Recipes | Basics

How To Make Lactose-Free Yogurt

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Making Lactose-Free Yogurt is Easy

If you are a fan of cow’s milk yogurt and on the low-FODMAP diet, then you have few commercial choices. You can seek out lactose-free yogurt versions, such as Green Valley Organics, or perhaps you can tolerate Greek-style yogurts, of which there are many.

homemade yogurt with machine in background

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Greek-style yogurt has less lactose than traditional yogurt, due to the draining and straining process that eliminates excess whey and lactose. The straining technique is also what makes Greek yogurt so nice and thick. FYI on average Greek yogurt will have approximately 4 to 8 grams of lactose per serving compared to 13 to 18 grams for regular yogurt. If you haven’t tried Challenging yourself with Greek yogurt, we encourage you to do so.

Want to Go Lactose Free?

But Greek-style is not lactose-free and maybe that is what you want or need. We think that with the popularity of the diet increasing that perhaps other commercial brands will appear, but we decided to make our own so that we could share the experience with you.

You can make yogurt by beginning with a prepared yogurt as a “starter”, that is, the ingredient you need to provide the helpful bacteria that create the yogurt. But we figured that if you had access to a lactose-free commercial brand that you could just buy it and making it from scratch would be low priority.

We did our testing with lactose-free whole milk; you could try lactose-free 2% or even those lower in fat.

Try Belle + Bella Yogurt Starter

We used Belle + Bella brand Yogurt Starter, which is formulated to work with non-dairy milks. It is billed as “America’s First Non-Dairy Yogurt Starter” and is vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free, contains no preservatives and does contain 2 billion live cultures.

The reason we use this starter is that most starters use a lactose base and we wanted to make a lactose-free yogurt!

Other Yogurt Starter Options

There are some other options for you that might be more easily accessed, depending on where you live, but note that we have not tested them. Green Living Australia offers a Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture with Probiotics. Talk to your dietitian about the extra probiotics, which they may our may not want you to have, depending on your individual issues and/or where you are within the low FODMAP diet.

If you are in the UK, Cultures for Health has a vegan based starter, which is also available in the U.S. as an alternative to the Belle + Bella.

24 hour, firm set homemade lactose free yogurt on a spoonOne caveat: If you make your yogurt with regular cow’s milk and allow your yogurt to cure for the longer period of time (24 hours), it is possible that any lactose present might be consumed in sufficient quantities to make the yogurt digestible to those on the low FODMAP diet. The image above shows the firmer set that you get with a longer processing time. It would not make the yogurt dairy-free. You can try different milks with this recipe and decide for yourself. Read our article that addresses Fermentation.

The image below shows the softer set of the yogurt when it is processed for a shorter period of time.

softly set homemade lactose free yogurt on a spoon

Get Your Good Bacteria!

Belle + Bella starter does contain non-GMO maltodextrin, s. thermophilus, l. bulgaricus and l. acidophilus. Maltodextrin, by the way, is considered to be low FODMAP.

overhead image of homemade lactose-free yogurt in small glass jars

I made a batch of plain yogurt and also a batch lightly sweetened with maple syrup, one of our favorite low FODMAP sweeteners. We did use a yogurt maker and the entire process was easy and the results were smooth, creamy and delicious. I hadn’t made yogurt in years and I have to admit it was kind of exciting to see the transformation and that it was as simple as it was.

Two recommendations for yogurt makers– both very highly rated. If you make alot of yogurt you might want to consider the Cuisinart model – for ease, consistency and it automatically cools your yogurt.

If you prefer the kind of yogurt maker with the individual serving glass containers, and a prefer a lower price point this maker is also very highly rated and super simple to use.

You do need a thermometer. We like the Maverick CT-03 Digital Oil & Candy Thermometer.

overhead image of homemade lactose-free yogurt in small glass jars

homemade yogurt with machine in background

Lactose-Free Yogurt

Making Lactose-Free Yogurt at home is easy. We tried Belle + Bella starter and it worked so well!

Makes 1 quart (960 ml) of yogurt; serving size 6 oz/180 ml

Prep Time

Cook Time

Total Time

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart (960 ml) lactose-free whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup, to taste, optional
  • 1, 5 g packet Belle + Bella Starter

Preparation:

  1. Make sure yogurt making machine is prepared as needed, such as cleaning the receptacle(s), etc.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan, with maple syrup if using, to 180°F (82°C). Allow to cool to between 108°F to 112°F (42°C to 45°C). It is imperative that it is not above 115°F (45°C) or the cultures will be killed.
  3. Add 1 packet of the Belle + Bella starter and gently but thoroughly whisk to combine. Pour warm milk into yogurt maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. We like to make small 6 ounce (180 ml) portions. Typically you will be setting the machine to 112°F (44°C) and incubate for anywhere from around 8 hours to 24 hours depending on how thick and tangy you like your yogurt.
  4. When the yogurt is “done”, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Enjoy!