Make Your Own Yogurt

I learnt how to make yogurt from my yoga teacher many years ago. I still keep in touch with Dada Lalitesh whenever he is back in Malaysia because he’s always a fount of knowledge about philosophy and books and of course, yoga asanas! He’s the first person I’d refer to if I have some niggling doubt about yoga which I have been practising for the past 6 years.
But more than a teacher, Dada has always taught me about eating well too. He’s often telling me about foods that I should look into – through him, I’ve learnt how to pay attention to what I eat and really investigate my food.
It is true that you are what you eat these days. I may not be a total health freak (I do indulge in Pringles sometimes and I adore food which most people won’t touch – duck tongues, chicken livers, phoenix claws which is an euphemism for chicken feet lah and more…yes, the stuff Nic and I eat can be quite barbaric to most civilised folks) but sometimes I do get into my “I-want-to-detox” mood.
When that happens, I make salads. I like nothing simpler than chopping up some fresh garlic, tossing them in a bowl with lots of extra virgin olive oil, some sea salt, pepper and some fresh lemon juice and beating the whole mixture well. Pour this lovely vinagrette over cherry tomatoes, cos lettuce, raisins, cucumber, and whatever vegetable you can find in your fridge.
Other times, I make mango lassi which is really good for the digestive system. Now, Dada taught me an ingenious method to make my own yogurt. It’s fresh and cheap and you know it’s homemade 100%. To make yogurt, you don’t need any fancy-schmancy equipment like a special yogurt maker or sachets of starter culture.
Buy a small cup of Marigold natural yogurt (no flavours – just plain old unflavoured yogurt). It costs about RM1.40 per cup. Don’t ask me why it has to be Marigold – Dada told me once that he’s been using this yogurt for all his homemade yogurt and it creates the yogurt he likes. You can experiment with other brands – Dutch Lady or Nestle but why make life difficult? Just go for Marigold. Tried and tested.
In a bowl, mix 6 heaped tablespoons of milk powder (any brand will do) with some hot water. Add lukewarm water and keep mixing well. Put your pinkie finger into the mixture. Is it warm? If it is, that’s the right temperature. Oh, it’s not rocket science – you need a warm environment for the live culture to live and make yogurt.
If it is too hot (which means you cannot even put your pinkie into the mixture), leave it for a while to cool down or ‘tarik’ the milk for a few seconds.
Next add a heaped tablespoon of the Marigold yogurt as your starter culture. Mix well into the milk. Pour milk into a glass container and cap the lid tightly. Wrap this glass container in some towels (to maintain warmth), place the whole thing in a plastic bag and tie up the plastic bag handles and leave the whole thing in a dark and warm corner of your kitchen. It is best to do this at night because the milk needs about 10-12 hours to become yogurt.
The next day, open up the glass container and the milk would have set and become yogurt! Keep this in the fridge (can be kept up to 5 days) and use for mango lassi, nasi briyani, etc.
Simple and very healthy too!

16 thoughts on “Make Your Own Yogurt”

  1. Hello, i’m a student who are now studying in Penang.I’m looking for the Yoga teacher. As you had mention that one of your friend know yoga, isn’t? May i know where is he/her teaching? And how much does it cost? thanks ver much ya .

  2. Hi Caryn: Try googling for yoga in penang. The Ananda Marga Centre I used to go to is no longer there (it used to be behind Gembira Parade).

  3. May I know how much water do me need to mix mix 6 heaped tablespoons of milk powder and i Tbsp of yogurt culture…. any rough guide? Thanks

    • If you are using a mug, the hot water is about 60 ml (if you are using a 200 ml mug). It should be enough to mix the milk powder well and then when you add normal temperature water (another 120 to 140 ml), it will be just right.

  4. Thanks for your prompt reply.
    I tried making yogurt last night, it turned out to be pretty runny or waterly.
    How to make it firmer? More Culture OR milk powder?
    Tablespoons refer to normal dinner spoon or those baking measurement spoon?
    I’ll try again….

    • Hi Leo: If your yogurt is runny, it could be that you have added too much water or not enough starter yogurt or not enough milk powder. Tablespoons – I just use the regular dinner tablespoons but the milk powder and yogurt are usually heaped, not leveled. If it is runny, it could also mean that it has not ‘set’ long enough in a warm environment.

    • William – yes, please try it and let me know how it goes. This should be fairly simple as all the ingredients can be easily bought. There’s no need to go buy yogurt starter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. hi, instead of using powdered milk, can I use my breast milk? I have a lot of breast milk, 3 months old, really need to find ways to use them up, instead of throwing them, so wasting. Pls share if I can use this method using breast milk instead? Thanks.

    • Hi Margarita90: Yours must be the strangest comment I’ve gotten so far about making yogurt. I am really not too sure about using breast milk but you can try and let me know if it works.

  6. Hi Maya, I appreciate your yogurt home making receipt . I also came across a simple method, by mixing the milk (1 litre packet) to 1 teaspoon starter, then dry under hot sun for half hour before storing up for fermentation. Please advice, thanks.

    • Hi Teddy: Thanks for commenting. I have not heard of this method before. It may work because the sun heats up the milk just like the stove does. All you need is a nice warm environment for the good bacteria to start getting active and getting to work on your milk. If you do try this, let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Hi Maya,
    Can I use UHT Low Fat Milk to make the yogurt? Need I heat it up or will
    room temperature be okay? Do I put the cold Marigold Natural Yogurt into
    the milk or have I to wait till room temp. for the yogurt? Thanks.

    • Hi Kathleen: Yes, you can. As long as it is milk. You will need to heat it up (see my instructions). You should leave the yogurt out on your kitchen counter top for at least 30 minutes before you put it into the milk. Hope this answers your questions.

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