Pure Yogurt: Utilizing Kefir as a Yogurt Starter

Yogurt-making is having a second: From thick and creamy Aussie types to the tart and tangy Greek model there are myriad approaches to the perfecting the artwork of the craft. Dairy aficionado David Asher takes an unconventional route through the use of kefir as a starter. The approach is easy and the top result’s assured to please the tastebuds excess of the grocery retailer product sitting within the fridge.

The next excerpt is from The Artwork of Pure Cheesemaking by David Asher. It has been tailored for the online.

(Pictures courtesy of Kelly Brown except in any other case famous.)

It takes yogurt to make yogurt.

Within the strategy of yogurt-making, milk is first cooked; as soon as it’s cooled, a small quantity of yogurt starter tradition is added to the cooked milk, and the inoculated milk is then incubated at a heat temperature till the yogurt units. However although most yogurt makers supply their yogurt starter both from packages of freeze-dried yogurt tradition or with a little bit of yogurt saved from a earlier batch of yogurt-making, I make yogurt with kefir.

And although it might be an unconventional strategy to yogurt-making (is there a recipe on this guide that isn’t unconventional?), utilizing kefir as a yogurt starter works. That’s as a result of it’s the cooking of milk previous to culturing, adopted by a high-temperature culturing interval, that transforms milk to yogurt, and never any particular tradition that’s added to the milk.

Cooking the milk achieves a number of ends: First, it concentrates the milk, which ends up in a thicker curd because the yogurt ferments. Second, it denatures the albumin proteins within the milk into the curd, which additionally thickens the yogurt; and third, the high-temperature cooking and subsequent incubation reduces the oxygen within the milk, which inspires the suitable kinds of fermentation that give yogurt its finest qualities.

Making yogurt with kefir, the high-temperature incubation encourages the event of Lactobacillus and Streptococcus micro organism, each endemic to kefir and each answerable for giving yogurt good taste and texture. The low-oxygen circumstances inspired by the high-temperature incubation of the fermenting milk cut back the exercise of kefir’s yeast and fungal cultures, thus eliminating any effervescence that may usually develop.

Within the battle to realize the proper yogurt curd, many yogurt makers pull out all of the stops. Some imagine that the one option to get an excellent thick yogurt is so as to add powdered milk or milk protein concentrates, which, sadly, can have questionable origins. Others put money into costly and pointless yogurt-making machines. Many substitute their yogurt starter cultures ceaselessly, particularly those that use DVI yogurts, whose lab-raised micro organism are delicate to contamination if reused. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered that on condition that the milk is unprocessed, and the cultures are wholesome and lively, getting the precise texture in yogurt is all about following the right approach— particularly being attentive to the milk as it’s cooked and incubated.

For yogurt to develop its finest texture, its making calls for the maker’s full consideration. The milk ought to be cooked slowly to a excessive sufficient temperature— 185°F (85°C)—and for an extended time frame, a minimum of half an hour. The milk should be stirred nonstop as it’s cooked, to encourage evaporation but additionally to make sure that it doesn’t scorch on the underside or kind a pores and skin on the highest, each of that are coagulations of milk solids that take away from the thickness of the yogurt.

After cooking, you should cool the milk to the suitable incubation temperature, stirring all of the whereas to stop a pores and skin from forming. The cooled milk is inoculated with starter tradition (the much less you add, the higher the end result!), then the inoculated milk is incubated in a heat place to make sure it stays within the vary of temperature at which yogurt units finest—between 100 and 110°F (that’s 38 to 43°C). As soon as the milk has thickened, it has completed its transformation into yogurt and might be positioned within the fridge to halt its fermentation, or left to ferment longer if you happen to’re on the lookout for a extra acidic yogurt.

I’ve discovered wonderful outcomes when rigorously following this method when utilizing conventional yogurt cultures (a lot of which might be present in yogurt-making communities or from pure tradition firms like Cultures for Well being), or kefir. The benefits to utilizing kefir as a yogurt starter, nevertheless, are that you needn’t hassle preserving some other starters (one thing that deterred me from making yogurt with particular yogurt cultures) . . . and the variety of microorganisms throughout the tradition make a remarkably flavorful yogurt. Moreover, if the kefir is ready with uncooked milk, the end result can be a real uncooked milk yogurt.

RECIPE: Pure Yogurt


  • 1-gallon pot for cooking your milk (use both a heavy-bottomed pot or a double boiler to maintain the milk from scorching because it cooks)
  • 3 (1-quart or 1-L) Mason jars Improvised incubator

Time Body: 1–2 hours of preparation; 4–8 hours of incubation

Yield: Makes about 3 quarts (3 L) of yogurt


  • 1 gallon (4 L) whole-fat milk, pasteurized or uncooked, ideally unhomogenized
  • 3⁄4 cup (180 mL) lively kefir (strained kefir grains), ready the day earlier than, or yogurt


To make yogurt, cook dinner milk stirring all of the whereas; add kefir or yogurt tradition to the milk as soon as it has cooled, and preserve the milk heat till it units.

  1. Slowly heat the milk to 185°F (85°C) over medium warmth. Stir the milk because it warms.
  2. Prepare dinner the milk at 185°F for half-hour to 1 hour. Stir it nonstop. The longer the milk is cooked, the thicker the yogurt can be.
  3. Cool the milk to 110°F (43°C): Take the pot of milk off the warmth, and stir it till the temperature falls to that time. Don’t have a thermometer? An age-old methodology of judging the proper yogurt incubation temperature is to submerge your finger within the milk—if you need to pull it out in ache after 10 seconds, the temperature is excellent!
  4. Add the yogurt tradition to the milk: Add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) of kefir or yogurt to every jar, then add an equal quantity of the cooked milk, and blend the 2.
  5. Fill the jars with the remaining milk, and put a lid on them.
  6. Incubate at 100–110°F (39–43°C) for 4 to 12 hours, preserving the jars in a heat spot, similar to an insulated cooler crammed with heat water, or a heat oven with the sunshine on.
  7. After 4 hours, watch the jars for seen indicators of setting. As soon as the curd has set, your yogurt is prepared although if left to ferment longer, it could possibly develop its tanginess. Saved refrigerated, it is going to final a few weeks.

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