How to Culture Yogurt without a Yogurt Maker

If you’ve come to love store-bought yogurt but not the price, then you might want to start to make your own yogurt at home for a fraction of the cost. You may also think that you are now in the market for a yogurt maker.

Not so fast! You actually do not need a yogurt maker to make good, homemade cultured yogurt. And while a yogurt maker may be nice, it can also be very pricey and maybe even disappointing if it doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped.

Furthermore, yogurt makers require energy resources that some do-it-yourselfers may not want to devote to simply making yogurt.

So making yogurt without a yogurt maker can save you not just money, but also the time and energy resources a maker takes to find and run. But how does one make yogurt without a yogurt maker?

How to Mimic a Yogurt Maker’s Environment

The great thing about a good yogurt maker is that it is fairly consistent in giving yogurt the environment it needs to culture properly.

The environment needed to culture yogurt includes:

  •  a consistent temperature between 105° and 112°F
  •  a place free of drafts
  •  the ability to culture without being shaken or disturbed.

It seems easy enough to mimic that, doesn’t it? There are many ways in which to culture yogurt with the above conditions in today’s home kitchen. Remember that for many years, yogurt was made traditionally before electricity was available.

How Yogurt Was Made before Electricity

Yogurt is believed to have originated somewhere near Bulgaria or the Caucasus. Of course when yogurt was first discovered it was most likely by accident and certainly not with the use of electricity.

Most likely the discovery of yogurt went something like this... A sheep or goat herder placed milk in a vessel that harbored some sort of friendly bacteria, unbeknownst to him. He placed his fresh milk in this vessel during a warm time of the year.

When he returned to this vessel to retrieve his milk, he discovered that the milk had soured into a thick consistency with a pleasantly tangy flavor. He then discovered that if he left a bit of the soured milk (yogurt) in the vessel and added more milk he could repeat the process with somewhat similar results.

And so yogurt was born, or discovered, depending on how you look at it.

So the original process of making yogurt was very simple and involved no special equipment or technology, which is exactly how you can make it at home.

Yogurt Maker Alternatives

There are many, many ways that people today can and have made yogurt without the use of yogurt makers. The first step is almost always the same, though. Heat a quart of milk to 180°F and allow it to cool to 110°F or, if you are using raw milk, simply heat the milk to 110°F. Then add about two tablespoons of cultured yogurt to the milk, mix, and incubate using one of the following methods:

 An insulated cooler + water. Place your milk with added cultures in jars (pint, quart, half-gallon, etc.). Place these jars in an insulated cooler. Pour warm water (about 105° to 115°F) into the cooler up to about 3/4 of the way up the jar. Cover lid tightly and wrap in a in a towel or blanket to maintain temperature. Incubate for 8 to 24 hours, checking water temperature if desired.

An insulated cooler + a heating pad. Place your milk with added cultures in jars (pint, quart, half-gallon, etc.). Place these jars in an insulated cooler. Place a heating pad on top of the jars in the cooler. Close the cooler lid as well as you can with the heating pad cord sticking through. Plug in the heating pad and turn to low for the 8- to 24-hour incubation period. You can also wrap the cooler in a blanket or towel if necessary.

A crock pot. Using this crock pot yogurt method you can heat the milk, cool the milk, and incubate the milk all in the same vessel. It is a very simple method that mimics the yogurt maker.

A pilot light on a gas stove. Wrap the bowl or jar that you have added the milk and cultures to in a thick towel. Place in a gas oven that has the pilot light turned on. Incubate for the desired 8 to 24 hours.

An electric oven with a light on. Wrap the bowl or jar that you have added the milk and cultures to in a thick towel. Place in an electric oven with the light turned on. Incubate for the desired 8 to 24 hours.

In a dehydrator. If you have a dehydrator that is shaped appropriately you can place your jar of warmed milk+cultures in the dehydrator at a temperature of 110°F and incubate for the desired number of hours.

On top of a warm appliance. Wrap the bowl or jar that you have added the milk and cultures to in a thick towel. Place on top of a refrigerator or next to a warm oven or wood stove and incubate for the desired amount of time.

In a Cooler Set in the Sun. Simply set your cooler filled with jars full of warm milk + cultures in the full sun of the day, assuming it isn’t too hot.

In a coffee thermos. Pour your warmed milk and cultures into a coffee thermos. Cover tightly, wrap in a towel, and incubate for the desired number of hours.

As you can see, there are many, many options for those who wish to make homemade yogurt without the cost of a yogurt maker. This will keep your homemade yogurt venture inexpensive and save you a bit of space in your kitchen.

 

 

 

                                                
   
Homemade Yogurt with Berries


Related Articles & Recipes:

 

Related Products:

Dairy Free Yogurt Starter Dairy-free Yogurt Starter
Yogurt Maker Yogurt Makers
Cotton Bag for Making Yogurt Cheese Lebneh
Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese

 

<table style="width: 506px;" border="0" align="left">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span> <br />
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Originally a simple fermented dairy product, yogurt now has many variations and personalities. It can be thin and runny, or thick and firm. It can be made from cow milk, goat milk, sheep milk, nut milk, soy milk, rice milk, and from numerous other creamy substances. In some countries the milk of buffalo, horses, yaks, or camels is used.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">For most of this discussion, we&rsquo;ll refer to yogurt in its original form: a fermented dairy milk. This was how yogurt was first developed, and most of the yogurt in the world is made this way.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Essentially yogurt is the product of beneficial bacteria fermenting milk and turning it into a thickened, acidic food that will stay fresh longer than milk itself, and that contains millions of bacteria that are welcomed by the human gut.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The History of Yogurt</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The word yogurt comes from a Turkish word meaning to curdle or to thicken. Today it is spelled yogurt, yoghurt, or yogourt, with yogurt being the most common American spelling.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">It&rsquo;s probable that the earliest yogurt was made by accident in Mesopotamia around 5,000 BC, when milk-producing animals were first domesticated. The milk was likely stored and transported in bags made from the stomachs of these animals, and the digestive juices and bacteria in the stomach linings made the milk coagulate and become acidic. Not only was it a new and interesting food, but the acidity and helped to keep it edible for longer</span> <span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">than if it had just sat out in a bowl or jar.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There is also some evidence of yogurt being used as a cleaning product and a beauty lotion as early as 2000 BC. The acidity of the yogurt helps clean away dirt and rust, and also helps clear away dead skin and nourish healthy skin cells.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt was a popular food in the Middle East for thousands of years, and has been a staple of the Eastern European diet. It&rsquo;s now eaten throughout the world, as a main course, a snack, an ingredient in many recipes, and a condiment. It has gained considerable popularity in America in the last forty or fifty years, in keeping with general trends toward organic, cultured, and nutrient-dense foods.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt can be mildly tart or quite sour, and can be thick enough to stand up on a plate, or thin enough to pour, or anywhere in between. It contains protein and calcium as well as a variety of vitamins. Additionally, the process of yogurt fermentation is very similar to the process of digestion, so it can be easily consumed.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Many people eat yogurt plain, while others prefer to mix it with fruits or vegetables, or to add flavors or sweeteners. It is used in a variety of recipes as a flavor enhancer or leavening, and frequently enjoyed as a refreshing drink.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Nutritional Content</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Not only does yogurt contain the same amount of protein and fat as the milk from which it is made, it also contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. While numerous claims have been made regarding the health benefits and digestibility of yogurt, we don&rsquo;t comment on medical, health, or nutritional qualities of our products. However, a great deal of research on the subject is readily available on the Internet and in dozens of books.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How is Yogurt Made?</span></strong></h1>
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">True yogurt is made from animal milk. Theoretically, the milk of any mammal could be used to make yogurt.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">With care, yogurt cultures can also be used to ferment and coagulate non-dairy &ldquo;milks&rdquo; such as the creamy liquid obtained from nuts, rice, soy, or coconut. While these products are technically not really yogurt, they can be used and enjoyed just like dairy yogurt, alone or in recipes.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Put very simply, the process of turning milk into yogurt involves fermentation. Certain types of bacteria act on the lactose (milk sugar) that is in milk, and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid lowers the pH of the milk, and causes the milk protein to coagulate and make a firm mass. The acidified milk is an inhospitable environment for destructive bacteria, so the yogurt stays fresh longer than untreated milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The bacteria that does this is called beneficial bacteria, because it supports digestion and is nourishing, as opposed to pathogenic (harmful) bacteria that causes disease. The beneficial bacteria is called probiotic. It&nbsp; is similar or identical to the type of bacteria that lives in the human gut and which is responsible for the process of food absorption. When you use live cultures, the probiotics stay in the yogurt, and the yogurt can then be used as a starter to make more yogurt.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt and Other Fermented Dairy Products</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There are many different ways that beneficial bacteria can be introduced to milk and make an entirely new food. The main difference between the different fermented dairy products is the bacteria used to make them, resulting in different flavors and consistencies.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Yogurt</em> can be cultured with a variety of different bacteria combinations, each of which gives the yogurt a characteristic taste and consistency. There are typically somewhere between the range of two to six different bacteria strains in yogurt, and they are similar to the bacteria found in the intestines.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Kefir</em> is a thickened milk made from little clumps of yeast, bacteria, and milk proteins that ferment the milk. There are about thirty different bacteria strains present in kefir grains. It has a slightly sour flavor and sometimes a faint effervescence. Koumiss is a similar product, made from mare&rsquo;s milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Buttermilk</em> is the name given to the whey that&rsquo;s left over when butter is made, but it more commonly refers to a milk drink made by adding bacteria to low-fat milk, producing a thickened product with a tangy flavor.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Sour cream</em> is cream or high-fat milk that&rsquo;s been cultured and thickened. It&rsquo;s very slightly sour, and usually quite thick. It was originally made by letting fresh cream thicken naturally as a result of fermentation from the bacteria present in the cream. When cream is pasteurized and has no natural bacteria present, it must be fermented with added bacteria.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Cr&egrave;me fraiche</em> is a European-style sour cream, slightly sweeter than what we are used to in America. It&rsquo;s also made by letting raw cream thicken naturally, or by adding buttermilk cultures to cream. Cr&egrave;me fraiche can be heated without curdling, unlike sour cream.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">In recipes, you can often substitute one cultured milk product for another and get similar results. In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a thin, tart yogurt and a thick, sour kefir or a creamy buttermilk!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Soft and hard cheeses</em> are also made by culturing milk over a longer period of time. Some cheeses can be easily made by straining the moisture out of yogurt or sour cream, while others require additional fermentation and culturing steps.</span></p>
<ul>
</ul>
<ul>
</ul>
<ul>
</ul>
<ol> </ol>
<p><br /><br /></p>
</td>
<td>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; <br /></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>&nbsp;</td>
<td>&nbsp;</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<table style="width: 200px;" border="0" align="left">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td colspan="2"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Greek_Yogurt_200px_1.jpg" alt="Yogurt" /><br /></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="2">
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"><br /><strong>Related Articles &amp; Recipes:</strong></span></p>
<ul>
<li><a title="Yogurt Making How-to Videos" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-videos#yogurt_video" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt Making How-to Videos</span></a></li>
<li><a title="How to Make Lebneh" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-make-lebneh-yogurt-cheese" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How to Make Lebneh (aka Yogurt Cheese)</span></a><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">&nbsp;</span></li>
<li><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"><a title="Yogurt FAQ" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/expert-advice/Yogurt-Starter-FAQ.html" target="_blank">Yogurt FAQ</a><br /></span></li>
</ul>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td colspan="2">
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Related Products:</span></strong></p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Bulgarian_75px.jpg" alt="Bulgarian Yogurt Starter" /></a></td>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Yogurt Starter</span></a></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Yogurt Makers" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kitchen-appliances-1/yogurt-makers.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Euro_Cuisine_Yogurt_Maker_YM80_75px.jpg" alt="Yogurt Maker" /></a></td>
<td><a title="Yogurt Starter" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/starter-cultures/yogurt-starter.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;"></span></a><a title="Yogurt Makers" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kitchen-appliances-1/yogurt-makers.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt Makers</span></a></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td><a title="Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cotton-bag-for-making-soft-cheese.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://cdn.culturesforhealth.com/media//Soft_Cheese_Bag_75px.jpg" alt="Cotton Bag for Making Yogurt Cheese Lebneh" /></a><br /></td>
<td><a title="Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese" href="http://www.culturesforhealth.com/cotton-bag-for-making-soft-cheese.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva;">Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese</span></a></td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>

Free eBook Library Access & Weekly Newsletter


Sign up today for free access to our entire library of easy to follow eBooks on creating cultured foods at home, including Lacto-Fermentation, Kombucha, Kefir, Yogurt, Sourdough, and Cheesemaking.
  • Library of eBooks for making your own cultured foods
  • Weekly newsletter filled with tips & tricks
  • Expert advice articles, recipes, and how-to videos
  • Join 140,000+ other health-conscious readers
  • We never share your information!
first name last name email address