How to Make Yogurt from Powdered Milk

by Erich

I’m a big fan of yogurt, especially the thicker kind like Greek yogurt. If I had to go without it during TEOTWAWKI you might as well end my world right then and there.

…kidding.

But really, I love yogurt and if you’re like me then you probably would like to have it around after the SHTF. If that’s the case, it’s definitely a good idea to learn how to make it NOW…especially from your long-term food stores.

Speaking of long-term food storage, hopefully you guys are working on building your long-term food stores (if not, check out Prepper Academy to get exact step-by-step details into how to build up a solid food-storage plan as well as master the other aspects of prepping).

As part of your long-term stores, I HIGHLY recommend having powdered milk. Besides obviously reconstituting it to have milk, there are quite a variety of things you can make from it like different cheeses, “sour creams”, and yes, even yogurt.

Having Yogurt Post SHTF

The key with making yogurt from your food storage is to have a starting yogurt culture available. This can be easily acquired by purchasing yogurt from the store.

Once you make your own yogurt from the instructions below, you can continue to make yogurt by saving a little off from the previous batch, continuing this process for as long as you’d like to have yogurt.

Making yogurt from powdered milk is actually a simple process:

How to Make Yogurt from Powdered Milk

What You Need

  • Powdered milk
  • Yogurt (w/ active cultures)
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Mason jar (or similar)
  • “Yogurt Incubator” – This can be many things. Basically you want something that will maintain a steady temp of around 100°F – 115°F for 3-4 hours. In my example I use an Excalibur dehydrator but you can also use a crockpot, a slow cooker or even a large pot filled with water on a very low heat (this must be monitored).

    Your yogurt mixture can be placed in a jar which is then placed in the warm environment (like with the example shown here or immersing the jar in water that is kept at a warm temp) or you can place the mixture directly in the cooker (like in a crockpot or slow cooker).

Making Yogurt – Step-by-Step

Step 1: Reconstitute powdered milk. In a pot, add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of powdered milk and stir until mixed thoroughly (this is stronger than how you would normally reconstitute the milk).
Step 2: Heat milk. Using a thermometer for accuracy, heat milk to 180°F.
Step 3: Remove milk from heat. After reaching 180°F remove the milk from the heat source and let it stand until it reaches a temp of 110°F.
Step 4: Mix in yogurt. Using store-bought yogurt w/ active cultures (or from a previously made batch) thoroughly mix in two tablespoons into the warm milk and pour mixture into your jar. Here’s what you want to see when reading the labels on your store-bought yogurt:
Step 5: Place yogurt mixture in warm environment. Using your incubator of choice, place your yogurt mixture in it and try to maintain a temp of around 100°F – 115°F. I place my jar in an Excalibur food dehydrator with the trays removed at a setting of 115°F. Yes I do close the door (not shown in this pic)

During a SHTF type of situation I could use my hot-water canner and place the jar in there (NOT AT BOILING TEMPS THOUGH). You would need to babysit it quite a bit to ensure that the temps don’t get higher than 115°F.
Step 6: Remove yogurt from incubator. After around 3 to 4 hours, check on your yogurt to ensure it has coagulated (just look, don’t stir or disturb!). At this point there may be a small amount of whey separation on top (hard to see in this picture). If so just pour that little bit off and enjoy your yogurt while warm or refrigerate for normal cold yogurt.
(optional) Step 7: Make Greek-style yogurt. To make a thicker yogurt like Greek-style yogurt, just pour your yogurt in a cheesecloth, coffee filter, or even a cotton t-shirt and hang it over the sink for a couple hours (until the thickness reaches your liking).

Step 8: Flavor (if desired) and enjoy!. If you’ve made Greek yogurt, keep in mind you’ll lose about half the volume of the original batch (my two-cup recipe in this example made around 1 cup of Greek yogurt).

Troubleshooting Failed Yogurt

If after 4 hours you still don’t have any coagulation, then it’s likely your yogurt has failed. Here are some possible reasons for failure:

  • Your starting yogurt culture was dead before you used it. Be sure to purchase or use fresh yogurt with active cultures.
  • You killed the yogurt culture. You possibly added the yogurt to too hot milk (didn’t wait until it reached 110°F before adding) or you killed it in your incubator. In either case, ensure the temp of the culture never reaches much over 115°F.
  • You disturbed the yogurt while it was “incubating”. Do not mix, stir or otherwise heavily disturb the developing yogurt. It’s ok to visually check it or move it VERY SLIGHTLY to ensure it has set.
  • Yogurt was in the incubator too long. If the yogurt has separated quite a bit and is bubbly, you likely kept it in the incubator too long.
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61 Comments»

Comment by carol brombaugh
2013-02-26 15:29:37

Are you using instant or non-instant powdered milk? (The granular stuff from the store or the talc-like powder from the cannery).

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-26 15:41:10

Hey Carol,

I’m using the stuff from the cannery (non-instant).

 
 
Comment by Buffy
2013-02-26 15:32:23

I like to add a tablespoon of gelatin to my home made yogurt. It gives it a nice firm consistency. I’ve made flavored yogurt by adding a package of jello.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-26 15:41:35

Gelatin. Hmm, I’ve never thought of that. Thanks for the tip Buffy!

 
 
Comment by Woody
2013-02-26 15:49:17

If we have a dire situation like SHTF I am doubting very much that most people will have the presence of mind to search out yogurt with LAC, but I may be mistaken. However, I am planning for my back-ups to have back-ups. I am really needing to know how to begin with having no LAC? What do you do when you don’t have a starter yogurt to work from? Any advice would be helpful.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-26 15:55:32

Woody,

After SHTF, people will be desperately wanting as many things returning to normal as possible. Having food that you and your loved ones are accustomed to eating is a big morale booster and comfort.

As for a LAC, yeah, I’ve been looking for that answer as well. My plan (at the present) is to never run out. Since we make yogurt quite regularly here I’m hoping I’ll always have a LAC available.

 
 
Comment by Allison
2013-02-26 16:08:16

I used to buy yogurt starter powder from a natural food store-they stopped carrying it but I’ll bet it’s still out there somewhere-I think it was European.

 
Comment by Allison
2013-02-26 16:10:47

amazon, but of course! http://amzn.com/B0009TN7FC

 
Comment by Patrick
2013-02-26 16:13:59

Hmmm. Our family really loves yogurt. We go through 10 – 15 of those little tubs a week. I am torn on this one. I really like the idea of making yogurt from powdered milk. I am just wondering how to keep the LAC alive in a long term stored condition. From what I am finding, the shelf life of homemade yogurt is about 21 days in the fridge. I guess this could be possible if you don’t plan to run out of homemade yogurt. If you have to bug out for a remote location, taking yogurt with you would not be one of my first priorities.

In any event, this is a great article. We may not be able to use it for a long term plan, but it will serve us well before a SHTF event. Thanks.

 
Comment by carol brombaugh
2013-02-26 16:51:51

Thanks. I thought so, but wanted to make sure. They both work a little differently. I’m wondering if a bread proofing box would keep the culture warm enough or even a hot box made with cardboard and straw? I will have to play around with this a little. If the culture doesn’t set up, you can still use it in cooking so no waste.

 
Comment by DaveP
2013-02-26 17:56:09

Hey guys – there’s packets of yogurt starter cultures on Amazon – looks like they’ll last about a year unopened.

 
Comment by Ecomum
2013-02-26 18:16:45

I have a yogurt maker which holds 6 individual pots and keeps it at a low, even temperature. It doesn’t have a timer so I have to keep an eye on it, but I believe that newer versions do and also have an auto cutoff.
Years ago, I used to leave it overnight on the drying rack above my wood stove, once it was closed down for the night; it was usually done by breakfast.

 
Comment by Woody
2013-02-26 18:40:28

Yeah. That’s probably not a good option in that the packaging says that it shouldn’t be used as a starter (look in one of the comments). I was wondering how cultures would survive in powder form anyways. LOL I kind of figured that there was going to be a problem with trying to start LAC on my own. Nothing ventured, nothing lost.

 
Comment by linda
2013-02-26 21:46:02

I use a Playmate cooler to incubate my yogurt. Fill it w/ very hot water and let it sit while I heat the milk. Then when I am ready to put the jars in the cooler I dump the hot water out of it and put warm (@120 ) water in just to the rims of the jars. I use 1/2 pint canning jars. Works great.

 
Comment by Matt
2013-02-26 22:08:00

I purchased a bottle of probiotics (live culture) at the health food store that I’ve been using for the past year. One bottle with 90 capsules for $20. For one quart of the prepared milk, I open one capsule and within the 4 hours my yogurt has set. I found this cheaper than yogurt culture starter and always have an open bottle in the frig in case I don’t keep a starter from my previous batch.

 
Comment by Mary
2013-02-26 23:53:34

What about the yogurt that you buy from supermarket & health stores, to make up at home when ever you want it. that must have a starter in it, put it in a flask & pour hot water in it & wait

 
Comment by kathy
2013-02-27 08:32:01

the answer may be to stock up on freeze dried yogurt starter..then when SHTF won’t have to worrry about keepng refrigerated yogurt starter.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-27 13:41:50

Kathy,

Thanks for that. I never realized they made freeze-dried yogurt culture. I found some on Amazon but am having a hard time determining the shelf life.

 
 
Comment by BENNIE
2013-02-27 11:51:54

FYI, I am pretty sure most yogurt cultures die above 120F so you may want to revise the 150F thing it will only lead to a lot of rotten milk.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-27 13:39:22

Thanks Bennie,

that was supposed to read 115 not 150. Thanks for looking out for us 🙂

 
 
Comment by Jeffster
2013-02-27 16:37:28

T.I.–

Great article!

Here on your blog, it still references the *incorrect* “150°F” number in ONE instance, that I can see:

In the section titled “What You Need” (first section after your intro comments), in the first para. under ” ‘Yogurt Incubator’- ”

You probably want to log-in and make that one critical correction ASAP!

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-02-28 13:37:18

Thanks man. Updated.

 
 
Comment by Metrakay
2013-02-27 23:22:58

Please check out kefir grains — if you drain the whey from the product you will get something very much like Greek yogurt, and kefir coagulates at room temperature. I don’t let mine do the “secondary fermentation” as it is too tart for me. And you get more grains with time, so you can split them off to other people. They also contain a lot more probiotics than yogurt cultures do. It takes me about 6-14 hours to kefir a quart of milk depending on temperature of the room, and quantity of grains.

The best part is it all happens at room temperature.

 
Comment by Carol
2013-02-28 12:59:44

A couple of thoughts. As far as dry starter keeping well, it reminds me of tales of the Gold Rush era when miners would dry out their sourdough starter so they could travel with it – some of those starters lasted many, many years. They would simply reconstitute it when they needed it. I can’t imagine a yogurt starter would be that different but I don’t know for sure. The other thing is that if you pour out your whey consider saving it for other uses – it has tremendous protein value – think of the dried whey protein powder they sell in the stores.

 
Comment by Charles
2013-03-04 11:27:03

Liked the comment about using the playmate. We use any small cooler or insulated box with quart jars filled with hot water. Of course it takes practice but, works well.
Also like the idea of the kefir grains and room temp coagulation.
Starting with any system and getting experience is a great starter for migrating to other possibly simpler or more basic technology for doing a given skill.
Thanks everyone for your input.

 
Comment by lantz
2013-03-06 21:20:09

when a economic collapse or a revolutionary or civil war ensues, the best place and education you can have is a wilderness survival retreat and education. the wilderness can give you a place for cover, and provide for all your needs. It served our revolutionary ancestors well and it can serve us well also.

http://www.survivalschool.us/
This is a link to sigma 3 survival schools.
These guys are great for training and youtube videos. They even teach your small children

 
Comment by Gloria
2013-03-17 10:22:50

A butane cooker was recommended to me for indoor use. Is this type of gas safe inside a SHTF kitchen?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-03-17 20:15:55

Gloria,

Be sure to crack a window for ventilation.

 
 
Comment by janiemae
2013-03-18 08:16:10

I use heating pad on low. Put my three jars on it, wrap with a towel, then put a bucket on top. 7 hrs later, yogurt.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-03-23 00:58:00

Great idea Janie. I love it.

 
 
Comment by Ryan
2013-04-26 01:24:13

Making yogurt is a lot easier than people think. I had bad luck the first couple times I tried it because I didn’t sit it in a warm spot and the first time I put all of the milk powder in at once and it never mixed right. Now I sit it on my heater vent and that works great. Now that it’s getting warmer it will probably go in a sunny window.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-04-29 14:07:38

Good thought about the sunny window. I haven’t tried that…

 
 
Comment by bj
2013-05-30 01:00:21

So, i found this site as i am attempting to make yogurt myself. I was wondering why they 180 heat then back down to 110. Powdered milk is ultra pasterized, why not just use mix and heat to 110 put your started in and place it to incubate.

I was reading on another site that with powdered milk if the water it got enough to handle (straight from the tap) it would be sufficient and then place in the warm bath for 8 hours or so depending on strength.. has anyone tried this method.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-05-30 22:01:41

bj,

Great comments. You’re probably right about not needing to bring it up to 180. I guess I’m just hyper-careful.

 
 
Comment by Shayla Sualevai
2013-08-12 05:12:30

The effects of whey protein supplementation on muscle growth in response to resistance training are debatable. One study demonstrated some increase in lean body mass and strength in men supplementing whey protein vs. no supplementation..”-^

Warm regards
http://www.healthmedicinedigest.co/

 
Comment by Crissie
2013-10-11 06:43:33

Does the amount of starter will affect the whole thing? I mean, if i dont put exactly the ratio of the starter to the milk? Thank you!

 
Comment by Tacticalintelligence
2013-10-11 11:42:38

@Crissie,

I don’t think so (if it’s within reason). I’ve done it with 1 tablespoon instead of the normal 2 for the recipe above and it still made good yogurt.

 
Comment by Crissie
2013-10-11 23:17:53

Thank you! After a sleepless night! Atlast, my yogurt is successful! My partner had a nice breakfast today! Yogurt and muesley.. Yuuummmmm! Thanks very much! You have been a big help! 🙂

 
Comment by Tacticalintelligence
2013-10-11 23:24:40

@Crissie,

You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for visiting!

– Erich

 
Comment by jonnyxx
2013-11-23 02:25:49

Hi Guys, havn’t been here before but some good info to read, thanks.
On the Question of where to get your starter, I had the same question and experimented with the powdered yogurt mix from the shop which you would put into a yogurt maker with cold water. After making a batch of yogurt and eating it I kept a couple of tablespoons of the made yogurt aside for another batch and mixed it with longlife milk (could probably use powdered milk for this as well) voila, another batch of yogurt.
My next experiment is to seperate the original powdered yogurt mix into say 5 portions and vac seal for long term storage and then make up a small portion or yogurt just as a starter, then use that to make the bigger batch.
My theory is that then you can have an affordable supply of little vac sealed emergency starter units of yogurt. (even if it’s just for IAEF)
I was dubious at first but obviously the culture survived the long term packaging. The pack i used was at the end of a two year life. I read down and saw the post about the probiotics, that was interesting too.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-11-23 16:58:52

Awesome comment jonny! Thanks for the personal experience. I’ll be looking into the powder.

 
 
Comment by ready4
2014-01-02 15:08:52

Has anyone tried making yogurt in a solar box oven? The type you make from 2 cardboard boxs, the smaller one is lined with foil, then insulate between the boxes, lay the oven on its side and prop a piece of plexiglass in front. It needs to be turned to follow the sun. It may be a good option if no electricity.

I have made hot process soap in one (requires low heat), but it did hot get hot enough for bread. It depends on the sun.

 
Comment by ready4
2014-01-02 15:10:30

I meant it did not get hot enough for bread, sorry:)

 
2014-05-15 18:50:07

An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to write more about this issue, it might
not be a taboo matter but typically people do not speak about these subjects.
To the next! Kind regards!!

 
Comment by Grace Barnes
2015-01-31 13:52:55

When I made yogurt years ago I used a 25 watt lightbulb in a cardboard box, sealed or closed real good after putting small cups of the yogurt inside and let go for 8 hrs or so I believe or overnight or whatever worked checking on its consistency. That way the yogurt was ready for each child already in cups.

 
Comment by Kristie
2015-02-24 16:43:17

My grandfather used to make yogurt by using pint jars, putting them in a pan of warm water, covering with towels and placing on the top of the refrigerator overnight. It always worked great. The little bit of heat that comes off the top of the fridge was perfect.

 
Comment by John Higham
2015-05-11 09:40:05

For me the simplest way to keep your yogurt warm is just put it in a thermos flask and leave for 7/8 hours. Perfect yogurt every time if you prepare it correctly!

 
Comment by gofergal
2016-01-14 01:58:20

I realize this post is kind of old…but i wanted to add my 2 cents worth. I have been making yogurt from non-fat powdered milk (the non instant kind) for a bunch of years now and it always turns out. I have tweaked my method a little and here is my favorite way:
I make 5-6 pints at once. Mixing 2 quarts of hot water (under 110 degrees) with 2 3/4 c powdered milk. then I stir in 1/2 c of LAC yogurt… I buy a quart and freeze it in muffin tins . When frozen I put in freezer bags so I am ready for the next batch. Sometimes I add an envelop of knox gelatin if I want it thicker.
Pour into desired jars with lids. ( i use old pint size jam jars) I use a cooler to incubate them. I put the jars in and if there’s room I add extra jars full of hot water. If not, I just add hot water to just below the lid. 6 hrs works for me. If you like a sour yogurt let it incubate longer. They don’t appear very thick at 6 hrs but refrigerating them makes them thick.
Now.. just a couple of comments. I have used powdered starter and it works well too. In fact, I keep a couple packages in my freezer for the SHTF days where I can’t get culture.
As a previous post mentioned dry milk has no live bacteria so there is no need to heat it and cool it back down.
I have grown sour dough starter from scratch and learned a lot about bacterial cultures. They are in the air, and I am sure that if we experimented with it we could capture them from the air for yogurt too. *havent tried that one yet*
Different bacteria create different tasting yogurt so experiment with what you like best.
Kefir culture is not the same bacteria as yogurt but it too is delicious. It incubates at room temperature but will also grow in the refrigerator … just much slower.
I hope this has been helpful for your readers. Thanks for the posts.

 
Comment by Gholamreza Bagheri
2016-02-27 15:38:44

Dear Sir

Sub: Yogurt Powder & Dough Powder (pinch of salt and water and yogurt drinks that mix is obtained, my e-mail:ashraehvac@gmail.com

Greeting, I have a lot I need to buy buttermilk powder (Dough Powder}. The powder suit and customers is delicious and satisfy customer .If you yogurt powder prepared our properties we have listed above are welcome. Please 500-1000Grmy of sample packages with prices and delivery time for us to send a sample taste test.

Best regard
Gholamreza Bagheri

 
Comment by Toju
2016-04-14 07:05:12

What is the actual milk/water ratio in yogurt production? I found some research says 1:4, 1:3 and 1:2 depending on the thickness. Also, one can use cornstarch or gelatin as a thickner. I am using life culture with self-life of 1-year. My supplier said I can use it to make 250L if I am using it as both culture and preservative or 500L as just a starter culture. How much powdered milk will I then use to make this quantity?

 
Comment by Tex
2016-06-03 18:13:08

Your saliva has LAB as well as other things like amylase enzyme that will change starch into maltose sugar.

 
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2017-01-10 01:30:22

Wonderful web site. Lots of useful information here.
I am sending it to some buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
And of course, thank you on your sweat!

 
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2017-02-23 14:27:07

Thanks so much for this wonderful information. God bless!

 
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Comment by Pip
2017-08-05 23:41:47

You can use 2 tablespoons of your last batch of yoghurt instead

 
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