The Details: Heated Yogurts

by Suzanne

Some yogurt starters require heat to activate the bacteria, so that those bacteria can do the work of fermenting the milk. These yogurt starters are called thermophilic starters, meaning heat-loving. Which yogurt starters are thermophilic? Bulgarian Yogurt Starter is a reusable starter that makes a mild-flavored, thick yogurt. Greek Yogurt Starter is a reusable starter that makes a more tangy, thick yogurt. Vegan Yogurt Starter, while not a reusable starter, is a thermophilic yogurt starter. Vegan Yogurt Starter is the best choice when culturing non-dairy milk such as coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, or nut/seed milks. NOTE: Vegan Yogurt Starter and non-dairy milks require an added thickener. How do I make thermophilic yogurt at home? Making one of these delicious reusable thermophilic yogurts at home is so easy! All you need is a packet of the dried starter, pasteurized milk, a pot to heat the milk, and a yogurt maker or other heating device. A thermometer is helpful, too.

Heating Devices

If you do not own a yogurt maker, no worries! There are many ways to maintain that culturing temperature of 110ºF.
  • Dehydrator: a dehydrator with the trays removed will hold several jars of yogurt.
  • Instant Pot: Some Instant Pots come with a yogurt setting; some do not.
  • Oven: older ovens often have lower temperature settings, perfect for making yogurt.
  • Crock pot: a crock pot can be tricky for making yogurt. Try a couple of test runs with water, measuring the temperature over several hours, to get to know your appliance.
  • Jar wrapped in a towel or blanket: How did folks make yogurt long ago before electricity and modern appliances? They wrapped the yogurt jar or crock in blankets and left it to ferment.
Any of these methods requires some testing. To avoid wasting milk, test your appliance or method first with heated water, measuring the temperature over several hours. Make adjustments to settings as needed, and you're all set!  

Greek Yogurt Starter vs. Greek-style Yogurt: What's the Difference?

Greek Yogurt Starter is a yogurt starter that produces thick, tangy yogurt. But don't expect this yogurt starter to produce yogurt that is as thick as store brands. Greek-style yogurt is the name used for extra-thick yogurt made from any starter. Most store brands have thickeners added or have been strained to remove whey, that watery liquid component of milk products.  

How to Make Greek-style Yogurt

To make Greek-style yogurt at home, try straining your finished yogurt.
  • Line a strainer with a clean, tight-weave cotton kitchen towel or similar cloth
  • Place the lined strainer over a bowl
  • Fill the lined strainer with yogurt that has been completely cooled
  • Strain for several hours, to desired thickness. Discard whey or use for another project.
  • Enjoy your Greek-style yogurt!