I've read some recipes in the internet and this question about how to make my own yogurt.

Some recipes say to add a little sugar with the starter, so that "bacteria would have something to eat".

So, I've tried adding some sugar, in variable amounts, but I couldn't find a relation: sometimes my yogurt gets thicker, sometimes not.

Does someone knows if adding sugar (or something else) with the starter leads to a better (more thicker, less acid) yogurt? How much should I add? Is there a recommended kind of sugar for that?

5 Answers 5


The statement "so that bacterias would have something to eat" is incorrect on several levels- including grammatically.

Bacteria already have plenty to eat. There is a lot of sugar in milk. Cow's milk is 4-5% sugar. Additionally, giving the bacteria more to eat would allow them to create more acid and make the product more sour not less.

The bacteria used in yogurt making are lactobacilli and prefer munching on lactose anyway.

That said; Lactose tastes less sweet than the sucrose in table sugar. Adding sucrose will make the yogurt sweeter if that is your taste.

Making the yogurt thicker is done by

  • accurately controlling the fermentation temperature,
  • using higher fat milk,
  • adding protein in the form of dry milk powder,
  • or removing water after fermentation.

When I have added sugar to my yogurt it has not had a noticeable effect on the texture.

  • 1
    So why didn't you edit and correct his post then (his first language obviously isn't English) instead of just telling him so? Dec 13, 2012 at 18:10
  • 2
    @spiceyokooko- because he was quoting someone else with poor grammar? I thought it was intentional to seem casual or to convey the inexperience of the person he was quoting. Dec 13, 2012 at 22:10

A better way I have found to make thicker yogurt is to do a longer pasteurization before I cool it down and add the culture.

Not sure what your recipe has you doing, a few strong raw milk advocates just go straight to 110F, but almost all that I have seen have you reach 185F and then cool it down to 110F. If you stay at 185F for about 30 minutes (maybe longer but 30 minutes gives me exactly what I want) and then cool it down you will have a thicker consistency when you are done.

I have tried adding more culture, but that didn't change my consistency. Happy fermenting!

  • 2
    FYI- Heating to 185+ makes the yogurt thicker because it denatures the albumin that would otherwise wash out in the whey. Dec 14, 2012 at 15:19

My understanding is that you may need to add the sugar if you are making yogurt from alternative milk, such as soy, rice, almond or coconut, because they don't have the lactose sugar that the culture needs to "feed" on (for lack of a better term). You will probably not get the thicker consistency you want unless you add an actual thickener such as natural gelatin. You can get a vegan version if you need to. Mine has always come out more like kefir; thinner but having a nice yogurt taste.


Bring whole milk to a boil. Wait till temp is 140, enough for it to be hot but not scald. Add yogurt culture ( I use a blend of kefir and Greek yogurt) to a small sauce pot at room temp. Add milk, keep in a warm dry place in your kitchen ( I live at high altitude) so I wrap it in a dish towel and place it in the oven and take it out a day later. Works for me


I read that bacteria feed themselves on fiber in your gut. That makes me wonder if you could not add some fiber as prebiotic to help them proliferate..

  • Raymond, welcome to the site! Actually, there are so many different bacteria in your intestines that they feed on different things. The bacteria in yoghurt are from the lactobacillus family, eating lactose (= milk sugar).
    – Stephie
    Apr 13, 2015 at 20:30

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