• How to Make Yogurt

    Comfy Belly: Yogurt and berries

    Making yogurt is easier than you might think. While it’s not necessary to own a yogurt maker−there are many techniques, from using a dehydrator to using a heating pad or placing a jar in a cabinet with a lamp−it does make the process easier and some of them come with nice glass jars you can use to store and transport the yogurt in.

    For the past several years I have used an Excalibur dehydrator (also here) to make yogurt, which is great to have if you want to make other things like dried herbs, beef jerky and fruit roll-ups. However you do make yogurt, the yogurt should be kept at a steady low heat between 100°F/38°C and 110°F/43°C for the time it takes to culture.

    For a quick read on culturing for between 4 to 8 hours, here are some online sources: Harold McGee on Yogurt, The New York Times and 101 Cookbooks.

    When culturing for 24 hours (lactose-free yogurt, typically used for the SCD diet) here are two sources to help you along: Breaking the vicious cycle and Pecanbread.


    Yogurt Starters

    Along with milk, you need a yogurt starter that kicks off the growth of good bacteria (cultures) and turns the milk into yogurt. The yogurt starter contains the bacteria that will digest the lactose (milk sugar).

    For yogurt starter, I usually use Yogourmet’s starter, plain sheep’s milk yogurt, or some yogurt from a homemade batch. Yogourmet tends to be more tart (sour) than other starters, so choose a more mellow starter if you prefer a less tart yogurt. I recommend using a plain, high quality yogurt that you already like, that doesn’t contain any additives other than bacterial cultures. For digestive health (SCD), GIProHealth also sells a dairy-based and a dairy-free yogurt starter.

    Another great source of yogurt starter (and other culturing starters and tools) is Cultures for Health.

    Dripped Yogurt (Greek Yogurt)

    To drip yogurt (also referred to as Greek yogurt for it’s thickness), I place a strainer in a saucepan, then place a paper towel (cheesecloth, or coffee filter) in the strainer, and finally place the yogurt in the paper towel. I put the saucepan top on and let it drip away, sometimes over night in the refrigerator. Or, you can purchase equipment to strain your yogurt. The longer you drip it the more water drips out, so you can control how thick (and dry) you want your yogurt by how long you let it drip.

    Dripped Yogurt


    Posted in Low-Sugar, Tips, Vegetarian  |  9 Comments

    9 Responses to How to Make Yogurt

    1. Any tips for making yogurt without a yogurt maker? My grandmother used to make ours each night by heating up some milk & stirring in a teaspoon or so of starter taken from the yogurt she’d made the night before. She’d leave it, covered, on the kitchen counter and we had perfect, creamy yogurt for breakfast each morning. She made it look so easy. I’ve never tried it myself but am eager to because I know it tastes so much better than store-bought.

      • Erica says:

        Yes, as long as you leave the yogurt overnight in a warm place it will culture (technically you need it to be at least 100 degrees F, but I think putting near a source of heat will be enough). Good luck!

    2. Hannah says:

      I am working on my first batch of SCD yogurt with a yogurt maker. Towards the end we realized the temperature rose to 116.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Do we need to start over again? Have the good bacteria been killed? Thank you so much.

      • Erica says:

        Based on my experience, your yogurt is probably fine. If it’s sour and firmer (not as fluid as milk) you’ve done it and it’s good to go. In general, I try to stay on the lower side of the range.

    3. Natalie says:

      Can I make this recipe using coconut milk instead of other milks listed? Will I have the same outcome?

    4. Lauren says:

      My yogurt starter (from GI Pro Health, recommended in your SCD book) says that I should put 1/8 tsp of starter per 2 quarts of milk. I am completely new to this – should I disregard that and put in 1 tbsp? What would be the differences and benefits? (I don’t need it to be SCD legal, but SCD meshes well with some of the nutritional guidelines I follow to keep my blood pressure normal. We have many new family favorites from your website!)

      Thank you!

    5. carrie says:

      I love making homemade yogurt. I have added a vanilla bean while heating the milk and then remove it before adding the starter. Do you know if you can do this with other spices? ie. cinnamon

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