How to make… yoghurt

Yoghurt starts with yoghurt. Just a spoon of it.

Then all you need are a couple pints of full-fat milk, a thermos flask and 8 hours of no work whatsover, to get you a whole big lot of it. Thick tangy lovely yoghurt. No effort, a lot less plastic and a few quid saved.

My grandma would do this on a routine basis, bringing home bottles of raw milk from the farm, which she’d then boil up on the stove. The smell of hot milk still takes me back to her kitchen. You can use raw milk like she did, and arguably it makes silkier yoghurt, but it’s not totally necessary. Pasteurised milk from the shop works well, and that’s what I use here. Full-fat will give you thicker yoghurt, and personally, I prefer it.

When you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll need to buy a small pot of live yoghurt. This is the “starter” which has the bacteria you need to transform plain milk into a pot of your favourite. Once you’ve made your first batch, you can freeze a small amount to make the next lot. Add a good spoonful of live yoghurt to a thermos; you don’t need any fancy equipment – a simple, wide-mouthed thermos of any kind will do fine.

Heat 2 pints of full-fat milk over a medium-low heat until almost bubbling (85ºC), then leave to cool so you can stick your finger in but it’s still pretty hot (46ºC). If you want to get specific with this, use a thermometer.

Pour a good splash of the milk into the thermos and stir well to combine with the yoghurt, then pour in all of the remaining milk.

Close the thermos immediately, then set aside for at least 8 hours – don’t move it about at all. Then…

There you have it! Tangy, thick, live yoghurt. Divide between jars and store in the fridge.

Till the next time….
Freeze a good tablespoon of yoghurt to use for your next starter.
Use up leftover yoghurt in my grandma’s yoghurt cake (it’s bloomin’ delicious), or dollop on these squash pancakes.




  1. This looks amazing! I just have a few questions….

    1. How long does this last before it expires?
    2. Why whole-fat dairy milk?
    3. What about flavors?

    Thanks for what is sure to be a useful tip for my family!

    1. Hi Dana! Sure. It lasts 1 to 2 weeks for me. Decanting it into clean jars helps to keep it for longer.
      Whole fat isn’t totally necessary but it makes a creamier yoghurt. The less the fat content of the milk, the less creamy the yoghurt. You could try semi-skimmed and see what you get. I’m sure it will still be good.
      Try adding flavour extract (like vanilla) or I tend to add a dollop of jam. Or you could cook some fruit in a pan with a bit of sugar or honey over a medium-low heat for around 15 minutes to make a healthy compote. Delicious stirred into yoghurt!

      I hope that helps?
      Malou x

  2. Bethan O'Sullivan

    Oh thank you for the recipe. Is there anything I can do to it, to make it taste like apricot fromage frais as my lo is fussy x

    1. Hi Bethan, how about mixing in a bit of apricot jam? Or any jam for that matter depending on the flavour you want? Malou x

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