I started making my own yoghurt a couple of years ago for a couple of reasons:
One, because store bought dairy-free yoghurt is SO expensive.
And two, it often contains ingredients I don’t want to have in my yoghurt, like sweetener and carrageenan.
Making your own yoghurt gives you control over the fermentation process which means a higher probiotic count. In the holistic health world, it is popular to ferment it for 24 hours which is claimed to have a probiotic concentration of 3 billion cfu/ml. This means that in one cup of yoghurt there is potentially 50 times more probiotic bacteria than a typical probiotic supplement.
Possibly the best part of making your own yoghurt is that it gives you control over the probiotic strains. If you have had a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis, you will know which bacteria strains you may not have enough of and can tailor your yoghurt accordingly. For example, my test a long time ago showed that I had a super high count of Bifidobacterium but a very low count of Lactobacillus bacteria. This is a common scenario in those with Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth. Therefore, the starter culture that I use only contains Lactobacillus strains.
Making your own yoghurt is a very simple process once you have the equipment. Here is what you will need:
- Yogurt maker
- Thermometer (this usually comes with the yoghurt maker)
- Starter culture
Starter cultures can be purchased from a health food store (usually) for even the grocery store if you are not particular on what strains you want to use. I purchase mine from Customs Probiotics. They also have a US site here. They have non-dairy starters which is important if you do not tolerate dairy. The price may seem steep but it makes a crazy amount of batches.
You can use yoghurt as a starter instead of buying the culture. Use about 2 tbsp. of yoghurt per litre of milk.
- Milk of choice (coconut, almond, dairy etc.)
- Starter culture
- Heat milk in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the milk up to 180 degrees. Remove from heat and let cool to 100 degrees or the temperature indicated on your starter culture.
- Sprinkle the starter culture over the cooled milk or add the yoghurt.
- Pour milk into the yoghurt incubator. Let ferment for 8 – 24 hours depending on your preference.
- Refrigerate the yoghurt when it is done fermenting.
- Notes: some non-dairy milks can produce a thin yoghurt. If you like it thick, add two teaspoons of gelatin or agar agar (vegan option) per litre of milk during the initial heating process. If you let gelatin bloom before heating it will make it even thicker. Some trial and error might be needed to get your perfect consistency.