Winter 2013 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French


QUESTION:   I would like to know if it is possible to make yoghurt from soya milk and how to do it. I have a shop-bought yoghurt maker. Where might I get the culture?



Yes, soya yoghurt can be made using a regular yoghurt maker.

You’ll need a yoghurt maker to hold one litre and a small flask to store some of the yoghurt to be the culture for the next batch.

The only ingredients for making plain soya yoghurt are soya milk and a starter. The easiest starter to use is plain soya yoghurt itself that you would need to purchase from a shop to get you going initially. Alternatively, you may be able to purchase a freeze-dried culture, which comes in packets.

Because soya milk has less natural sugar than cows’ milk, some recipes include a tablespoon of sugar to aid the fermentation. However, most Australian soya milks already have added sugar in the form of malt sugar or raw sugar.

Cleanliness is vital when making cultured foods. Use plenty of boiling water to scald the flask and utensils.

Use unsweetened soya milk that contains nothing but soya beans and water, if you can find it. Don’t use a milk sweetened with apple juice as this will affect fermentation. It is also highly desirable to avoid gums and flavourings that are among the ingredients in some brands.


The steps are as follows:

  1. Buy or make soymilk, 1 litre.
  2. Bring the milk to a temperature of 42º – 45ºC (107 – 113ºF) by either heating or cooling it. It is important that the temperature is correct. The culture will only remain alive and active in this narrow temperature range. It will be necessary to use a thermometer to get it right.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the starter to the soy milk and mix well with a sterile spoon.   Standing the spoon in boiling water for 10 minutes should suffice.
  4. Pour the mixture into a yogurt maker and follow the directions of the particular brand of yogurt maker that you have. Stand the yoghurt flask for the recommended time, which might be around 8 hours. The fermentation time can range from 6 hours to 12 hours or more. If you don’t have a yogurt maker, you can put the yogurt in the oven at the above temperature for about 5 – 8 hours.
  5. When the yogurt has thickened, chill it in the fridge. If it’s still runny, it may need longer, or you might have a problem. It will normally be a little thinner than cows’ milk yogurt.
  6. Save one or two tablespoons of the freshly made live yoghurt in the small beaker, ready for the next batch of yoghurt. Store this in a small flask or screw-top jar that you have sterilised by scalding with boiling water. This starter culture needs to be kept away from the main yoghurt in order to keep it as sterile as possible.
  7. Store the yoghurt and the starter flask in the fridge – as you normally would. Fermentation will continue and the yoghurt will become thicker as it cools. It should keep for 7 to 10 days in the fridge.


The culture can be used for several batches of yoghurt before becoming ‘tired’. Each time it is used, the culture becomes less effective, and should eventually be discarded. You will then need to buy some more shop-bought yoghurt for fresh, new culture.