Learn how to make yogurt!

Wondering how to make yogurt because you want to eat healthy? Great! You've come to the right place.

There are many inexpensive, fun, and educational ways to eat healthy, learning how to make yogurt is just one. Learning about common edible plants (intro lesson) is another. Other resourceful ways to eat a simple, healthy, wholesome, and delicious diet include eating oatmeal from a jar, cutting out high fructose corn syrup andhydrogenated oils (article on why and how). As a fun sustainable activity, learning how to make yogurt with both kids and adults teaches the joy and wonder of fermentation. Best of luck as you learn how to make yogurt.

Goat's Milk also great for yogurt.Credit: morguefile

ACTIVITY: How to make Yogurt

TIME: 45 minutes



  • 3 2-quart mason jars
  • several bottles for hot water
  • large double boiler
  • candy thermometer
  • towels, blankets, sleeping bags
  • insulated cooler
  • 6 quarts raw milk
  • 6 tbs fresh live-culture plain yogurt (starter)


By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Know how to make yogurt.
  • Explain the health benefits that come from eating yogurt.
  • Explain the difference between raw and pasteurized milk.


  1. Discuss the general topic of dairy fermentation and then connect it to the task of learning how to make yogurt.
  2. Preheat the jar and insulated cooler with hot water so they will not drain heat from the yogurt and it can stay warm to ferment.
  3. Heat the milk until bubbles begin to form. If you use a thermometer, heat milk to 180ºF. Use gentle heat, and stir frequently, to avoid burning the milk. It does not need to come to a full boil. The heating is not absolutely necessary, but it results in a thicker yogurt.
  4. Cool the milk to 110ºF, or to the point whether it feels hot, but it is not hard to keep your finger in it. You can speed the cooling process by setting the pot with the hot milk into a bowl or pot of cold water. Don’t let the milk get too cool; the yogurt cultures are most active in the above-body-temperature range.
  5. Mix starter yogurt into the milk. Use just 1 tablespoon per quart (6 tbs, in our case). Using more yogurt than called for will result in a watery, sour yogurt. Mix the starter thoroughly into the milk, and pour the mixture into the preheated jar.
  6. Cap the jar and place it in the preheated insulated cooler. If much space remains in the cooler, fill it with bottles of hot water (not too hot to touch) and towels, blankets, sleeping backs, or other appropriate insulation. Close the cooler. Place the cooler in a warm spot where it will not be disturbed.
  7. Check the yogurt after 8 to 12 hours. Assign one student to this task, to be done that evening. When it is done, it should have a tangy flavor and some thickness. If it isn’t thick (hasn’t “yoged”) warm it up by filling the insulated cooler with hot water around the jar of yogurt, adding more starter, and leaving it 4 to 8 more hours. Leaving it longer will result in a more sour yogurt.
  8. Share with the students that the process behind this is the milk’s lactose being converted into lactic acid. A longer fermentation period can often make yogurt digestible even for lactose-intolerant people.
  9. When the yogurt is finished, store it in the refrigerator. Explain that, for the next batch, we can use some of this yogurt for the starter.
  10. After the main part of the lesson, steps 1 through 5, have a short discussion with the students, using the questions under “evaluation” as a guide.


Evaluate the students on their participation, responses to questions asked during the procedure, and overall attitudes towards the activity. Does the students now know how to make yogurt? Evaluate also on the students’ discussion around these questions:

a.    Why might it be useful to know how to make yogurt, regardless of where one lives?

b.    Could this be done with any milk, even pasteurized milk from the store?

c.     What are other ways to preserve milk?


Katz, S. E. (2003). Wild Fermentation. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.