What you should NEVER do when making yoghurt at home + coconut yoghurt recipe

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Ever since my good friend Jac told me about her favourite coconut yoghurt, I’ve been a little obsessed with figuring out how to make my own. Actually, thinking about it, yoghurt making has been on my radar for a lot longer than that.

You see, I love fermented foods (and beverages). At uni I majored in food microbiology and for my honours thesis delved into the bacterial populations of blue vein and camembert cheeses. Partially so I could play around with bacteria but mostly so I had an excuse to eat more cheese.

Then there were a few wayward years as a wine maker where I got up close and personal with more strains of yeast and lactic acid bacteria than I’d bargained for.

But I digress. Back to yoghurt.

Making yoghurt is something I always knew I’d do, one day.

And that day has come!

Over the last few months I’ve been perfecting my yoghurt making skills of both regular milk based yoghurt, and the more exotic coconut yoghurt.

The thing is, it’s no where near as complicated as you’d imagine. I’m kicking myself a little for not starting sooner.

So what should you NEVER do when making yoghurt at home?

Simple. You should never be tricked into thinking you need to go out and buy any specific equipment.

No ‘yoghurt makers’ need apply.

What do you need?

1. A Thermometer.
Yoghurt making bacteria are delicate souls, a bit like Goldilocks, they need their temperature to be ‘just right’ and the only way to tell if it’s OK is to measure. My Irishman recently purchased a fast reading digital thermometer for testing meat on the BBQ and it works a treat moonlighting as a yoghurt thermometer.

2. Some clean jars.
I prefer glass but plastic containers are fine too. Just make sure they’re clean. Fresh from the dishwasher is ideal.

3. A chiller bag or esky.
We need to keep our yoghurt nice and cosy for 8 hours or so. This used to put me off making yoghurt as I was worried about keeping the temperature constant. The thing is, it doesn’t need to be exact. I have a small insulated ‘cooler’ bag that does the job nicely. At a stretch you could just wrap your jars in some foil and then bundle them up in towels.

4. A starter culture.
I’ve been using a powdered culture that I picked up at my health food store. Or you could try using a few tablespoons of commercial natural yoghurt – but there’s a risk the bacteria won’t be still alive. So I haven’t tried that yet.

UPDATE: I’ve had lots of success with using my previous batch of yoghurt as a culture for my new yoghurt. And the yoghurt tends to set more quickly than when using dried culture. And it’s much cheaper! I use about 4-6 tablespoons in a 2L batch of yoghurt.

I’ve also read that you can use the powder in probiotic capsules but haven’t experimented with them yet either.

5. Milk.
Cows or coconut milk work well. Although there’s no reason why you couldn’t use goat’s milk, sheep milk or even buffalo if you have it at your disposal.

UPDATE: I had some failure using A2 milk, the yoghurt just didn’t thicken properly. I’m now sticking to regular milk.

I haven’t tried soy, rice or almond milk but if there’s enough protein they should work. Or you could try them using the coconut yoghurt recipe below. I’d love to hear how you get on if you do!

homemade yoghurt2

coconut yoghurt
makes a little over 3 cups

Coconut milks and creams vary hugely in their fat content which really tells you how much water has been added. I’ve used unsweetened coconut ‘cream’ that has about 20% fat. Higher fat coconut cream will give a thicker, richer yoghurt. And of course you’ll get a less thick yoghurt with a lower fat coconut milk.

Don’t stress about it too much but you might need to try a few different brands before you find one you’re happy with.

2 cans coconut milk or cream (400g / 14oz), approx 20% fat
40g (1.5oz) egg white powder
1 teaspoon yoghurt culture

1. Combine coconut milk/cream and egg white powder in a medium saucepan. You’ll have some lumps.

2. Gently heat to 43C (110F).

3. Place 1 tablespoon coconut mixture in a clean cup. Add the culture powder and stir until it forms a (lumpy) paste. Add a little more coconut milk then stir the culture into the main saucepan.

4. Pour into glass jars and top with a lid.

5. Place in a chiller bag or esky and leave in a warm place for about 12 hours.

6. Pop in the fridge and leave for another day before eating.

no egg white powder? – You should be able to find it online or a cake decorating supplier. Whole egg powder would be fine, although it will change the flavour. Don’t use fresh egg whites as they may contain salmonella. The yoghurt is still lovely without it, just a lot less thick.

vegan – skip the egg white powder and be prepared for a runnier (but still delicious!) yoghurt

short on time? – the yoghurt can be eaten after the first 12 hours, but the flavour and texture are thicker and more yoghurty after the extra day in the fridge.

using powdered coconut milk? – mix it up with boiling water then cool to 43C (110F). Then add the egg white powder and proceed as per the recipe.


video version of the recipe


homemade yoghurt

cows milk yoghurt
makes 8 cups

This may seem like a lot of yoghurt but it will keep for a month or so in the fridge. Even though there are only 2 of us, we haven’t had any problems eating it up!

I’ve found that adding a little full cream milk powder gives a much nicer, creamier yoghurt and is totally worth the hassle. If using fresh milk, you’ll need to ‘sterilise’ it before adding the culture. This involves heating to 83C (180F) and holding for 5 minutes. UPDATE: I’ve been experimenting with skipping the sterilising step and haven’t had any failures yet, so feel free to skip it if you aren’t worried about possible contamination in your milk.

2L (8 cups) full fat milk
100g (3.5oz) full cream milk powder, optional
2 teaspoons yoghurt culture

1. Whisk together milk and milk powder in a medium saucepan. Don’t stress if there are lumps.

2. Place over a medium heat and warm, stirring frequently until the temperature reaches 83C (180F). Hold at that temp for about 5 minutes. Or skip this step and go to step 3.

3. Cool to 43C (110F). I pop the saucepan in a baking dish filled with cold water and a chiller brick or ice.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of the tepid milk in a cup. Add the culture powder and stir until it forms a (lumpy) paste. Add a little more milk then stir the culture into the main saucepan.

4. Pour into glass jars and top with a lid.

5. Place in a chiller bag or esky and leave in a warm place for about 12 hours.

6. Refrigerate.

no full cream milk powder? – Regular milk will work.

vegan – see the coconut yoghurt recipe above.

short on time? – see the head note for how to use UHT milk and skip the heating step.

super creamy – add in a cup of whipping cream or double the milk powder.


video version of the recipe


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Sharon July 31, 2012 at 12:11 am

I wanted to test my probiotic’s potency and just for curiosity’s sake tried to make coconut milk yogurt. I just mixed 2 capsules with 1 can milk, covered and let sit for approx 12-24 hours (don’t exactly remember)… I live in Tx and since it is hot here I just put it behind my crockpot which was on high and I did not do anything further. Then, put in the fridge for another 24 hours. The yogurt tasted a lot like sour cream and was soooo delicious to someone who has not had any dairy for 8 years. Then I got on the net and some say it is absolutely essential to heat the coconut milk first to an exact temp to kill off bad bacteria. Do you see this as necessary since it is canned milk? Also, my coconut milk says consume within 2 days of opening. Do you think the fermentation process will extend this out some… it is really tart and thus, I guess, the pH has been significantly lowered by the lacto-fermentation.

jules July 31, 2012 at 8:57 am

Hi Sharon
So glad you’re enjoying!
Definitely no need to sterilise canned coconut milk, unless the can has been opened and sitting around for a few days.
You’re right about the lower pH extending the shelf life. I will last for at least a few weeks, possibly longer.

Susan August 12, 2012 at 2:37 am

I read, with interest, your blog on yogurt. Years ago, I made all my own yogurt. My kids were raised on it. Now, one of my daughters lives in Cambodia. I am thinking she might want to try your coconut yogurt.

You mentioned some yogurts are a bit runny. One thing we always did was to add 1 cup of powdered milk to the mixture. It thickened the yogurt nicely.

Thanks for sharing this!

jules August 13, 2012 at 6:52 am

Thanks for sharing your yoghurt story Susan

ryan January 14, 2013 at 9:40 am

I’m also in Cambodia and love making probiotics. I have yoghurt and kombuscha going.

sue August 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Hi Jules,

Just about to attempt your yogurt recipe but wanted to ask how much to use if using a live culture vs powdered culture?

My friend is giving me some live culture so I wanted to find out how many spoonfuls to add to make 1kg of yogurt.

Look forward to your reply.


jules August 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hi Sue!
It really depends on how concentrated the live culture is.. I usually use 3-4 tablespoons of old yoghurt… but the amount isn’t so critical… if you add more there will be more bacteria so it will ferment quicker where as less will take longer but it will still get there.

Good luck!

Daniel April 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Hey Jules and Sue,
I did it and bought a machine that’s good at maintaining a constant temperature. In the instructions manual it says that if you’re using a live culture as a starter, you should only do this once. I’m wondering why. I always imagined making yoghurt with live starter akin to making sour dough bread. Any insights?

Angeline August 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I too have been delving into the adventurous world of yoghurt making, it’s fun. My 7 year old will not eat commercially made yoghurt, says its too sweet (I smile). I mostly use left over yoghurt to start the next batch, occasionaly there is a dud with no known cause (use that up making pancakes or scones though). I love to read about other techniques and am eager to try your coconut yoghurt, thank you for sharing, the video is just great!

jules August 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I think the ‘duds’ happen when you get other strains of bacteria taking over Angeline.. nothing to worry about though.
And you’re right! It’s so much fun

Deb September 3, 2012 at 3:29 am

Thanks for the coconut milk recipe; we’re trying a dairy-free ED for my older child to see if we can’t conquer some chronic eczema without the heavy-duty steroids the doctors want to use, so since we already use tons of coconut stuff at home (and because I’ve been making my own yogurt for ages – we go thru a gallon a week easy!), I figured a search for a recipe wouldn’t hurt.

When I make my dairy yogurt, while I heat most of the gallon of organic milk, I reserve maybe a pint in a separate jar (jelly jar or mason jar) and sprinkle a packet of unflavored gelatin over it and let it dissolve into that milk. (I also let the milk jug drain into that jar so I get the stubborn drops instead of washing them down the drain before I recycle. LOL) Once my milk reaches 180, I ladle a bit of the hot milk into the mason jar and shake it up to make sure I get any undissolved gelatin mixed in and then add it back into the pot of milk. Unless I mess up something else, my yogurt comes out pretty creamy; even my kids tell me they like the texture better than yogurt with commercial thickeners like guar gum. :-) Just another way to thicken, which I’ll also probably use for my coconut milk yogurt recipe.

Tash Page September 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Oh ive just tried a similar recipe today, apart from not using the egg white powder… i hope its not tooooo runny! So if after 12 hours its not set, should i just put it in the fridge anyway? I guess i could use it in smoothies if it doesnt set?

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:14 am

Hi Tash
If it’s not set, leave it out a little longer… and yes smoothies are a good solution for runny yoghurt!

Corrie September 7, 2012 at 7:27 am

Thanks so much for your recipe and guidance- your experience in the food science world is very valuable! And the pictures you add are so beautiful – thanks for your great website.

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

Thanks Corrie!

Ryan September 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Hi, I’m in Japan and I’m trying to make this coconut yogurt. I don’t have access bacteria starters or natural coconut yogurt here. Would it be possible for me to mix regular yogurt into coconut milk to make coconut yogurt? How would I go about doing this? What proportions would I use?

Thanks in advance

jules September 15, 2012 at 1:02 am

Yes using yoghurt as your starter should work.
I’d use about 3 tablespoons starter for 4 cups of coconut milk.
Good luck!

Cat September 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

i have a few questions.
1. Why is it important to sterilize containers used for making yoghurt?
2. What are ‘good’ bacteria?
3. Why do people thing ‘good’ bacteria are good things?
4. Why are some people who can’t drink milk still able to eat yoghurt?
5. Find out what chemical reactions are happening in your yoghurt mixture?
a. What types of bacteria are used for yoghurt making?
b. Why might the yoghurt taste slightly sour?
c. What is happening to the sugars in the milk?
d. What is the benefit of converting milk to yoghurt?
e. Suggest why a lid is put over container when making yoghurt.
f. How do large producers ensure there is no contamination by other bacteria and moulds?
g. Why is it important?
h. What is the difference between stirred and set yoghurt?

Bogon Moff December 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

Ahhhh, the ol’ use the blog comments to crowdsource answers to homework tasks trick….

Great writeup, definitely inspired me to try making some, today!

pren10 April 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm

1. Because bacteria scares people. Or it should
2. Good bacteria are little soldiers that fight for you instead of against. Without many strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria and a few others, your digestive system would not work very well.
3. That’s why it’s called good bacteria, there are only so many inches of surface area in your stomach, if it is not covered by good bacteria, it will be taken over by the bad kind resulting in disease.
4.people who can’t eat milk mostly differ from lactose intolerance, yogurt eats up the lactose, or breaks it all down.
5. I add flora cultures to my yogurts so I end up with 10-12 strains, I then pour it into a cheese cloth and let it sit to allow the whey to drain off. Nice yogurt.

Mary September 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

I’ve read you should use aluminum pans/bakeware with yogurt, is that true? Not only do I want to make my own yogurt I would like to bake with it.

jules November 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I’d recommend avoiding aluminimum pans all together Mary

Ken September 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I have been making yogurt for almost a year. I have been doing it much as you suggest except I have been letting in culture overnight in the same saucepan as I heated the milk in. In the morning I funnel it back into the original plastic milk bottle and place it in the fridge. I believe the saucepan is aluminium, but I’m not really sure. Lately I have become very tired all the time. Is it possible culturing it in a metal container is not a good thing to be doing?

jules November 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I’d get rid of your Aluminimum pots if you can Ken
And yes I’d steer clear of culturing in metal
Hope that helps

Amelia October 9, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Jules, I have been making cow-milk yogurt for a while now. I am in the Bahamas and we have plenty of coconut trees around. Would it be advisable to use real fresh coconut water for yogurt making? Would I need to heat it first?

jules November 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Amelia
If it’s not out of a can it will need to be heated to sterilise it.
I’d say it would make a pretty watery yoghurt though.. worth a try

Maria October 12, 2012 at 2:36 am


I am following the GAPS diet which requires making homemade yogurt but it needs to be cultured for a minimum of 24 hours to remove all the lactose. I have tried to do this without a yogurt maker but I seem to end up killing the bacteria by having the temp go to hight. I purchased a yogurt culture with probiotics. I thought this would be more powerful and helpful to me right now as I try to rebuild the gut flora. this particular starter requires initial heating of the milk to 180 F and then allowing it to cool to somewhere between 72-77F before adding the starter. Then you need to GRADUALLY bring the temp up to a max of 112 in a yogurt maker. I have been doing this without the yogurt maker because I cannot find one that will do this. (There is one on the market that corresponds to the same company that makes the yogurt but the container is plastic and I will only use glass.) Do you have any clever ways to gradually bring the temp up over a 24 hour + period with or without a yogurt maker? I was nearly successful putting everything in the oven and warming and cooling the over but it was tiresome over the long fermentation process it needs to be most beneficial to me.

thank you

christa October 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

try an electric heating pad

jules November 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Not sure what you mean by that Christa?

jules November 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hi Maria
I’m not sure why you need to warm the yoghurt as it ferments – sorry can’t help you I’m afraid

Barbara November 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Maria is referring to the fact that the yogurt needs to be kept at a temperature around 110 degrees F to properly culture, and she needs to do this gradually over a period of 24 hours for the bacteria to completely consume all of the lactose. Christa is referring to using an electric heating pad, used for aching muscles and such, to gradually bring the temperature up. Using a heating pad is another technique used to keep fermenting yogurt at a steady temperature.

jules December 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Thanks Barbara!

Olga November 5, 2012 at 12:38 am

Hello, I have a question. Can I use So delicious coconut milk( that contains carageenan and other additives) to make coconut yogurt?

jules November 5, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Hi Olga
Yes it should work – can’t see why not.
Good luck

Rachael November 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hi.. Love your recipe for coconut yogurt… Just wanted to know if I could use some of the culture from a tub of bought coconut yogurt.. Would it work.. It says on tub that it has vegan cultures in it?

jules November 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hi Rachael
Yes it should work… but there’s only one way to find out.. just try it!
Good luck

Viridiana December 3, 2012 at 1:05 am

Hi Jules,
When I was little, I used to have a live culture–they looked a bit like crumbled blue cheese–and I really loved making my own yogurt smoothies. I’ve just started to use powdered starters to make yogurt and wondered what the difference is between the two (or if I can get the powdered cultures to be more like what I had growing up).

jules December 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Hi Viridiana
The main difference between powdered cultures and live ones is that the powdered cultures use strains of yeast that are more hardy and able to tolerate the freeze drying process. I’m not familiar with any yoghurt starters that look like blue cheese… might be worth your while tracking down a keffir culture… which tends to be crumbly like you describe. Good luck!

Nino December 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

What an awesome name for a blog!!! I (and probably the vast majority of those that are familiar) LOVE that book, as do our children!
I just wanted to say that your site is amazing. Your generous tips are guiding me through to some amazing discoveries. Who would have thought an ex “gang banger” gone counselor, photographer, entrepreneur,-baker… would be trying to incubate yogurt in order to perfect his next frosting. Boom! but here I am. Thanks Again, I’ll let you know how it goes. Going for yogurt as a starter to then make our cream cheese frosting. We’ll be up soon. (www.calicakesca.com) Sugar, Flour, Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Nut free Premium Sweets.
Respectfully, Nino Gabaldon

Angie December 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Hi there – just wondering if you could use coconut milk powder in place of the egg white powder?


Biggy December 24, 2012 at 3:38 am

how can I use pre-made yoghurt as a starter since it contain preservatives?
please expatiate.
Best regards.

jules January 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Hi Biggy,
Try finding a good organic commercial yoghurt – it is possible to find them without preservatives

Michelle Wilczewski January 7, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hi. Tried my first batch of yogurt. It’s definitely too runny for me. Would putting it back in the yogurt maker help thicken it up? Thanks. Michelle

jules January 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Hi Michelle
If it’s really runny sounds like your culture hasn’t done its job… I doubt putting it back will help.
Best is to try a different brand of culture.

Peter Cartouche January 9, 2013 at 8:17 am

Thank for the care you put into all of this Jules :)

I usually make yoghurt using exclusively full cream cream milk powder. ie zero fresh and so zero need to sterilize. Is there any particular reason you know of why I should not continue to do this? Safety? Better result with fresh milk?

jules January 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Hi Peter
I’ve stopped using FCMP in my yoghurt because I’ve been reading how the process of making the powder oxidises the fat and cholesterol in the milk… which isn’t the best health wise. I’ve also found that the milk powder give a funny flavour that you just don’t get with fresh milk.
But from a safety aspect I can’t think of any problems as long as your water has been boiled first.

Amy | Appetite for Discovery January 9, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Great post, thanks! I have recently entered the world of yoghurt making and am really keen to make my own probiotic yoghurt to get more of the ‘good’ bacteria into my diet but am a little confused as to whether I would be better off using a probiotic powder or store bought probiotic yoghurt as a starter. I was also wondering how many times I could use the yoghurt I make as a starter for my next batch before I need to start again with a fresh live or powdered starter. Does the potency of the live cultures reduce with each batch or do they just continue to multiply? Finally, can you recommend a good probiotic powder – there seem to be so many to choose from with different cultures in them. I don’t have any conditions or intolerances, just generally looking for more ‘good’ bacteria! Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Cass January 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I have soya yogurt-making down to a fine art now. I use organic long-life soya milk (UHT) and a starter of live Soya Yogurt that has the minimum of additives. I use a yogurt maker – either Salton or Bel – and usually boil the milk and let it cool to the temperature indicated on the special spoon/thermometer. I strain it to get rid of the skin and add the amount of yogurt contained by the spoon/thermometer and an almost equal amount of ordinary sugar (not Xylitol). The result after 5 or 6 hours is several pots of firm, ‘set’ and very pleasant tasting yogurt. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet achieved this with homemade soya milk or with powdered culture.

Abby January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm

My daughter seems to not be able to tolerate dairy, so I have switched her to alternatives. I found the soYo coconut milk yogurt, but it is very pricey so I want to make my own. I just want to be sure that it can’t grow any bad bacteria that will make her sick (botchalism?). Also, I too want use the SoYo as a starter, but does it matter that it already contains sugar? And how do you know that the batch actually ends up with live cultures, just how it sets up thicker? I really appreciate your blog, you already explained so much!

Steph January 21, 2013 at 10:23 am

egg-white powder in the yogurt? this is the 1st I’ve ever heard of such an addition, even in commercial yogurt.

does albumen offer any advantage over gelatin? -not that I like the texture that gelatin imparts to yogurt…

terese January 30, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Hi Jules
Had no idea making your own yoghurt was that easy. Thank you for posting the video. What brand powder culture do you use and where can I buy it?
I live in Melbourne. An esky is fine for maintaining the temperature?


Nadine January 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I can only buy powdered yoghurt starters in Germany. They are really expensive, that´s why I wanted to ask if I can reuse some tablespoons of the coconut yoghurt for the next batch (or does it only work with cow milk yoghurt?)? I read that it is not possible with coconut milk yoghurt, but as you add the egg white powder – perhaps it works…


Carly Soule February 2, 2013 at 1:03 am

Recently I have used an organic yogurt that contains pre and probiotics. Is this a good or bad thing and how will it effect the yogurt?

Rachelle February 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

We have success! Made a total mess of the first batch and had made the second batch and then decided to buy powdered milk and despite my messing it thickened up nicely and is lovely and smooth. Little Miss 4 will only eat it with strawberry milkshake syrup in it but at least I know that the culture is live. I’ll work on reducing the amount of powdered probiotics as I did heap it in. for the second batch I prolonged the heat by putting a heated rice bag in with it. You can make one yourself out of brown rice and cotton material. A couple of more times and I’ll be a pro.

Amber Gubler February 5, 2013 at 10:05 am


I am trying to increase the calcium in my children’s lives so I want to use coconut milk from a carton that has added calcium. Would calcium milk from the cold section of the store work? Do I need to boil it first since it is not in a can?

Amber Gubler February 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I realize my comment on Feb. 5th is confusing because I wrote calcium milk instead of coconut milk. So let me ask my question again. Do you think I could use coconut milk from a carton found in the cold section instead of coconut milk from a can? If so would I need to boil it first?

jules February 22, 2013 at 8:54 am

It should work Amber…
And if the use by date is more than a few months away, it means the coconut milk has been heat treated so it would be the same as using from a can… no need to boil first.

Melinda February 10, 2013 at 3:37 am

Hi Jules,
I make yogurt and kefir at home, often from homemade oatmilk and sometimes store bought goatmilk. Because I have read that coconut oil and milk are antibacterial, I never culture coconut milk, have avoided adding coconut milk to cultured smoothies, and even put a couple hours between consuming coconut items (and other antibacterials like heavy garlic) and cultured items. Have you heard this and can you confirm it? Despite all the cultured coconut items available in stores, it has long given me pause.

Jeremy February 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

loving the blog. Don’t even know how I ended up here but so glad I stumbled upon it. Always after a new challenge… My partner is gluten and lactose intolerant so its always best to make things ourselves to ensure its all as safe as possible.
anyway, was wondering if anyone had noticed any separation in any of their batches of coconut milk yoghurt. I know coconut milk has a habit of separating in the can but is this a bad thing in the yoghurt? Im kind of tempted just to mix it. Thoughts??
. Jeremy

Rachel February 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Have just started trying cow’s milk yoghurt, using milk powder and esky overnight. One question regarding consistency – the yoghurt looks to be mostly set, however has a texture/consistency similar to melted cheese (a bit ‘stringy’) – and ideas of what I might be doing wrong? Thanks for your post – the kids are enjoying ‘fresh’ yoghurt, and will do so even more if I can get the consistency right!

jules February 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

The stringinesss is probably caused by the type of culture (or a contaminant). I’d try using a different brand and making sure everything is super clean before you start.

David February 13, 2013 at 7:37 am

I have been trying to make my own yoghurt with dry cultures from a company named Mad Millies. There is a TINY amount in the satchel ( 1 level teaspoon ) and instructions tell me it’s enough for 10 litres of yoghurt. I have tried 1 batch but it didn’t set thickly enough. 24 hours I left it in my incubator, after heating to 82c then cooling to 43c. Could you let me know how to mix the milk and how much dry culture in the correct proportion, thanks. David

jules February 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

Sorry David
I’m not familiar with your brand of yoghurt culture. They can vary quite a bit – I’ve used ones that take about 2 teaspoons for a liter of milk. My current favourite is freeze dried and about 1/2 teaspoon works for 5L.
Just keep experimenting

Olesya February 13, 2013 at 9:26 am

Dear Jules,

I have been making yoghurt at home for over a year now, but have recently heard from a family member that apparently it’s very dangerous as when you take a spoonful of the old batch of yoghurt into the boiled milk to make a fresh batch of yogurt, some pathogenic bacteria gets transferred as well, and so over time you keep building up more and more harmful bacteria as you always take some of old yoghurt into the fresh batch. Could you comment on this from the microbiology point of view? It does seem a bit like scaremongering, as people have been making yogurt like this for generations.

jules February 22, 2013 at 8:36 am

Great question Olesya!
Here’s the thing, the ‘good’ lactic acid bacteria that we use to make yoghurt are special in that they are tolerant of acid environments. And in the yoghurt making process they actually make acid and lower the pH of the yoghurt… hence the lovely ‘tangy’ taste.

Pathogenic bacteria, generally can’t survive in the acidic environment of yoghurt so it’s really unlikely that there would be any in the old yoghurt you’re using as a ‘starter’. So it’s really low risk.

That being said, I usually make my yoghurt in jars rather than one huge container and try and use yoghurt from one of the unopened jars as my starter to make sure there’s even less risk of any harmful.

Hope that helps and keep up the good yoghurt making work!

kylieinegypt March 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hi, I’m new to this blog, but in my reading about making yoghurt, I did find a report which said that tuberculosis bacteria could survive in yoghurt, but bacterium numbers were reduced in probiotic yoghurts.

I live in a country where TB is not controlled, so that is important for me to be aware of. But you probably don’t, so, I am sure that unless you have someone with TB living with you, and that you pasteurise all your milk before culturing it, as well as using an unopened jar for your starter, you will be fine!


This is the name of the article: Survival of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in yoghurt and in commercial fermented milk products containing probiotic cultures

Here is the link:

Jennifer February 15, 2013 at 1:09 am

Melinda – with regard to your earlier comment about coconut milk being anti-bacterial and therefore possibly killing the friendly bacteria in cultured products, I thought you may be interested to read this extract I read on another website: “Coconut milk ferments very well with honey as a sweetener, as the many commenters here can attest. You can also ferment honey into wine! Neither honey nor coconut oil are antibiotic enough to harm the probiotics in your yogurt.” This is the website where I read this FYI: http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/2009/04/25/homemade-coconut-milk-yogurt/

Ann February 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Hi This is a query regarding the use of yogurt, I would like to make the hard yogurt icing that can be found on cereal bars and raisins etc. Do you know how this is made? I am hoping to make the yogurt then turn into icing and use as an on cakes.

Hoping you can help

Ann Ronaldson

jules February 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

HI Ann
The hard ‘yoghurt’ icing found on cereal bars etc is actually white compound chocolate with some yoghurt powder added for flavour… so using fresh yoghurt won’t give you the same result.

Madelynne February 20, 2013 at 6:24 am

I’ve had great success using probiotic capsules!! (Dairy free ones)
I just use the contents of one capsuel per cup of liquid and it works a treat! Have tried the same technique with soy milk as well with great results.

jules February 22, 2013 at 6:55 am

Thanks for sharing Madelynne!
Great to know it works with soy milk too

lydija March 4, 2013 at 3:02 am

Thanks for putting this recipe up. I tried it last night and it was great. It is still more of a European style (runnier than most American yogurts) and so I put half the batch to drip off a cheesecloth and got the greek style I was hoping for. I used honey during the incubation phase and probiotic capsules. I also added some protein powder for a bit of extra protein. I also added a drop of vanilla and I was in heaven.

Thank you so much again – I am looking forward to years of eating yogurt again – something I miss not being able to eat dairy anymore!

kylieinegypt March 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hi Jules, I am an Australian living in Egypt, and have been making my own yoghurt for about a month now, with great success. That is, until now. I purchase raw milk from my local milk man (for whom good hygiene practices are yet to be learned), have been heating it till about 75degrees (lower than you say, I know), and then cooling it etc. But twice now (once when I was making a custard base for ice-cream), I heated the milk, and at about 65 or so degrees, it separated into a rubbery mass and whey. The first time I had been whisking it a lot, but this time I had hardly done any whisking.

I think I have made some sort of cheese. But why? Is it because the milk is contaminated with a large amount of bacteria? What do I do with it?

FR March 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

Okay, I feel like this might be a silly question, but I don’t understand why you have to chill it in an esky but then leave that in a warm place. Why don’t you do one or the other? Either leave it in an esky or put it in a warm place? Basically, what I am trying to get at, is what temperature are you aiming for during the initial 12 hours?

Meghan March 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm

^^ The chiller bag is not to chill but to keep the yogurt warm. :)

Kevin March 30, 2013 at 3:05 am

Hi All –
Been making my own Greek style non-fat yogurt for a while now.
Not into the probiotic/non-dairy thing as a lot of you seem to be.
I use store bought skim milk (sometimes add non-fat powdered milk to bump up the protein and the calcium) and either my own yogurt or, if I forget to save some for starter, use any commercial plain yogurt for starter. Have never tried the powdered stuff.
I heat 7-8 cups of milk to 180 deg./F (altho I don’t think it’s necessary for commercial milk), cool it to 110 deg., put 3-4 good tablespoons of yogurt into a 2 quart glass casserole dish and stir in the milk. Then I put the dish into my yogurt maker for about 8 hours. The longer you leave it the more tart it gets. I’ve heard of using the cooler or heating pad method, even putting it in the oven w/ just the light on to keep it warm but I have a yogurt maker so….
At this point it’s good to go (just stir and refrigerate) but I prefer Greek style so I strain it thru a linen napkin for an hour or two (you loose about 50% of the volume) and since I like it really creamy I force it thru a fine mesh screen. Then I stir back in enough of the whey to get the texture I like. It does thicken somewhat in the fridge. Lasts at least a week or two. Have never had it go bad before I used it up.
You can use any milk (whole, 2%, goat, etc.) Have never tried soy milk but I might try it for my neice.
Definitely am going to try coconut. Sounds great!

Kevin March 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

Almost forgot… you need to use fresh starter after 4 batches. It definitely loses it’s potency over time.
For FR – you’re looking for approx. 112 deg./F for the entire fermenting time.
Doesn’t have to be exact but should be above 100F and below 130F. Above 130 deg./F will kill the bacteria culture, below 100 deg./F the bacteria don’t grow quickly enough to gel properly.

Brent April 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Thank you for the steps! I made mine and it turned out well, for a first timer. ;)

hippytea April 2, 2013 at 5:39 am

Hi there! I must try coconut yoghurt – I have lots of fun making regular cow’s milk yoghurt.

Just a comment: the step of heating the milk up to 83C is not for sterilisation (though that’s a bonus) – it’s to denature the milk proteins, and it gives a better set, especially if you can hold it around that temperature for 20-30mins before cooling and adding the starter. That’s why a lot of yoghurt recipes recommend doing this even with freshly-opened pasteurised milk – pasteurisation doesn’t keep the milk hot for long enough to denature the proteins.

I believe UHT/ultrapasteurised milk doesn’t need this step as it has already been done (hence why it tastes a bit different). I’ve never used UHT for yoghurt but apparently it works well.

Kevin Moore April 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm

h/t – thanks for the info. How do you hold it at temp for 20-30 min? Maybe a water bath? I just heat it directly on the stove and then let it cool.
I’m wondering if denaturing the protein might increase my yield?

pam April 12, 2013 at 2:40 pm

hi….we eat raw eggs all the time in my family…straight from the chicken so i have no concerns. with that in mind, do you think you could use real egg white rather than a powdered version? would that work? thanks heaps….

pren10 April 13, 2013 at 12:01 am

Throw away all yogurt tools, accept for the thermometer, and buy a thermal cooker. Yogurt making becomes 1-2-3 easy. Plus the thermal cooker has many multi uses.

Marion April 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Very new to all this – researching Net for days. Been Gluten, Dairy, Starch, Yeast, Soy free for last 10 years. Immune Disfunction!
Live in Spain, can’t buy any Yogurt here without some Sugar (3.0g min) could I use this? Will look for Powdered Starters. Can get Sheeps Milk, but Pasteurized and probably UHT. Might try Almond Milk (if I can make it) and the Coconut one.
Could I mix Sheeps Milk with a little Cows?

Kevin Moore April 16, 2013 at 6:58 am

You can use any yogurt for a starter as long as it contains live cultures. I’ve used sweetened yogurt in a pinch (vanilla flavored and honey flavored) and it works okay. Prefer the plain.
You can also use any milk – cows, sheep, goat – raw, pasteurized, UHT and can combine them. I don’t use raw milk and have never tried soy or almond but have my first batch of coconut working right now.
Buenas Suertes!

Elle April 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Jules, thank you for your inspirational recipe for yogurts. I have been making cows milk yogurt for years without any problems.
I have thrown out many coconut yogurt attempts – worse one had almonds in. I at last had success adding some powdered coconut milk to tinned coconut milk, instead of the powdered egg white. (Just didn’t have the powdered egg white). Is there any reason I shouldn’t use powdered coconut milk?
I used the live cultures I keep in the freezer and they work for both cow and coconut yogurts.
Thanks, Elle

John Spitaleri April 25, 2013 at 5:26 am

When I lived in Ecuador I used to make yogurt ever day.

No jars needed, no bags for storage, no thermometer needed.

We had raw milk delivered each morning. Just put a tablespoon of yesterday’s yogurt in a shallow bowl mixed with fresh milk. Cover lightly with cloth, on a warm spot. Tomorrow your yogurt is ready. Next day repeat.

No Work
No Storage needed
Fresh Every day.

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