How to Make Fresh Milk Yogurt
Gallon of raw milk from pastured cow
2 TBS of yogurt starter (I prefer Natren powdered) or live cultured yogurt (no sugar added!!)
Pan large enough to hold gallon of milk easily
Thermometer (I use a candy thermometer, because of its side clip)
Thermos (my 1 gallon Eddie Bauer thermos is perfect!)
Wooden or plastic spoon
- To begin:
Wash hands and all utensils well!! I cannot stress this enough! The old adage, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” applies here! Secondly, rinse everything well! You don’t want to kill the culture with leftover soap. Lastly, dry everything well (except the thermos)! You don’t want to kill the cultures with chlorine from the water.
Pour milk into pan and turn burner on to medium/medium-low heat. (I use the number 4 on my knob, with 5 being the middle)
Clip thermometer onto side of pan if using a candy thermometer, where the 110 degree mark is visible just above the milk.
As milk heats (stirring occasionally with wooden spoon), fill thermos with hot tap water and put the lid on. (This is to heat the thermos)
When milk reaches 110 (108-112) degrees, remove from burner and set timer for 5 minutes.
(Note: this temperature only applies to raw milk; Pasteurized milk is a whole different animal with a different set of rules and is bad for you, anyway -IMHO)
During the 5 minutes on the timer, pour water out of thermos and dry well. (I use a paper towel) Recap to retain heat.
Pour (powdered) yogurt starter or yogurt into the small bowl.
Adding 2 Tbs at a time, add milk to the yogurt starter, mixing well after each addition.
When a total of 6 Tbs have been added, slowly pour the mixture into the pan of milk and mix well.
Carefully pour milk from pan into thermos and cap.
I put my yogurt on top of the fridge, wrapped in a large, thick bath towel, but any warm, undisturbed place will do.
Let culture for 12 – 15 hours. (I usually make mine in the late afternoon and leave till early morning)
Carefully remove from resting place and put in fridge. I usually leave it in there until the following morning.
- Straining the yogurt:
The first thing I do after removing it from the fridge is take out enough to fill a small jar (that has a tight fitting lid) and set it aside in the fridge as the starter for my next batch. This is to make sure there is no contamination, which could occur as the main container is moved in and out of the fridge for serving.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large pan (I use the pan I made the yogurt in) and line with clean cheesecloth, letting an ample amount hang over the side. Slowly pour yogurt from the thermos into the strainer until it’s approximately 3/4 full.
Cover the pan, then place more cheesecloth or a clean tea towel over the lid.
This can be left on the counter or set back in the fridge. The time for straining varies, but usually 2-3 hours works well. Carefully remove cheesecloth and pour and/or scrape yogurt into container with tight lid. Replace cheesecloth and repeat with remaining unstrained yogurt. Mix individual servings with fresh or frozen berries and enjoy!
It’s really not hard and the probiotic benefits are outstanding.
Once in a while I go back to the powdered starter, when my starter yogurt seems to stop functioning as well. Natren also sells the best (in my opinion) probiotics, which are kept cold from the time they are manufactured until they reach your home. (Needless to say, they belong in the fridge, as does the yogurt starter!)
“Won’t the milk go sour?”, you may ask. Well, somehow, in the wonderful process of the milk being cultured, it is kept from going bad. Also, fresh (raw) milk does not go bad. It may clabber or separate (curds and whey) or even turn sour, but it is still good and good for you. However, if you leave the milk that has been pasturized (common store milk) out, then it won’t go sour, it will go rancid and in a short time!! That’s why it has a bad smell to it. Rancid milk should never be consumed.
(Soured raw milk is wonderful in recipes that call for buttermilk)
If you buy cheesecloth that can be reused, rinse it well in cold water after using, then wash in the sink or machine with bleach. Store in sealable plastic bag or container when thoroughly dry.
And very importantly, don’t throw away what is strained off the yogurt! It’s called whey, and has many uses, but that will have to wait for another post. Pour it into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.
There are other ways to make your own yogurt, so don’t let my way keep you from trying it.
This blog post is a part of the Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.
Reposted from my Facebook Notes