogurt i place it in the oven (oven is off)so it won't get effected from cool air and it turns out good.
Bye the way love your recepies.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the milk for the yogurt also pasturized?

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Yes, it is pasteurized.

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

Binnur - I'm wondering if you can help me. I am trying to find a recipe my Yaya use to make. It was a form of Tiropitakia's. She made it with Farina and no cheese. She also did not make it in triangles, but in a 9 x9 baking dish, it also had a little egg in it. She also use to put a small amount of ground chuck in it. We always just called it "Pita". I'm assuming it was a Turkish way of making Tiropitakia. Does this sound familar to you?

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Binnur said...

Hi Chris,
I am not sure if it looks like Tiropitakia:) It seems totally different recipe to me.

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Foehre said...


I have been making this yogurt everyday now since I found the recipe around two weeks ago.
Amazing recipe!
So easy and the yogurt becomes delicious.
I boil it for some time until a semi-thick skin has developed on top and it threatens to overflow. It becomes super-creamy!
Of course I also have to add that I live in tropical Colombia, where temperatures under 27 degrees celsius are rare and I suppose that helps a lot too.
I am really grateful for this recipe, because here there is no "yogurt culture" and the only yogurt sold is half liquid and sweetened. Coming originally from Austria, where plain yogurt is a staple for cooking I missed it quite a lot!
And I love turkish food, so I will check this blog more often in future!

Thank you and greetings,



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