Question: Does yogurt have milk?
Answer: Yes, yogurt does have milk and it is considered a dairy product. Milk is in all dairy-based yogurt types like Greek, Icelandic (skyr), Bulgarian, Australian-style, and more. However, there are yogurt-like products that are made from ingredients like soy, almonds, or coconut that are not derived from milk. While these yogurt alternatives are often located next to real yogurt, they do not contain dairy.
Yogurt is made by first pasteurizing milk to eliminate harmful bacteria. Pasteurization occurs by heating milk to a high heat of about 190°F for 30 minutes to an hour. Pasteurization temperatures can be higher but the time under this high heat is generally reduced.
The milk is then cooled to approximately 105°F and live cultures or bacteria are added to the yogurt. This may seems kind of weird because the bad bacteria were previously removed during pasteurization. However, this is good bacteria that is added known as probiotics. See our article of yogurt live cultures for the benefits of probiotics. Common types of cultures used by manufacturers are S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, and L. acidophilius.
The good bacteria converts the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, which gives it that classic yogurt taste and also aids in molding its texture. The yogurt is then drained to release whey (liquid part of yogurt) and to thicken the texture to the desired thickness. Greek yogurt is strained longer than regular yogurt to create a thicker texture.