Here’s a revelation: you can make your own yoghurt at home. And you don’t need anything fancy, just yoghurt (or yoghurt cultures) and milk. It’s that easy. Why would you do this, we hear you ask. Because it does wonders for your gut health (and it’ll look great on Instagram).

Are you ready to learn how to make home-made yoghurt? Excellent! Simply follow the easy steps below to start your own culture club.

Remember to save ½ cup of your home-made yoghurt to use to culture your next batch. If after a few batches it starts to taste a bit strange or you notice that it’s not culturing quite as quickly, another unwelcome bacteria may have appeared in your yoghurt, or the strain is becoming weak. As long as the latest batch still tastes okay you can eat it, but go back to using commercially made yoghurt in your next batch.

How to make home-made yoghurt: the benefits

You’ll have seen the word “probiotics” on yoghurt packaging, which refers to the beneficial bacteria that are used to ferment milk to make yoghurt.

Your gut already has thousands of types of bacteria, which aid digestion. The good bacteria stave off disease-causing bacteria and those present in yoghurt and other fermented foods help to maintain this delicate balance. The bacteria used to make yoghurt are most commonly Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. They feed off the lactose (sugar) in milk and release lactic acid, which gives yoghurt its characteristic tang.

Know your yoghurts

You’ll find yoghurt in many different guises around the world – and it’s not just eaten with granola.

Greek-style (or strained) yoghurt has been strained to remove the whey, resulting in a thicker consistency with a distinctive sour taste. It has a high fat content and is often used in cooking as it can withstand higher temperatures without curdling. It’s also delicious drizzled with honey, or with Hannah’s potato skins and blistered tomatoes.

Hangop (literally “hang up”) is a Dutch strained yoghurt eaten as a dessert. It can also be made with buttermilk.

Labneh is slightly thicker than strained yoghurt and is usually eaten like hummus, spread on a plate and drizzled with olive oil. It’s also often paired as a dip with za’atar. It can also be dried and shaped into balls, rolled in herbs and stored in olive oil. Labneh
becomes more sour as it ages. Here’s a little inside info: you’ll find it in the fridge at Woolies, too. Try it in this baked shakshuka with home-made labneh.


  1. Pour 8 cups milk into a heavy-based saucepan (cast-iron works best) and place over medium to medium-high heat. Warm the milk to just below boiling, about 93°C. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Stir the milk gently as it heats to make sure the bottom doesn’t catch and the milk doesn’t boil over. This step is necessary to change the protein structure in the milk so it sets as a solid instead of separating.

    Step 1

  2. Let the milk cool until it is just warm to the touch, about 44°C. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

    Step 2

  3. Place about 1 cup warm milk into a bowl. Add the yoghurt and whisk until smooth
    and dissolved in the milk.

    Step 3

  4. Whisking gently, pour the thinned yoghurt into the warm milk. This inoculates the milk with the yoghurt culture.

    Step 4

  5. Cover the saucepan and place in the oven with the oven light on or wrap the pot in towels to keep the milk warm as it sets (ideally around 44°C). You can also make the yoghurt in a dehydrator or using a yoghurt maker.

    Step 5

  6. Let the yoghurt set for at least 4 hours or overnight – the exact time will depend on the cultures used, the temperature of the yoghurt, and your preference. The longer yoghurt sits, the thicker and more tart it becomes. If this is your first time making it, start checking it after 4 hours and stop when it reaches a flavour and consistency you like. Avoid stirring the yoghurt until it has fully set.

    Step 6

  7. Once the yoghurt has set to your liking, remove it from the oven. If you see any watery whey on the surface of the yoghurt, you can drain it off or whisk it back into the yoghurt before transferring to containers. Whisking also gives the yoghurt a more consistent creamy texture.

    Step 7

  8. Transfer into storage containers, cover and refrigerate. Home-made yoghurt will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

    Step 8

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    Elza Johnson
    29 April 2020

    The recipe doesn’t seem to include the quantity of milk to use?

    1. default
      13 May 2020

      Thanks for spotting that Elza. We’ve fixed. It should say 8 cups of milk.