How to make Yogurt at home using Raw Milk

By DK on Jun 03, 2013
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
If you are an Indian, especially a South Indian - then a day does not pass without you having eaten yogurt.  It forms a part of our meal and our typical day to day menu is finished with yogurt (not dessert). When I first came to the US, I couldn't digest the fact that Yogurt was not a part of a meal here, leave alone having a daily presence. It amuses me to see Probiotics capsules and pills adorning the shelves of all the stores (P.S This amusement is not directed to people with specific requirements like No Dairy diet, Vegans etc, but for those who opt for it inspite of being able to afford/digest yogurt).
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
But it also made me realise how I took humble yogurt for granted back in the days in India."Curd" [in Indian English], "Dahi" [in Hindi], "Thayir" [in Tamil], "Perugu" [in Telugu], "da'i [in Bengali], "Mosaru" [in Kannada] enjoys a grand reception in India and no meal is complete without some yogurt preparation. Every family makes their own yogurt and I never heard of store bought yogurt until well into my 20's.  I remember my mother buying yogurt (in small earthen pots) only 2 times and that too 'cos of dire emergencies.  Oh yes, if you don't have enough yogurt at home, its indeed an emergency.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
It took me quite a while to start making my own yogurt in the US and now that I have, I desist the ones from the store.

Points worth knowing
  1. Type of Milk: The type of milk you use [Goat Milk, Full fat milk, Pasteurized Milk, Homogenized Milk, Raw Milk, 2% Milk, 1% Milk, Fat free] will dictate how your yogurt will turn out.  The lower the fat, thinner the yogurt. 
  2. Is Thermometer Required: No. I have never known my mom or grandmothers to ever use one. The heat of the milk should be warm not hot. Feel it on your wrists before adding the yogurt to the milk.
  3. Can you use Slow Cooker (Crockpot) to make Yogurt: Yes, if your slow cooker can keep the milk temperature at 105-110F for around 6-8 hours.
  4. My Yogurt is thin, why?:  See Point 1.
  5. My Yogurt is not set - its still Milk. Help!: You probably used UHT (Ultra High Temperature) processed milk. Though at times, it still makes yogurt, I have had trouble with it.And/or You probably used a yogurt culture that did not have live cultures and/or had loads of additives (that's a norm in the US market). And/or You probably did not keep the milk at 105-110 F temperature or added the culture when the milk was too hot/too cold.

my kitchen notes (plus loads of online references)

Basic Information
Prep Time: 4 to 8 hours
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes 8 Servings
  • 4 cups Raw Milk, See Tips
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt from the store or previous batch - See Tips
1. Raw Milk: Once you taste the yogurt made from Unpasteurized and unhomogenized (in other words Raw Milk), you will never buy yogurt from the store again. Extremely nutritious, extremely creamy and extremely delicious. If you think I am going overboard with the word "extremely", have to insist to let this yogurt do the talking for me. If you are not up to using the real deal yet and/or do not get it in your place, I would suggest using Vat Pasteurized Milk with Cream top (which is Unhomogenized Milk) instead. If even that is not available, use any milk of your choosing in this recipe. It will still make a decent yogurt.
2. Yogurt:Make sure to get the yogurt that is plain, unsweetened and addictive free with live cultures. Or ask a friendly Indian neighbor/Indian restaurant that makes its own yogurt for a little amount - most of us are generous with our homemade stuff ;). Or else, look for a Yogurt Starter (freeze dried powder) and use it as per the instructions in the packet.
Heat the Raw milk to 110F. When heating it to just 110F, the Milk is still considered to be in its Raw state.

Note: It is not necessary to use Raw Milk for this recipe.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
If you are not comfortable using Raw Milk, you can either pasteurize it at home yourself or use an already pasteurized milk from the store. I would suggest using unhomogenized milk but you can still enjoy yogurt either ways (albeit with less fat and creaminess) - Please refer Tip 1 for more details.

Note: If you are using already boiled Milk, then make sure to bring down the temperature to 110F before the next step.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
I had some yogurt from my previous batch and hence used the same. Please refer Tip 2 for more details
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Add it to the milk. Usually the amount of starter varies depending on the climate of the region. Back in India (esp. in the South), a wee little amount is only needed for a large batch of milk to make yogurt (which would set in like 5-6 hours before turning sour if you don't refrigerate it soon owing to humidity). If you are in colder regions with little or barely any humidity, you would require more starter. Ideally you would require around 1 tbsp starter to 1 cup raw milk.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Stir and whisk it so that it dissolves and is well distributed  throughout.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Close with a lid and keep it in a place where it's temperature is anywhere between 105F to 110F for it to incubate. I preheat the Oven for couple of minutes, switch it off and leave the pan inside it overnight. It takes around 6-8 hours to set.  [will take less in humid places and more in very cold places]
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
See that set yogurt with a yellow layer on top?.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Because this milk is not homogenized, the cream rises to the top and is thick. This is the stuff that we used to fight for, back in home. It tastes -'oh so delicious'. This has chock full of beneficial bacteria to help your system get its act together.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Point to consider before making Raw Milk yogurt:
  1. Raw Milk Yogurt will be of thinner consistency when compared to Yogurt made using Pasteurized milk. This is because, pasteurization damages the proteins in the milk and the byproduct  of it leads to thicker yogurt.
  2. If you want thicker yogurt, I would recommend straining the yogurt using a cheesecloth to drain out some of the whey (yes, the liquid is whey) thereby leaving a thicker yogurt. Don't throw that precious precious whey away. Its magical liquid. Refer this link to see  How to use Whey.  Commercial method of thickening yogurt is by adding Dry Milk powder or Agar Agar (China Grass)/Gelatin or Tapioca Starch. I do not personally opt for these.

How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Next time, you think of popping in some Pro biotic pills, consider making this natural powerhouse a staple in your house (of course, provided you can afford/digest yogurt). Your gut, your immune system - overall your whole being will thank you for it. How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
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80 Responses to “How to make Yogurt at home using Raw Milk”
  1. debanshu roy

    i have a query, does the container need a still place for for yogurt formation ? meaning of the container is constantly agitated to or under vibration will it set.

    That’s a good question. I am not really sure. I have placed it in a still place to set. –DK

  2. Rose

    How long do I heat my electric oven for before turning it off to leave the yogurt 6-8hrs overnight. What temp do I heat it to before turning it off. Thank you. Rose.

  3. stan

    Nice and clear explanation… one question. do I HAVE to have a starter? I mean… what did those who started do without a starter. Perhaps their original batch was simply culturized by itself overtime as spoiled milk naturally does. So I have the blessed Raw Milk, but not the starter. Please help. thanks

  4. vrunda

    Great info.I use the regular milk from Indian grocery. I hate the yogurt with gelatin. I tried to use curd from Indian store as culture to start. I follow the same steps you mentioned, similar to what my mom did, but I sometimes get sticky long strings like honey, in the curd. Please help.

  5. Sheryl

    I used to throw everything out if it sat out over night. I thought it would kill my mom. She is probably healthier because of her frugal and sometimes scary ways. Now I lacto ferment, make kefir and kombucha and now thanks to this site I will be making yogurt too! So excited. My diverticulitis and tummy troubles are slowly fading. Praise God and all our kind educators out there!

  6. I heat up fresh goat milk to 185 and then cool it to 112 and add culture. Wrap the pot with several thick towels and let sit overnight. Yummy and thick!

  7. Jay Godse

    Thanks for that. I was under the impression that I had to get the milk to hot enough to get a bit bubbly. Your argument for 110 degrees makes much more sense. (And I am using raw Jersey milk). I always worried that I was damaging the milk protein with that heat. And it’s nice to know that at 110 degrees with raw milk, I’m going to get a thinner yogurt. That is exactly what I was getting, so I thought that I was doing it wrong.

  8. Terje

    Hm, I do not conceive this as making yoghurt. Using an “old” yoghurt just means you continue this existing culture.
    How can I start my own yoghurt starter (without using already existing yoghurt) ??? :roll:

  9. Ashley

    Hello! Thank you so much for posting this I love it! When u preheat the oven do u preheat it at 110 degrees and then turn it off right when it reaches temp and keep the door closed for 6–8hrs? Also how long is the yogurt good for after it’s made? do you ever sweeten the yogurt? Thanks again for posting this recipe it blows my mind that I can make yogurt at home!

  10. A

    If we use the expired date of curd in USA as starter does it still be gud

  11. JOESY


  12. i rely dnt knw wt s yogurt bt i heard it so mny tyms n m intention is to knw wt is yogurt n i reachd ur site n finally cam to knw its jst curd

  13. Sam

    I accidentally left my yogurt out for 24 hours. It tastes fine. We live in Hawaii where it’s about 83 degrees. I didn’t heat it to 110, I just left it at room temp. Yogurt making is very forgiving!

  14. I’m so glad I found your page. I make goat milk soap and have found that yogurt makes the bar harder for some reason so have been making my own. I have dairy goats but have been pasteurizing the milk-I wanted to see if I could make it with the raw milk and here I see I can. I just made a batch and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  15. Debralee

    I accidentally left my yogurt sitting in the oven for 12-13 hours instead of 6-8. Is it still ok to eat or do I need to toss it? It was the first time I made yogurt so I have no idea.

    I think it should be totally OK for consumption. But depending on your weather, it might taste totally sour if humid/hot in which case, you can use it in your cooking. –DK

  16. bonny

    will YOGURT still produce Phlegm in my system?

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