How to Make Yogurt: Everything You Need To Know

Simon King
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What Is Yogurt?

You can easily make homemade yogurt with just one ingredient. The key ingredient is milk. Processed or raw milk both work. It all starts with that one ingredient. Make sure you use the best quality yogurt you can find. You can also use organic milk if you prefer. Once you find a yogurt you like, stick with that brand or type so that you can make yogurt consistently. The results will also be more consistent.

The process is as simple as tossing your bagged milk in the oven. Place the bag of milk in a deep, oven-proof dish. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Once the bag is in the dish, wrap the entire dish with cheesecloth to get a tight seal. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can substitute a waterproof tape. Make sure a pot holder is near with a kitchen towel attached to it. The cheesecloth will get extremely hot with the milk. Don’t let the cheesecloth burn your hand.

Place the covered dish in the oven that is preheated to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the oven to preheat with the milk in it. Let sit for thirty minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door open a bit.

History Of Yogurt

Yogurt is probably the most common name for a food item that doesn’t have one. In our modern age, it refers to a beverage made by fermenting milk and adding bacteria cultures. When this product was first created in Turkey some 3000 years ago, it was called kishk in Turkish. The name kishk actually refers to a group of fermented food items that are made with different kinds of grains, seeds, and legumes.

The earliest recorded use of kishk as a food item was around 6000 B.C. Kishk became a staple during the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans and continued on as an important part of their diet until about 200 A.D. At that point, the use of kishk dropped off drastically. In fact, it disappeared off the map of Europe until the Arabs reintroduced it about 1000 years later.

Kishk dishes were made with a variety of items like lentils, chickpeas, and wheat bran. The use of yogurt in kishk meals is not documented until the 13th century. It was so deeply woven into Middle Eastern culture by that time that its name stuck.

How Yogurt Culture Helped Feed The Mediterranean World

When it comes to nutrition, yogurt is one of the most versatile foods you can eat. The texture and nutrients of yogurt make it a great meal supplement for both children and adults.

Yogurt is also a versatile food you can use in everything from smoothies and milkshakes to sauces and salad dressings. Store-bought yogurt can help you cut calories and add healthy probiotics to your diet. It can even help you sleep better. What’s not to like about fermented milk?

What most of us don’t realize is that yogurt has been around for thousands of years and has an amazing cultural history. First, yogurt wasn’t invented by refrigeration. It was invented by bacterial culture.

Yogurt was invented by the nomadic tribes of the steppes. It was a way to make milk and dairy products available anywhere. As grazing land moved with the seasons, so did the people. When the nomads migrated, they carried with them the milk and yogurt they had made and stored during the summer months.

Easy to transport, yogurt helped extend seasonal grazing and made it possible for followers to always receive milk.

What Is Greek Yogurt?

Greek yogurt is yogurt where the whey has been drained off. The result is a thicker yogurt that has more protein and less lactose.

How Is Yogurt Made And How Does A Yogurt Maker Help?

Making yogurt isn’t rocket science. It’s a process that has been around for centuries. However, when it comes to making yogurt at home, there is much more to it than just adding milk to a bowl and leaving it in a warm place.

Yogurt is made using a starter culture. A starter culture is a mixture of beneficial bacteria that you introduce into the milk to transform it into yogurt. There are different types of starter cultures, and many come in a pre-measured packet. Using a starter culture is quick and easy – just throw it in the milk before you introduce the mixture into the yogurt maker.

But to make yogurt, you don’t need a yogurt maker. When you add the starter culture to the milk, you can simply stick it in the fridge to make your own homemade yogurt. However, if you enjoy making delicious, homemade yogurt, a yogurt maker can provide several benefits. It allows you to make yogurt at home easily, effortlessly, and in large quantities. It helps you save money as you don’t have to buy costly yogurt every time you want to enjoy this healthy treat. And there is something quite relaxing about being able to watch your yogurt maker in action and enjoy yogurt at the end of your work day.

How Do Yogurt Makers Work?

When making yogurt, the yogurt maker usually consists of a heating element that warms up a thermostat with a thermometer that is the temperature control mechanism. The thermostat, which is the thermostatic or on/off switch, then sends a current to the heating element, which is the power source. The heating element then heats up the thermostat to the desired temperature. The heating element will cycle on and off while the power remains. A timer is also usually built in so that when the time is up, the heating element will shut off.

In addition, some yogurt makers will come with a light that flashes when it is time to add the milk to the yogurt maker. Usually, the milk you use will not need to be heated, as it will be added to lukewarm rather than boiling hot milk.

Thermophilic And Mesophilic Yogurt Cultures

Generally, two types of yogurt cultures are used. The first one is a culture that works at a temperature of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit and is suitable for yogurt made from cow, goat, and sheep milk.

This is the one you want if you are going to use cow, goat, or sheep milk and create yogurt with a classic taste.

You can create a yogurt from other animal milks, but it will have a different taste and texture from traditional yogurt. The taste is due to not using the initial culture that produces the yogurt taste, and the texture is due to the high amounts of butterfat in goat, sheep, and other milks.

The second culture is a culture suitable for use with regular grocery store milk and is meant for the making of a much thicker Greek yogurt. If you want to create a thicker yogurt with stronger flavor, this is the culture you want to use.

Thermophilic Cultures – Milk

The Thermophilic Culture is a live culture of bacteria that’s added to the milk to produce a thicker consistency. It’s also added during the heating process to produce a thicker consistency in the milk. You might also hear it called a “Milk Clarifier”.

When milk sours, the bacteria naturally in the milk convert the milk sugar to lactic acid. The Microbial Enzyme kick starts the process by converting it to glucose. Initially, it works faster and then slows down as the pH increases. More Microbial Enzymes are used for longer during the cooling process.

The yogurt made with Thermophilic Culture is less acidic than yogurt made with Lactogluconase. Also, the yogurt with Thermophilic Culture usually has less whey after cooling. Therefore, the yogurt is a bit thicker and heartier because the fats and proteins are preserved better. On the flip side, the texture is less creamy because the Microbial Enzyme isn’t present during the heating process. If you prefer creamier yogurt, your best bet is to go with yogurt made from Lactogluconase.

Mesophilic Cultures – Milk

Mesophilic cultures are made in *warm* temperatures between 86° F (30 °c) and 110-113° F (43-45 °c).

Mesophilic practioners are the yogurt cultures that predate the previously mentioned thermophilic cultures. They are of course, also in use today which is why you often also hear the term mesophilic yogurt.

Mesophilic starters are the more traditional method of making yogurt and this is still very commonly used.

They tend to make very thick and creamy yogurt which sets quite well.

Generally speaking, people make their mesophilic yogurt from store-bought, plain yogurt or from fresh goat's milk that is first cultured using a thermophilic starter. That said, there are ways to make your own mesophilic yogurt strains.

If you're less concerned about having specific strains and you'd rather have a go-to method for making great tasting, easy to handle yogurt then you can keep reading.

Once you've got your starter, you'll need to feed it before you use it to make your yogurt.

You'll have to give it two feedings before you begin making yogurt with it.

What Type Of Milk Is Used?

There are two main types of milk commonly used to make yogurt – whole milk and low-fat milk.

Whole milk yogurt generally has a rich and creamy texture that makes it ideal for adding to fruit smoothies.

Depending on when and for how long the yogurt is fermented, the flavor can vary greatly from mild to sour, tart, or tangy, much like fresh cheeses.

Low-fat or skimmed milk is also a great option for making yogurt. Since the milk is lower in fat, you’ll find the yogurt is often a bit thinner.

This works really well when making yogurt parfaits for breakfast.

The result is often higher in protein, lower in fat and calories, and lower in lactose. When fats and lactose are removed from milk, you’ll find the final yogurt has a very low glycemic index. This means it is much more suitable for people with diabetes. Low-fat yogurt is also a helpful option for people who wish to lose weight or maintain weight loss. It still delivers the creamy texture and thick, luxurious mouth-feel, but it has fewer calories and fat.

How to Make Yogurt with Mammalian Milk

Probiotic yogurt is a great addition to any diet. It contains healthy bacteria that is good for digestive health. These bacteria help with the breakdown of foods, making them easier to absorb. It also helps with nutrient absorption and keeps harmful bacteria at bay. People who have lactose intolerance or are allergic to cow's milk can still eat yogurt made from goat's or sheep's milk. The taste may be a bit different, but it still contains all of the goodness of yogurt.

Making your own yogurt is fairly easy and inexpensive. The most expensive part will be the jars or the storage containers, but you can save majorly by using recycled aluminum containers, glass jars, or plastic containers that once held your favorite food products.

You will need the following equipment to make yogurt with mammalian milk:

  • small saucepan
  • thermometer
  • glass jars (see above for alternatives)
  • clean towels
  • milk
  • yogurt starter
  • large container with lid (if not using a yogurt machine)

Soy And Other Plant Milk

In addition to cow’s milk, it is possible to make yogurt from other sources of milk, such as soy or almond milk.

Soy milk is a good choice for cow’s milk intolerant yogurts because it is easy to digest and very nutritious. It also contains fewer allergens than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest.

Also, yogurt makers are available for making yogurt with soy milk, making it easy to get along with your favorite yogurt. Yogurt is easier to make with soy milk because it is already homogenized, meaning that it has already been pasteurized and can be made into yogurt with simple straining and regular heating.

Almond milk is thick and rich. It is easy to combine with lemon juice and honey to create a yogurt-like product that is rich in calcium, vitamin A, and E. It is also a great source of iron, potassium, riboflavin, and other nutrients.

Controlling The Mixture For Different Results

The main ingredients in yogurt are milk and starter culture. You also add water and then incubate the yogurt. Once the incubation period is complete, you will have yogurt in the pot you used to incubate.

The process of making yogurt is generally a simple one and you can get good results with very little trial and errors. It’s very easy to get the basic mixture right. It’s what you do next that counts when it comes to the final results.

If you want to change the consistency of your yogurt and have it be more gel-like, you’ll want to add powdered milk. However, the flavor of powdered milk can be overpowering sometimes. Another option is to purchase yogurt with gelatin in it rather than powdered milk to get the consistency you like.

If you’re looking for a thinner consistency, you can add white sugar to your yogurt. It will thin down, giving you a less heavy yogurt, which is preferred by some people. Using whole milk and whole milk powder will yield a very thick yogurt, so it can be helpful to have a pot to strain the yogurt. A yogurt strainer is a great device for this, just make sure to use it immediately after the incubation period is over and serve the yogurt right away.

Temperature

Make sure to have a thermometer at home. The temperature needs to be as hot as 42 to 45 Celsius. Higher than that can draw bacteria and make your yogurt go bad.

For best results, keep your home at 22 Celsius and turn on the oven light to heat the kitchen. Place the thermometer inside the oven and turn it on.

Starting Culture

The most important ingredient for making your own yogurt at home is the culture. It is crucial to get the right one for the type of milk you want to use.

Yogurt cultures do not all work for all types of milk so you can’t just use any one. You must be very careful to use the right culture or your yogurt will not thicken up.

For cow’s milk yogurt culture, use a combination that contains Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus (or Lactobacillus bulgaricus). If you are using goat’s milk for your yogurt, you should use a culture containing Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies delbrueckii (or L. delbrueckii).

A variation of the cultures for cow’s milk yogurt can be used to make sheep’s milk yogurt. Use Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus helveticus or L. delbrueckii subspecies lactis in the culture. Propionic bacteria such as Lactococcus lactis can also be added to cultures for sheep’s milk yogurt.

Things To Watch Out For

When it comes to making your own yogurt, there are several different things that can go wrong. The most common mistake that first-timers make is to use milk that’s too hot.

If you heat up the milk too much, you may kill off the bacteria needed to turn your milk into yogurt.

Next, a big no-no is using yogurt starter designated for homemade yogurt and not for commercial yogurt.

The commercial starter includes a mix of beneficial bacteria that can help your homemade yogurt to gel. The only reason you would want to use commercial starter is that it’s a lot more reliable. Homemade starter often is culture-dependent and can work well for one batch and not so well for the other.

As soon as you are sure that you have a reliable starter, we recommend dedicating one starter to your homemade yogurt and using it only for this delicious food.

One more crucial thing is to sterilize the equipment you are using, such as the food processor, the glass jars, and so on.

The shelf life of your yogurt is going to be affected by the method you choose to sterilize your equipment.

Boiling and soaking implements in boiling hot water work well. Boiling can crack glass jars, though, so you better avoid them in this case.

Yeast Contamination

Yogurt is produced with a bacteria which requires no additional culture of yeast, therefore making it a safer product to make at home than some other cultured foods. That said, there’s always the risk of the yogurt becoming a victim of its own success and over-culture.

Many fermented products can face this peril and yogurt is no exception. If when you add the culture, for some reason, the product gets too hot or is left to ferment for too long, the resulting yogurt product can start to lactate. As this is not what you want to achieve here, it’s best to learn about the risks and symptoms of yeast contamination and how you can prevent it from spoiling your product.

First and foremost, your yogurt must be kept under the prescribed temperature range. The starter culture thrives at a temperature of between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit and ceases to grow in cooler conditions.

If the product is kept cooler than this, a layer of liquid may appear over the surface. This is due to the separation of whey, a by-product, from the dairy and it’s the first sign of yeast growth. It won’t infect the whole batch but one serving is enough to cause an off taste. The whole batch becomes spoiled and should be discarded if there is any sign of yeast contamination.

Other signs of yeast contamination include:

Raw Milk Produces Runny Yogurt

To get your yogurt to be a little runny, make sure that you are using raw milk and make sure that your yogurt maker has a thermostat.

You want the temperature of your milk to be at 110 degrees for a little while before you add your yogurt culture; otherwise, adding the yogurt culture to a hot batch of milk will actually cook it and make it less able to convert the lactose in the milk to lactic acid.

To incubate your yogurt. Allow the yogurt maker to keep the temperature around 110 degrees for about 4 hours or until you are satisfied with the consistency.

If your yogurt is too runny, you can either put it in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm it up, or you can strain it to remove some of the whey.

Grainy Yogurt Texture Due To Overheating

Our own experience tends to confirm this. If you try to heat the milk too much – for example when making a large batch of yogurt – the milk will boil and separate. This will create a grainy texture and affects the taste.

For this reason, it's best to heat the milk on medium heat until it reaches 180 degrees. After that, it's ready for adding the yogurt powder and the live culture.

To find out just how well this recipe works, check out our detailed tutorial on making normal yogurt where you can find out just how to get the perfect creamy texture.

Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Today you're going to learn how to make your own yogurt.

Don't believe me?

Hear me out…go to your fridge and pull out one of those little cartons that contain milk. Take a look at the expiration date. You'll notice that it says January 31st. Why? Because it was manufactured in October or November and it's not going to go bad before March.

In fact, do you know why more people don't hoard milk like they would with canned goods if they could? Because people know that the date refers to the date the milk was packaged by the dairy, not the date when it actually goes bad.

Here’s the truth: The expiration date on food doesn’t really mean very much at all.

Now your body is a different story, obviously. But food items are good way longer than you think.

So why throw that yogurt away just because it expired when it was suppose to still be good?

Let’s find out the answers to some of the most common questions that people have:

Do I have to have a yogurt maker to make yogurt?

No, there is no special gadget that you need to make yogurt. You can make it using your oven if you prefer. Just get a container with a cover and use it for the fermentation process.

Conclusion

Making yogurt with your homo yogurti machine is much easier than you could ever imagine. All it takes is just two minutes you can spend of your time and about two days of waiting before you get to have your first homemade yogurt. You don’t have to invest in a lot of equipments or follow a lot of steps you just need to add a few ingredients and press a button and in a few minutes you get your cup of creamy yogurt.

Remember that yogurt is very good for your health as it has a lot of probiotics in it which help fight any bad bacteria in your body and keep your immune system in good shape. It is also very rich in proteins and can be a great snack when you are on a diet. Before you go shopping for your yogurt milking machine, make sure you check out our best homo yogurti reviews and read the customers reviews to get a better idea.