As I am fairly new to making yoghurt at home I would like to understand the effects that temperatures and time have on the end product in both the initial heating/cooling step and the fermentation step.

So far I have made half a dozen 1.5 litre batches with three different cultures (currently using ABY-1 from CHR Hansen that I was able to buy from the Westcombe dairy in Somerset). I have a Luvelle machine that can ferment at 36C, 38C and 40C from 1 hour to 24 hours.

I want to understand what changes if I experiment with the following:-

  1. When I heat the milk to 85C and hold the temperature I have made some batches with a 10 minute hold and others with a 20 minute hold period and see/feel/taste no difference - will holding at 30 minutes produce a difference?

  2. I am currently fermenting for 24 hours at 38C and getting a strong tang/sourness to the yoghurt but what would I expect to get if I reduced the fermentation to 12 hours at 38C...or less?

  3. I choose 38C for the fermentation process because it was recommended by the manual that came with the Luvelle machine but what happens if I use 36C or 40C and what length of time would I use?

So generally speaking I want to know more about the initial heating process and what options there are and what the different fermentation temperatures and durations can have on the end results.

Thanks in advance!

  • I think you will find information if my proposed duplicate that answers your questions. Specifically, check the link in the first answer.
    – moscafj
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 12:15
  • 1
    Thanks but I don't think that link answers my questions. I see you state holding the initial temperature for 30 minutes but I have had identical results from 10 minutes and 20 minutes, so that question stands - what difference does this time span actually have on the final product? Also I didn't see anything that talked about the effects of incubation at different temperatures or about the length of time. Maybe I missed something??
    – Adendum
    Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 12:51
  • @Adendum- This question and answer addresses your #1 cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/32783/… Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 16:59
  • This one address #3 somewhat cooking.stackexchange.com/a/27512 Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


First, about the holding time: It is a safety feature. It is meant to ensure that the number of non-culturing organisms that survive is so low that the culturing organisms can overtake them and create a colony of their own, without pathogens. If you reduce it, sometimes nothing will happen, and sometimes you will get a dangerously high growth of pathogenic bacteria. To keep your yogurt safe, you have to do the 30 minutes.

Second, fermentation time and temperature. When you stay close to the prescribed temperature for a given culture, then you can trust that a higher temperature will give you the same sourness in shorter time, or more sourness in the same time. If you go far away from the prescribed temperature, your fermentation process again becomes unsafe (because some other bacteria are likely to take over before your culture multiplies enough to establish itself). From experience, a deviation of 2C from the optimal is close enough to still make good yogurt, so you can experiment with all three temperatures. What happens if you use 36 C is that you get less tangy yogurt, and at 40 you get more tangy. The length of time you use is pretty much a matter of trial and error, until you get the taste you prefer.

Note that, for establishing your preferred time, you should use an established culture. That is, you should either always use a new capsule of lab-bought culture, or you should first do a few generations of reinnoculation at constant conditions, and then start experimenting from there. This is because the first few re-innoculations from a new capsule are a kind of "adjusting" fermentations, and your yogurt will be changing its tanginess and consistency even when you keep the conditions (time and temperature) equal.

  • Many thanks - that answers my query perfectly. So the initial heating and holding temperature is a safety step, so 30 minutes hold every time. I can now experiment with 36C or 40C together with different durations to test taste and texture...and yes, I am always going to be using fresh culture.
    – Adendum
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:08
  • Not sure if I should edit the question or comment here but I was able to find an interesting website
    – Adendum
    Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 14:11
  • The initial holding time is not just for pasteurization. At 85C it takes 30 minutes for the milk proteins to denature properly to improve the texture. This is answered in many many questions. Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 16:57

Not sure if I should edit the question or add a new answer (comment space was to short for this). I was able to find an interesting website (https://dairyprocessinghandbook.com/chapter/fermented-milk-products) that covers all aspects of yoghurt production and I found this section....

HEAT TREATMENT The milk is heat treated before being inoculated with the starter in order to:

  • Improve the properties of the milk as a substrate for the bacteria culture
  • Ensure that the coagulum of the finished yoghurt will be firm
  • Reduce the risk of whey separation in the end product

Optimum results are achieved by heat treatment at 90 – 95 °C and a holding time of about five minutes. That temperature/time combination denatures about 70 – 80 % of the whey proteins (99 % of the β-lactoglobulin). In particular, the β-lactoglobulin, which is the principal whey protein, interacts with the κ-casein, thereby helping to give the yoghurt a stable body. UHT treatment and sterilization of milk intended for culturing do not, however, have the same favourable influence on viscosity, for reasons not yet fully understood.

So rather than heat to 85C and hold for 30 mins maybe I should try heating to 95C and hold for just 5 minutes? Anyone tried this?

  • I hold at about 90C for 10 minutes. 95 is starting to get pretty hot but even scalded milk will still make good yogurt. Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 17:25

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