How to Make Yogurt

Making yogurt for your family is fun and easy: add bacteria to milk and let it work. However, there are some steps particular to each type of culture and milk. 

When choosing a yogurt starter, consider how each type works, and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.

Yogurt making does not require any specialized equipment. This basic supply list can be helpful when starting out.

 

Preparing the Milk for Making Yogurt

The procedure for culturing a batch of pasteurized mesophilic yogurt does not require any heat, but for pasteurized thermophilic yogurt, the milk must be heated to 160ºF, then cooled to culturing temperature, 110ºF, before adding the starter culture.

To make raw milk yogurt, with any type of culture, there are special considerations, and an extra step may be required.


Inoculating the Milk 

Using the correct proportion of culture to milk is important. The proper amount of culture will provide a nutritious environment for the bacteria to culture and thicken the milk properly. Follow the instructions included with your starter, for best results.

 

Culturing the Milk

The temperature of the culturing yogurt should remain fairly constant, and the yogurt should not be disturbed as it cultures. Maintain 105-112ºF for thermophilic yogurt or 70-77ºF for mesophilic yogurt. 

Try these tips for Maintaining Temperature when Culturing Countertop Yogurt. Or learn How to Culture Thermophilic Yogurt without a Yogurt Maker


Culturing time is important to making good yogurt. 
The amount of time the yogurt cultures depends on taste and texture preference. In general, the longer yogurt cultures, the more tart and thick it will be. Toward the limit of culturing time, the yogurt may begin to separate into solid (curds) and liquid (whey). The whey is quite nutritious and can be strained off to use in cooking or culturing, or it can be stirred back in to the yogurt.


Separation is usually the result of yogurt's culturing either too long or too fast. Once yogurt begins to separate, it is not long before the bacteria will begin to die off.

There is a 2-hour cooling-off period for thermophilic yogurt, to help ease the transition between culturing temperature and refrigerator temperature. Finished yogurt should be refrigerated for at least 6 hours to halt the culturing process.

Once the fermentation has been stopped, it will not restart even if the milk is brought back to room temperature.

If a thicker yogurt is preferred, draining whey from the finished yogurt is another option. Draining whey produces thick, Greek-style yogurt. For more thickening ideas, see our article on Adding Thickeners to Yogurt.

 

Ready for Instructions and Videos on Culturing Yogurt?


                                                
   
Yogurt with Fruit


Related Articles & Recipes:

 

Related Products:

Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Yogurt Starters
Basic Thermometer Basic Thermometer
The Home Creamery Book The Home Creamery

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