It is winters here, and the yogurt never sets the way I used to set it during summers.

If for example, we have 1/2 litre milk, what is the near exact temperature (for heating the milk), and the near exact yogurt to be added to the milk for setting?

When I mention heating milk, I mean that milk has been boiled quite a few hours ago, we just need a warm up session now. So how many centigrades are required?

  • Temperature depends on the bacteria you have (higher temp for L. bulgaricus, lower for strepto), and on the final taste you want (mellower with lower temperature). If the room is cool, wrap the yogurt jars in a blanket for the duration of fermentation, 16 to 20° is too low.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 10:10

6 Answers 6


You can make the yogurt in an insulated container, like a thermos bottle. A wide-mouth bottle will probably be best. Pour hot water in and let it sit for a minute or two to warm up, then pour it out. Heat and add your milk and starter culture as usual.

  • That's brilliant idea, I'll surely try that. Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 14:03
  • But do I have to heat the milk to particular temperature? Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 14:07
  • @AnishaKaul - I've always heard to heat the milk to 150 degrees F (just below where it would develop a skin) then let it go back down to around 110 degrees F.
    – justkt
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 14:08
  • @AnishaKaul - Heat it just as you would in the summer. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 0:17
  • This worked flawlessly! :hattip: Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 4:14

There are yogurt-making devices out there that will hold the yogurt at a specific temperature. They tend to be a little pricy, and they take up a lot of space, and they're only good for making yogurt.

I like Alton Brown's method from the episode "Good Milk Gone Bad": http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/good-eats/fresh-yogurt-recipe/index.html

He uses a sealable plastic container, an electric blanket/heating pad, a bucket, and a thermometer. Fill the plastic container with the yogurt mixture, wrap with electric blanket, stick the whole thing in the bucket, and wedge the probe from your thermometer in-between the heating pad and yogurt container. Keep adjusting the heat level until you equalize at your target temperature.


Here is my trick, and it works fairly well:

  1. Make yogurt the usual way (heat milk to boiling, let it cool quickly to around 110 degrees F, mix in with starter yougurt culture)
  2. Turn on oven at lowest temperature setting, for a few minutes.
  3. Switch off the oven. Turn on the pilot oven light
  4. Place yougurt in the oven for 4-6 hours, to set.
  5. Once set, place it in the fridge.

I got my "leave pilot oven light on" idea from here: http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=525

Hope this helps.

  • and what is a pilot light? what is its purpose? Commented Dec 2, 2011 at 3:34
  • "pilot light" = the litlle light inside your oven. In the "normal" case, it turns on when you open the over door, and then turns off when you close it. On my oven (and on most other ovens), there is a switch as well, which allows you to leave the light on all the time.
    – joyjit
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 1:26
  • @joy And in many cases the wiring to the bulb, or the bulb itself, doesn't work at all, in spite of the button labeled "Oven Light". However, I think you're not describing a pilot light (which is the spark or flame that ignites gas in the oven or on the range) but an oven light.
    – mfg
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 18:21
  • @mfg you are correct. Its not really a "pilot" light, but an oven light. I have corrected the mistake in my reply, above.
    – joyjit
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 21:10

My mother uses a sort of "bain marie" but without additional heat:

  • 1/4 fill a deep bowl with hot water from a kettle and let it cool for a few minutes
  • put the yoghurt in a smaller bowl and rest the bowl in the warm water
  • put a plate over the bigger bowl so that some of the warm water vapor circulates, and also warms the smaller bowl
  • leave overnight

I have a lovely insulated box I place my towel-wrapped yogurt bowl: it's called the microwave.

Overnight is all that's needed so it doesn't inconvenience me at all.


Most yogurt cultures thrive between body temperature (37 centigrade) and around 45 centigrade. If you put your hand in the water, and it's warm, but doesn't scald, you're probably good.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.