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Feb 13, 2014 07:51 AM

French yogurt recipe


Google isn't being much of a friend. Does anybody have a detailed recipe of how to make french-style plain yogurt which is much more creamier than our US version?


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  1. I had no idea there was anything special about French yogurt, since French stores carry many types of different yogurts, from lean to creamy.

    This is how I do it at home: I always use raw Jersey milk and plain organic full-fat yogurt as starter. Boil Jersey milk, take off the heat, bring to a little-above-blood temperature . I do not use a thermometer but I dip my finger in the milk; if I can keep it in there for more than ten seconds, it is ready.
    Add the starter (1 tablespoonful for 1 quart of milk) and whisk for a few seconds. Pour into clean glass or earthenware jars (used jam jars are perfect).

    Meanwhile I have been boiling some water in a tajine dish (bottom part = cast iron, top part = ceramic; I cook on induction). The entire tajine should be very, very hot.

    Quickly take off the lid of the tajine, pour out the water, line the bottom with a piece of paper towel, place the jars on the towel, put on the lid, cover tightly with a folded blanket and forget it for 4 to 6 hours depending on the weather.

    The yogurt should be set. It will get firmer once refrigerated.
    Instead of a tajine, you may use a Dutch oven.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ptipois

      Thanks for this, Pti.

      I was guessing it is just a function of quality of milk.

      1. re: Ptipois

        I make my yogurt in a very similar fashion but while in paris, I had this yogurt - Ferme des peupliers

        It was much more creamier than the one I make. It's hard to describe it but it was even better than the faye greek yogurt. Not necessarily thicker but just creamier and overally, much more tastier

        1. re: eateat22

          Oh I see. That's definitely the quality of the milk. At Ferme des Peupliers they make their yogurt directly from their cows' milk, non-homogenized. That special taste you noticed is the taste of freshness.

          Other brands (available in supermarkets) are similarly creamy and delicious: Les Deux Vaches (produced in Savoie) and Le Péchalou (produced in Périgord, my favorite).

          Yogurt made by Mr. Gaborit is also available at Naturalia and it is fantastic. This is the one I always use as a starter.

          1. re: Ptipois

            Are those available in US stores? Btw, are you in france? Didn't know was popular there too

            1. re: eateat22

              It's not. It's almost unknown here. But I'm not the only French person here (yes I live in Paris).

              I have found some fantastic organic yogurt at a bakery in NYC, somewhere near the corner of W. 86th St and Columbus - but I can't find it on Google Maps.

              1. re: eateat22

                Pti did not answer your last query but I'll try, Chowhound is as popular in France as hamburgers and hot dogs but not yet cronuts.

                1. re: John Talbott

                  I did answer the OP's last query by "It's not. It's almost unknown here."
                  And being French I can safely tell: nobody here knows about Chowhound aside from US expats and a few stray cats like Souphie, Parnassien and me.
                  (We're keeping it secret so that we can keep misinforming pesky Yankees better.)

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      And perhaps a few restaurant owners.

          2. Alsa is a large baked-goods manufacturer who manufactures several different varieties of yogurt cultures for people to use in their home yogurt makers. I've no idea if you can buy it through the interwebs, but I buy a few boxes whenever I'm in France.

            It's definitely all in the cultures -- hope you can find it!

            Here's the French web page, just for reference:


            I buy the onctueux -- rich and creamy, with just the right tartness.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842

              sunshine - how do you store it? Does the culture need to be stored in the refrigerator and you can use 1 tsp at a time?


              1. re: eateat22

                Just in the cupboard -- it's sold in the dry baking aisle.

                It's packaged in one-batch sachets inside the little box.

            2. Yogurt is a living thing... I buy mine from a producer that is in the "Yvelines" (about 70km from Paris). I find his yogurt to be amazing taste-wise. Really fresh and clean, almost grassy but without being funky, the perfect amount of acidity... but the texture is always different, sometimes runny, sometimes creamy, sometimes light.
              He is doing it in small scale, and I can imagine that reproducing the same exact texture at home every time would be even more difficult.

              But yes, as many people pointed out, start with really good ingredients, and the result should be great regardless of the texture.

              1. The yogurt of my life was served as dessert, simple and unadorned but fastidiously fresh and house made of local sheep's milk at little Hotel Arcé in ST. Etienne de Baigorry.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mangeur

                  I've also had sheep's milk yogurt in the pays Basque (not mamia, and not the bland curds) and it was heavenly. Far superior to anything I've had elsewhere in France.

                  It was also made in Saint-Etienne de Baigorry so I suspect it may have come from Jeanine Etxeberria's farm in the same village.

                2. Does anybody know any online retailers in the US or that ship to the US to buy good french cultures?