Bulgarian yogurt is one of the most popular yogurt varieties in the world! And the good news is that it's easy to make at home for a fraction of the cost of commercial varieties!

Our how-to video contains step-by-step instructions on how to make Bulgarian yogurt using a Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Culture. With the proper care, you can make batch after batch of Bulgarian yogurt using this starter culture.

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Before Getting Started

To make Bulgarian yogurt with our freeze-dried Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Culture you will need to first activate the starter culture. You can then use yogurt from the activation batch to culture yogurt on a regular basis.

Instructions for activating the yogurt starter and making yogurt on a regular basis are below. Let's get started!

What You'll Need

Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Culture

The Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Culture is an heirloom-style culture. Unlike direct-set starter cultures, which are single-use cultures (1 packet of starter can make 1 batch of yogurt), an heirloom culture is re-usable, meaning, that with the proper care, you can use it to make batch after batch of yogurt - indefinitely!

Milk

You can use nearly any type of dairy milk to make Bulgarian yogurt, but for best results, we recommend using whole pasteurized milk.

Avoid ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk when making yogurt. You can learn more about different milks for yogurt making, in our article Choosing Milk for Making Yogurt.

If you'd prefer to use raw milk, please review these Special Considerations for Making Raw Milk Yogurt.

Yogurt Maker or Other Appliance

The Bulgarian Yogurt Starter Culture is a heirloom thermophilic (heat-loving) culture which means it will require a yogurt maker or other appliance to keep the milk warm during culturing.

While there are a number of yogurt makers available, you can also culture yogurt without one. Here are some ideas for other ways to incubate your milk during the culturing process.

Other Supplies

In addition to the above staples, you will also need:

 

Our Basic Supply List for Making Yogurt covers more tools that can be helpful in the yogurt making process.

MAKING Bulgarian YOGURT

Activate the Yogurt Starter

The first step to making Bulgarian yogurt at home is activating the starter culture. Occasionally the activation batch may have a very thin consistency, it may even be liquid and that's perfectly fine. The texture and consistency will even out over the next several batches.

  1. Slowly heat 1 quart of pasteurized milk to 160°F. 
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool to 110°F.
  3. Add 1 packet of starter culture and mix well.
  4. Pour milk into containers, cover the mixture, and incubate it at 110°F for 5-12 hours in a yogurt maker or similar appliance.
  5. Check after 5 hours to see if it has set. If it has not set, leave it for up to 12 hours, checking every 30-60 minutes. Once it has set, or at the end of 12 hours, turn off the yogurt maker, cover the yogurt and allow it to cool for 2 hours.
  6. Refrigerate the yogurt for at least 6 hours. You can eat it at any time (refrigerating helps set the yogurt).
  7. Don’t forget to save 2-3 Tbsp. for culturing the next batch!

Make Regular Batches of Bulgarian Yogurt

To keep your yogurt starter healthy, you'll want to make a new batch of yogurt at least once a week using the steps below. It is very similar to the activation process, but this time you will be using yogurt from the previous batch as the starter.

  1. Slowly heat 1 quart of pasteurized milk to 160°F. 
  2. Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool to 110°F.
  3. Add 2-3 Tbsp. of yogurt from the previous batch (per quart of milk) and mix well.

For Larger Batches: You can make up to 2 quarts of yogurt per container, but keep your ratios consistent - too much yogurt starter can lead to bitter, grainy yogurt.

  1. Pour the milk into the container(s), cover the mixture, and culture for 5-8 hours at 110°F. After 5 hours, check the yogurt frequently by tilting the jar gently. If the yogurt moves away from the side of the jar in one mass instead of running up the side, it is finished culturing.
  2. Once it has set, allow it to cool for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, refrigerate it for at least 6 hours before eating.
  4. Don’t forget to save 2-3 Tbsp. for culturing the next batch!

Straining the Yogurt to Thicken It

To achieve the traditional Greek-style yogurt consistency, you'll need to strain the whey from the yogurt. (Check out ideas for using leftover whey here!)

  1. Pour yogurt into a Yogurt Strainer.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for few hours.
  3. Store the yogurt once it has achieved the desired consistency.

 

You can learn more ways to thicken homemade yogurt in our tutorial on Thickening Homemade Yogurt which outlines different thickener options.

Troubleshooting Homemade Yogurt

While making your own yogurt only requires a few supplies and a bit of know how, if it's your first time making yogurt at home, we understand that you might run into some hiccups along the way. Read through our Yogurt Starter Troubleshooting FAQ and feel free to reach out if you still need a helping hand. You can do this!

What's Next?

Try using your homemade yogurt in our favorite recipes below or try one of these flavoring ideas!