How to Make Yogurt, The Pictorial Guide

Last week I made yogurt after a long time!

I made it because Lee Choo, a journalist from Guang Ming Daily contacted me and was curious about my homemade yogurt recipe and process.

She said that many people needed to use a special yogurt maker and yogurt starter to get the yogurt made. When she came across my blog post, she was really excited because it meant anyone can make yogurt at home using the simplest tools and ingredients.

Well, I consider myself blessed because Dada Lalitesh taught me this method almost 10 years ago and I still use it and it has never failed me. Dada was my yoga teacher but we became firm friends as we shared similar interests – books, travel, eclectic movies, all things Chinese. And he’s from South America. Right now, he is in Vietnam and I met him just before he left and we still have that many things to talk about (and yoga wasn’t the topic either!)

So here it is – a step-by-step process via photos. I use Marigold brand for both yogurt and milk. I used to use milk powder and that makes a thicker yogurt compared to packet milk. Taste-wise, it’s still the same.

While Dada used to eat yogurt with fruits and muesli for breakfast, I have other uses for yogurt. I love fruit lassi’s (mango lassi is super delicious but if you can get strawberries or blueberries, they taste yums too!) and I love using yogurt to make cucumber raita. I can also use yogurt to make chicken curry. I also use yogurt to mix with mayonnaise as a not-too-calorie laden dressing for salads. The possibilities are truly endless.

But the end result is: it’s healthy. It’s good for your gut. And you’ll feel more satisfied because you made it on your own. You know what you put into it.

You can use yogurt to bathe – just slather the yogurt over your body, exfoliate with a natural loofah scrubber and then rinse well. After that, feel your skin’s ultra smoothness! Like a baby’s bottom. I always feel like I’m Cleopatra when I am using yogurt in the bath, except that she used to bathe with milk.

You can use it as a face mask too and it helps with blemishes and acne. You see, there’s plenty of ways to use yogurt. You can keep the yogurt for 3 – 5 days in the fridge (not freezer or chiller please). After the 5th day (and you don’t feel like you want to eat any more yogurt), use it for bathing and as a mask.

I haven’t really figured out why Marigold contains the right sort of live cultures (I have tried making yogurt with Dutch Lady brand and it never came out right) but Dada himself said that he uses Marigold only for best results.

Anyway, try this at home and you’ll never need to buy commercial yogurt any more!

Only 2 ingredients: UHT Full Cream Milk & natural yogurt, Marigold brand
Only 2 ingredients: UHT Full Cream Milk & natural yogurt, Marigold brand

You can use milk powder too. If you use milk powder, you will need about 6 heaped tablespoons of milk powder. Mix this with room temperature water first before you add hot water. Keep adding the hot water until the milk mixture is warm (not hot please).

Pour the 2 packets of milk into a pot.
Pour the 2 packets of milk into a pot.
Heat the milk for 3 minutes. Do not bring to boil.
Heat the milk for 3 minutes. Do not bring to boil.

Take a tablespoon of yogurt and mix into the warm milk. Milk must be warm to touch, not hot.
Take a tablespoon of yogurt and mix into the warm milk. Milk must be warm to touch, not hot.

Here I must add my two cents. Stick your pinkie into the milk. If you can keep your pinkie in the milk for more than 10 seconds, it’s warm enough. If you find the milk too hot, stir the milk a bit to cool it down. We want to create a warm world for our live culture. We do not want to kill the lactobacillus strains.

Pour milk mixed with yogurt into a container. Cap the lid.
Pour milk mixed with yogurt into a container. Cap the lid.
Wrap container with a plastic bag. Tie the ends tightly. This is the insulation your yogurt needs for the next 12 hours.
Wrap container with a plastic bag. Tie the ends tightly. This is the insulation your yogurt needs for the next 12 hours.

Put this into a container and cover with an old towel. Again, it's for keeping in the warmth so the culture can get to work fermenting the milk.
Put this into a container and cover with an old towel. Again, it's for keeping in the warmth so the culture can get to work fermenting the milk.

Here I use the inner container from an old rice cooker (my old rice cooker died on me many years ago) and I never had the heart to throw out the (still) good inner container. So I line it with an old cloth and use it as my yogurt maker!

Set it aside for 12 hours. After 12 hours, your milk has become yogurt. Once it has set properly, keep it refrigerated.
Set it aside for 12 hours. After 12 hours, your milk has become yogurt. Keep it refrigerated.

How do you know if the yogurt’s done fermenting?

The mixture should not be runny like milk. You can scoop some out and the mass of yogurt stays firm on your spoon. Taste some. It will taste a little different from commercial sweet yogurt. Sweeten this with honey or fruits and you’ll be a happy bear in no time.

This recipe makes 500 ml of yogurt.

15 thoughts on “How to Make Yogurt, The Pictorial Guide

  1. i made using similar method years ago. except that once sterilized (the warming part) and after you have added the yogurt culture, i placed the whole container (covered) on top of a refrigerator.

    reason being… it’s warm all the time! everyone has such a “yogurt incubator” at home.

    leave it overnight and next day, it’s done!

  2. Thank you for sharing!

    True, I tried the home made methond… and made lots of mistakes ie dutch lady yogurt, milk too hot etc… it turned out runny/watery.

    Hence, I opted for those yogurt maker… but now I dont have to buy those sachets anymore!

    Thank you very much!

    • Mayee: I am glad I could help. I know how expensive the yogurt starter packets are as well as the yogurt maker. Basically the yogurt maker is a thermos which helps keep the warmth so that the yogurt can work its magic, turning milk into yogurt. In my case, a few towels and a plastic bag do the trick. I have always had success with Marigold brand of natural yogurt. I tried Dutch Lady but it does not work. Let me know how yours turn out ya!

  3. You should try milk kefir. Less hassle. The good bacteria stays longer in your intestines. See if anybody in Penang has a started culture. They give it away free.

  4. Hi, thanks for this fabulous way of making yogurt. I have everything you mentioned, including an old rice cooker which had died on me. Finally, found a method to incubate it without having to use and oven or a yogurt maker. I tried using Dutch Lady too years back, and the yogurt always turns out runny. Will try this one with Marigold instead. Thank you once again.

    • Hi Michelle: Great to hear that. I am always looking for ways to reuse old items and my last resort is to pack them and give them away to charity homes. I even reuse Boh teabags – I dry them out in the sun, open up the thin paper lining, put the tea dust into my compost and use the paper lining to line the bottom of plant pots (instead of using pebbles). Crossing fingers that it will turn out great for you this time. Marigold, says my yoga teacher, seems to have more live culture.

  5. Thank you for sharing, will try this out! what about frozen yogurt, is there a way to DIY a moo cow or tutti fruitti?

    • Hi Alvis
      Unfortunately, no I don’t have the tutti frutti kind of yogurt recipe. Actually I am not a big fan of that type of yogurt. 😉 I think it’s overrated and over hyped. Kids just love it because they get to play with the toppings (which are generally rather unhealthy and too sweet for my liking).

  6. Hi Maya, do we need to stir after adding the yogurt as starter in the milk? I’m using both dutch lady’s full cream milk and plain yogurt as starter last week and turn out only yogurt sour taste but very runny. It creamier than milk but runny than normal yogurt texture. I want a creamy and thicker yogurt. Will try using Marigold next time.

    • Hi Jacqueline – Yes, you need to stir after adding the yogurt starter into the milk. If you use full cream milk (from tetrapak) your yogurt could be runny even though it is ready. Some people add a few tablespoons of milk powder into the full cream milk to thicken up the milk a bit during the “heating up” the milk stage. Do try again with Marigold and see how it goes? Use Dutch Lady full cream milk BUT add Marigold yogurt as starter. Then you will know if it is starter that’s causing problems or not.

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