Learn How to Easily Make Your Own Yogurt Starter from Scratch at Home

How to make yogurt starter

Yogurt starter is the essential ingredient in making homemade yogurt. It provides the necessary bacterial culture that ferments the milk and turns it into creamy, probiotic-rich yogurt. Making your own yogurt starter is a simple process that can be done with just a few ingredients and equipment.

First, you will need a saucepan and a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients. In a saucepan, combine a gram of gelatin with a cup of water. Stir the mixture over low heat until the gelatin dissolves completely. This step is important as it helps the yogurt to thicken and gives it a creamy texture.

Next, add two tablespoons of powdered yogurt starter to the saucepan. The powdered yogurt starter contains live cultures of lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, which are necessary for the fermentation process. The amount of powdered yogurt starter you add will depend on the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Keep stirring the mixture over low heat for about an hour. This will allow the yogurt starter to fully activate and develop the bacterial action needed to turn the milk into yogurt. During this time, the mixture will thicken and form curd-like structures, which is a sign that the fermentation process is taking place.

Once the hour is up, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. The yogurt starter is now ready to be used to make yogurt. You can either use it immediately or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for future use.

To use the homemade yogurt starter, simply add a small amount to your milk and follow the rest of the steps according to your yogurt maker’s instructions. The starter will help the milk ferment and turn into delicious, homemade yogurt in just a few hours. You can also use your homemade yogurt starter to make different types of yogurt, such as Greek yogurt or flavored yogurt, by adding different ingredients during the yogurt-making process.

In conclusion, making your own yogurt starter at home is a simple and cost-effective method to ensure that your yogurt is filled with the beneficial probiotic bacteria that provide numerous health benefits. By following these easy steps and using high-quality ingredients, you can enjoy homemade yogurt that is not only creamy and delicious but also packed with millions of live cultures that are good for your digestive system.

Probiotic Yogurt Starter

In the process of making yogurt, a essential ingredient is the yogurt starter. This starter is a bacterial culture that is added to the milk, and it is what transforms the liquid into thick, creamy yogurt. The starter is typically made from a combination of lactic acid bacteria, specifically lactobacillus strains, that are responsible for fermentation.

There are three main methods for obtaining a yogurt starter: using a powdered starter culture, using a small amount of previously made yogurt, or using a small amount of commercial yogurt. Each method has its own set of advantages and steps involved.

  1. Powdered Starter Culture: One method for making a yogurt starter is to use a powdered starter culture that can be purchased from a store. This culture typically contains a combination of different bacterial strains and provides a convenient option for those who want to make yogurt at home. To make a yogurt starter with powdered culture, you will need to follow the instructions provided with the culture, which normally involve mixing the powder with milk and incubating the mixture at a specific temperature for a certain amount of time.
  2. Previously Made Yogurt: Another method for obtaining a yogurt starter is to use a small amount of previously made yogurt. This method involves saving a small portion of a batch of homemade yogurt for future use. When making a new batch, a small amount of the saved yogurt is added to the fresh milk. The yogurt bacteria present in the saved portion will then multiply and ferment the new batch.
  3. Commercial Yogurt: The third method for obtaining a yogurt starter is to use a small amount of commercial yogurt. This yogurt can be store-bought and should ideally be plain, without any added flavors or sweeteners. The commercial yogurt serves as the starter culture and the bacterial strains within it will be responsible for fermentation. When using commercial yogurt as a starter, it is important to check the ingredient list to ensure that it contains active cultures.

Regardless of the method used to obtain a yogurt starter, it is important to follow proper hygiene and temperature control practices to ensure the starter remains healthy and active. The bacteria in the starter need the right conditions to thrive and transform the milk into yogurt. This includes maintaining a clean environment and keeping the temperature within a specific range.

By using a proper yogurt starter, you can make probiotic-rich yogurt at home. Yogurts made with a starter culture are known to contain beneficial bacteria that can help support gut health. The yogurt also imparts a unique taste and texture to the final product.

Keep in mind that different yogurt starters may produce slightly different results in terms of taste and texture. Additionally, the choice of milk and other ingredients used, as well as the method and equipment employed, can also affect the flavor and consistency of the yogurt.

Overall, making a yogurt starter is a simple process that requires just a few ingredients and steps. Once you have your starter ready, you can use it to make delicious homemade yogurt time and time again.

Notes: Always consult the recipe and instructions provided with your yogurt maker or follow a trusted source to ensure you are using the correct method and proportions. The action of bacterial cultures in yogurt-making can be influenced by factors like time, temperature, and the presence of certain substances like gelatin or potassium.

What is a yogurt starter

A yogurt starter is a specific type of bacterial culture that is used to initiate the fermentation process in yogurt making. It is a key ingredient and plays a vital role in the final product’s taste, texture, and tang. The starter culture contains live bacteria, specifically strains of Lactobacillus that convert the milk sugars into lactic acid, thereby thickening the milk and giving yogurt its signature tart flavor.

Typically, the starter culture is added to the milk along with other ingredients, such as powdered gelatin or yogurt thickening agents, to promote a creamy and thick yogurt consistency. This mixture is then incubated at a specific temperature for a specific duration of time within a yogurt maker or a saucepan on the stovetop.

The starter culture contains millions of bacterial cells that will begin the fermentation process once introduced to the milk. These bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments and will multiply rapidly, converting the lactose in the milk into lactic acid. This action imparts the tangy flavor and slightly thick texture to the yogurt.

There are different methods and recipes to make a yogurt starter, but the most common approach is to use a small amount of commercial yogurt, preferably one that contains active cultures, as the starter. The starter is usually added to milk heated to a specific temperature, often around 110°F (43°C), before being incubated for several hours. During this time, the bacteria will ferment the milk, transforming it into a thick and creamy yogurt.

It is important to note that the quality and taste of homemade yogurt heavily depend on the starter used. Using a high-quality, probiotic-rich starter will provide a better flavor and ensure the desired consistency. Additionally, some homemade yogurt recipes may call for the addition of other ingredients, like powdered milk or potassium sorbate, to enhance the texture and prolong the yogurt’s shelf life.

Overall, the yogurt starter acts as a catalyst for the fermentation process, kickstarting the conversion of milk into yogurt. It provides the necessary bacterial cultures, specifically Lactobacillus, which are responsible for the creation of a tangy and flavorful end product.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Making homemade yogurt is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to control the ingredients and the taste of your yogurt. The method involves fermenting milk with a yogurt starter, which is usually a small amount of yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures such as Lactobacillus. The starter provides the lactic acid bacteria necessary to convert the milk into yogurt.

To make homemade yogurt, you will need the following ingredients and equipment:

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of yogurt starter
  • A saucepan
  • A wooden spoon
  • A thermometer
  • A yogurt maker or a warm place to keep the yogurt mixture at a consistent temperature

Here are the steps to make yogurt at home:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 95°C (203°F) to kill any harmful bacteria present in the milk.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the milk cool to a temperature of 43°C (110°F).
  3. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt starter with a small amount of the warm milk to form a smooth paste.
  4. Add the yogurt starter mixture to the rest of the warm milk in the saucepan and stir well.
  5. If desired, you can also add a small amount of powdered gelatin to the mixture, which imparts a thicker texture to the yogurt.
  6. Pour the yogurt mixture into a yogurt maker or a glass jar and cover it.
  7. Keep the yogurt mixture at a temperature between 40°C to 46°C (104°F to 115°F) for 6 to 8 hours, allowing the bacteria to ferment and transform the milk into yogurt.
  8. After the incubation period, refrigerate the yogurt for at least 2 hours to let it set.
  9. Your homemade yogurt is now ready to enjoy!

Homemade yogurt will have a slightly different taste compared to store-bought varieties because it is made with fresh ingredients and the fermentation process may produce a tangier flavor. It will also have a creamier texture due to the higher content of lactic acid bacteria. Adding fruit, honey, or granola to your homemade yogurt can further enhance its taste and provide additional health benefits.

While making yogurt at home takes some time and requires specific steps, the end result is a delicious and probiotic-rich treat that you can enjoy as part of a healthy diet. Making your own yogurt also allows you to experiment with different flavors and textures, ensuring that your yogurt is tailored to your preferences.


To make yogurt starter at home, you will need a few essential pieces of equipment:

  1. A saucepan – This is where the action begins. You will need a saucepan to heat the ingredients and activate the bacterial cultures.
  2. A thermometer – Temperature control is crucial in the yogurt-making process. A thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of the mixture and ensure it stays within the desired range.
  3. A whisk or spoon – You will need a utensil to stir the ingredients together and make sure everything is well combined.
  4. A yogurt maker or an insulated cooler – The method you choose for incubation will determine the equipment you need. A yogurt maker provides a controlled environment for the yogurt to ferment, while an insulated cooler can also be used to keep the mixture warm within the required time frame.
  5. Cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer – This will be used during the resting phase to strain the yogurt and remove any excess whey, resulting in a thicker, creamier yogurt.
  6. Airtight containers – Once your yogurt is ready, you will need containers to store it. Make sure they are airtight to keep the yogurt fresh and prevent any contamination.

Having these equipment will ensure you can successfully make your own yogurt starter at home. They are essential for following the steps of the recipe and achieving the desired taste and texture.


When making homemade yogurt, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. 1 liter (4 cups) of milk – You can use any type of milk, such as whole milk, low-fat milk, or non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk.
  2. 1 tablespoon of powdered yogurt starter – You can purchase yogurt starter packets from a store or use a commercial brand of plain yogurt that contains live and active cultures.
  3. A saucepan – to heat the milk.
  4. Wooden spoon – for stirring.
  5. Tissue or cheesecloth – to cover the pot and allow the yogurt to ferment without contamination.
  6. A yogurt maker – optional but helps maintain a consistent temperature throughout the incubation process.

Note: If you don’t have a yogurt maker, you can use a slow cooker, an oven, or even a thermos to keep the yogurt at a constant temperature.

The process of making yogurt involves four main steps:

  1. Heating the milk
  2. Adding the starter
  3. Incubating the mixture
  4. Cooling and storing the yogurt

Keep in mind that the homemade yogurt will have a thinner consistency compared to store-bought yogurt. However, you can make it thicker by straining the yogurt using a cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

Making your own yogurt provides numerous benefits, as it is a great source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium, potassium, and lactic acid.

Homemade yogurt imparts a creamy and tangy taste, and you can customize it by adding different flavors or toppings like fruit, honey, or granola.


When making yogurt starter at home, there are several steps you must follow to ensure that it is made properly.

Step 1: Gather your equipment

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary equipment. You will need a saucepan, a wooden spoon or spatula for stirring, a thermometer to check the temperature, and containers to hold the yogurt starter.

Step 2: Heat the milk

In a saucepan, heat the milk to 180°F (82°C). This will kill off any unwanted bacteria.

Step 3: Cool the milk

Once the milk has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to 110°F (43°C). This is the perfect temperature for the bacteria to thrive.

Step 4: Add the starter

Add the yogurt starter to the cooled milk. You can use store-bought yogurt that contains live cultures or powdered yogurt starter, which provides a consistent amount of bacteria.

Step 5: Mix well

Stir the yogurt starter into the milk until it is well incorporated.

Step 6: Incubate the mixture

Keep the mixture in a warm place, ideally around 110°F (43°C), for 4-6 hours. This will allow the bacteria to ferment the milk and create the yogurt curd.

Step 7: Check for consistency

After the fermentation process, check the consistency of your yogurt. It should be thick and creamy. If it is too thin, you can strain it using cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve to remove excess liquid.

Step 8: Refrigerate and enjoy

Once your homemade yogurt starter has thickened to your liking, transfer it to containers and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow it to set fully. Then, you can enjoy your homemade yogurt!


– The amount of yogurt starter you use will depend on the recipe you are following. Typically, you will need about 1-2 tablespoons per quart of milk.

– Different methods of making yogurt starter exist, such as using a yogurt maker or a heat-insulated container.

– Yogurt starter is a good source of lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus, which are beneficial for gut health and digestion.

– While yogurt starter can be made with powdered gelatin or other ingredients, this recipe provides a basic method using milk and yogurt as the main ingredients.

– Making your own yogurt starter at home can save you money and allow you to customize the flavor and texture to your liking.


Here are some important notes and tips to keep in mind when making your own yogurt starter:

– Yogurts made from different sources may have slightly different tastes and consistencies. The type of milk used, whether whole, low-fat, or non-fat, and the method of fermentation can all affect the final taste and texture of the yogurt.

– The starter is what provides the yogurt cultures needed to ferment the milk and turn it into yogurt. It is usually a small amount of already made yogurt that is added to the milk. You can use store-bought yogurt or homemade yogurt as a starter.

– When using homemade yogurt as a starter, make sure it is fresh and within its expiration date. The yogurt should also be plain and unsweetened, as added sugars can interfere with the fermentation process.

– The lactic acid bacteria in the yogurt starter feed on the lactose in the milk and convert it into lactic acid. This lactic acid gives yogurt its tangy taste and helps thicken the milk to form a creamy texture.

– The milk and starter mixture should be kept at a warm temperature (around 110°F/43°C) for the bacteria to thrive and multiply. This can be achieved using a yogurt maker, a slow cooker, or even a thermos. If using a saucepan, you can keep it warm by wrapping it with towels or placing it in a warm oven with gentle heat.

– A small amount of powdered gelatin or agar agar can be added to the milk before fermentation to help thicken the yogurt. This is especially useful if you prefer a thicker yogurt consistency.

– Adding a pinch of salt or a teaspoon of powdered milk to the starter can help boost the lactic acid bacteria’s growth and activity.

– It is recommended to let the yogurt ferment for at least 8 hours, but you can let it go for up to 12 hours for a more tangy taste. Keep in mind that the longer it ferments, the more acidic it will become.

– Once the yogurt has fermented for the desired time, you can refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before consuming. This will help the yogurt set and become thicker.

– While making yogurt at home provides a natural source of probiotics, it is important to note that not all homemade yogurts will contain the same amount of live, active cultures. The number of beneficial bacteria can vary depending on the strains used and the fermentation process.

– If you notice any off flavors, strange odors, or mold growth in your homemade yogurt, it is best to discard it and start fresh with a new batch.

Home made yogurt starter with three different methods

Home made yogurt starter with three different methods

Making your own yogurt starter at home is a simple and cost-effective way to ensure that the yogurt you make is filled with healthy probiotic bacteria. By using three different methods, you can create a homemade starter that will give your yogurt a unique taste and texture.

Method 1: Using a store-bought yogurt

One of the easiest ways to make a yogurt starter is to use a small amount of store-bought yogurt. Simply mix 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with 1 liter of milk in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over low heat until it reaches around 180°F (82°C). Then, remove it from the heat and let it cool to around 110°F (43°C). Once cooled, the mixture can be used as a yogurt starter for your homemade yogurt recipe.

Method 2: Using powdered starter cultures

If you prefer a more controlled approach, you can use powdered starter cultures to make your yogurt starter. These starter cultures can be purchased from specialty stores or online. To use the powdered starter, follow the instructions provided with the product. Typically, you will need to add a small amount of the powdered starter to a quantity of milk, mix well, and let it rest for a specified amount of time. This method provides a consistent and reliable way to make homemade yogurt.

Method 3: Using a homemade starter from scratch

If you want to go a step further and make your own yogurt starter from scratch, you can do so by fermenting milk with certain ingredients. This method involves combining milk with a small amount of a fermented food or ingredient that contains live lactic acid bacteria, such as sauerkraut juice or wood ash. To make the starter, you will need to mix these ingredients with milk, keep it in a warm place for a specific time period, and then strain out the curds. The resulting liquid can be used as a starter for your homemade yogurt recipe.

Regardless of the method you choose, the starter you create will contain live lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus. These bacteria are what cause the fermentation process in yogurt making. The lactic acid bacteria convert lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid. This action imparts a tangy taste to the yogurt and provides the thick texture.

It is important to note that the quality of your homemade yogurt starter will depend on the quality of the ingredients and the steps you follow in the yogurt making process. So, choose high-quality milk and other ingredients, and follow a reliable recipe or method to ensure the best results.


Here are some sources to help you make your own yogurt starter:

  • Drops and Keep: You can make your own yogurt starter by using a few drops of fermented yogurt and keeping it aside for future use.
  • Methods: There are various methods for making yogurt starter. One common method involves adding a small amount of yogurt to milk and allowing it to ferment.
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria: Yogurt starter is made by adding lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, to milk. These bacteria ferment the lactose in the milk, creating lactic acid and giving yogurt its tangy taste.
  • Ingredients: To make yogurt starter, you will need milk, a small amount of yogurt, and any additional flavorings or sweeteners you desire.
  • Process: The process involves heating the milk in a saucepan, adding the yogurt, and allowing it to rest in a warm place for several hours.
  • Time and Temperature: The length of time required for fermentation and the temperature at which it should be done depends on the specific method used.
  • Wooden or Plastic Equipment: When making yogurt starter, it is important to use wooden or plastic equipment, as metal can interfere with the bacterial action.
  • Notes: Making yogurt starter at home provides you with a probiotic-rich food that can be used in a variety of recipes. The taste and texture of homemade yogurt can be adjusted according to personal preference.
  • Gelatin or Thickening Agents: If you prefer a thicker yogurt, you can add gelatin or other thickening agents to the milk before fermentation.
  • Rest Time: After the yogurt starter has fermented, it should be refrigerated for several hours to allow it to thicken and improve its texture.

By following these steps and using quality ingredients, you can make your own creamy and delicious homemade yogurt starter.

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