The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


rozeboosje's picture


I might be completely barking up the wrong tree, but here's a little cross-discipline post for ya...


Looking into other things to ferment I'm toying with the idea of making my own yogurt. For that, I believe, you'd need a healthy LAB culture.


Thing is ... I have a culture - my sourdough starter - which is very healthy. And obviously it contains plenty of lactobacillae. But of course it also contains a lot of yeast, and that will be of NO use in a yogurt starter.

So here's the question - a two parter - 1) Is my idea completely bonkers or does it have potential and 2) what do I need to do to get rid of the yeast?

Two possibilities occurred to me:

One possibility is that by taking some of my sourdough starter and feeding that bit with ONLY milk I naturally make its environment unsuitable for yeast, so all I need to do is feed it like that for a few days and maybe it'll just "magically" turn into a yogurt starter over time
Another possibility: perhaps I can work with temperature and/or salt levels to achieve the goal of getting rid of the yeast. If, for example, the LABs can take 50 degrees Celsius while the yeast dies off at 40, then bringing the liquid up to 45 degrees for a while might just do the trick. Or, conversely, if yeast dies at 4% salt levels, while LABs can tolerate 8%, I can bring the mixture up to 6% and that'll take care of matters.

Anyway. Has anybody ever tried anything as daft as this?

mrfrost's picture

Bonkers. Use store bought yogurt or a purchased yogurt starter(or however you can obtain a little yogurt) to make homemade yogurt. Once you get your own batch going, you can continue to propagate it almost indefinitely. You can typically buy a small cup or so of plain yogurt(with active cultures) for a dollar or less.

I've been making my own with a 79 cents cup of yogurt I bought over 3 years ago. I just recently got a hold of some probiotic capsules that I add in periodically to maybe get a better variety of cultures going.

I've done a lot of reading on making homemade yogurt and buttermilk and never came across such a suggestion(as yours). Doesn't mean it's not possible though.

Good luck in doing anything else. Wouldn't be worth the waste in milk to me.

rozeboosje's picture

[makes sign of the cross] Never! :P

Seriously, though, one of the challenges here is to make something that is entirely mine. When I wanted to start sourdough baking I could have gone to the local artisan bakery and asked them for a little of their starter to get me started. Sure, that would have worked. But I decided to make my own starter, and every time I bake now I can revel in the smug satisfaction of knowing that I made the bread using a starter that I created from scratch. I'm funny like that.


The experimenting is as much fun as the actual baking - or yogurt making in this case :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The other thing you can do is use your own spit.  It is full of LABs, look it up.  You can avoid yeast that way.

...And no, I have not tried it, I prefer to purchase an active starter in yogurt.

rozeboosje's picture

LABs are everywhere, so it stands to reason that they'd be in there, too. But while I wouldn't have a personal issue with using my own spit I don't think the explanation would sell very well to those I was going to subject to a taste test [grin] - of course I wouldn't have to TELL anyone ...

adri's picture

Even though I think, L. delbrueckii exists in both sourdough and yoghurt, I think, there are other subspecies (e.g. bulgaricus in yoghurt) present. And as far as I remember, L. delbrueckii isn't even dominant in sourdough.

The other microorganisms are from different species.

But you can give it a try. As most yeast cannot ferment lactose, why not feed it with just milk.

My yoghurt "maker" (low tech) just consist of a thermos where you put in boiling water and a plastic container with milk and the microorganisms. It wouldn't work with anything different than 1l of milk.

But you can try smaller amounts in a marmalade glass by keeping it warm.

rozeboosje's picture

Of course there are always some critters naturally present in milk, even if it's been pasteurised, as eventually even pasteurised milk WILL go "sour", so perhaps the other species may eventually be introduced through the milk itself?

dabrownman's picture

SD culture is one in trillion - it doesn't have the right wee beasties to make yogurt.  There are lots of different LAB out there and the primary Acidophilus (ABY-2C) usually won't be found it SD bread cultures.  Commercial makers use Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilis, although some manufacturers use Lactobacillus bulgaricus rather than L. acidophilus.

The thing to remember is that we bake bread to to 205 F on the inside that kills anything that might be bad in the SD culture or dough.  With yogurt, you heat the milk to 185 F to kill of what is it, then cool the mix to 115 F and add the culture, If there is bad stuff in the culture it will not be killed off but thrive in yogurt instead.  .You don;t want to be messing around with listeria or bad bugs that can kill you. 

Best to nake yogurt the way most folks do with a live culture taken from plain active yogurt or buy the probiatics from a manufacture.  Same with cheese making that goes beyond fresh cheeses if you don't know what you are doing, 

Happy yogurt making. 

clazar123's picture

Find someone locally that makes kefir and get some grains. Technically you haven't "made" it yourself but I believe you would enjoy it. 1 pint milk in a wide mouth jar,1 grape sized kefir grain-24 hours covered with a paper towel and  you have kefir. A little more liquid than spoonable yogurt but quite delicious.Being a mesophilic, it cultures at room temp.

Then there is villis-same idea but you take some from the last batch. I kept mine going for about 4 years but accidentally used it all and didn't save any for the next batch.

Matsoni yogurt-same idea as villis.

My house is so full of culture that my milk (in the container) can actually culture itself in the refrigerator sometimes. I don't know who is responsible-villis or kefir but it is usually quite delicious. It can't be the kimchi. I think it would taste a bit off.

I say try it and see what happens. Just inoculate a pint of room temperature milk with a spoon that was just dipped in the SD and see what happens.It doesn't take much. Cover with a paper towel and leave it on the counter. 24 hours later-see where you are at.