Making yogurt at home is easier than you think. Making yogurt for yourself ensures that you are receiving the best quality dairy product and the most beneficial amount of probiotics. Using either raw whole milk or organic, non-homogenized whole milk will produce the healthiest, yummiest yogurt you have ever had. Commercial yogurts are often not fermented long enough to produce enough “good” organisms, and are often fermented in plastic containers which can leach into your food.
I use Straus Family Creamery Organic whole milk for this recipe. I ferment it for 16-20 hours in my Excaliber dehydrator at 115′ F. Traditionally, yogurt is only fermented for 8-10 hours. This longer fermenting time will ferment away most of the lactose, making it more digestible. The lactose is fermented into lactic acid which gives yogurt a tart tastes. I eat it plain, but my teenager adds a titch of maple syrup to eat to make it a bit sweeter. You can reduce the fermentation time if you want a milder yogurt. Feel free to experiment. The longer fermentation also results in a higher probiotic bacteria count.
If you do not have a dehydrator to ferment your yogurt in, there are some easy-to- use yogurt makers out on the market. You can also leave the milk/yogurt mixture in the pot, cover with lid and dish towel, and place in unheated oven overnight. The idea is that the oven is insulated and will keep the mixture at 105-110′ F, an ideal temperature for fermentation. I’ve seen someone use a heating pad overnight to keep the yogurt warm. I have also read about making yogurt in the crock pot. I would love to hear how this works out if anyone tries it.
Using just plain raw milk for this recipe and not heating it to a boil may produce a much runnier yogurt than you are used to. Emily from the Holistic Squid has a great recipe combining raw milk, raw cream, and boiled milk that produces an amazingly creamy, thick yogurt.
- 1 quart organic, non-homogenized, whole milk
- 3-4 TBS leftover yogurt form your last batch OR good quality store-bought plain yogurt
- candy thermometer
- quart-sized glass jar with lid
- Carefully clean all equipment to be used. Pour boiling water into glass quart jar to be used for fermentation OR place in oven at 200'F for 15 minutes to kill any unwanted bacteria.
- Place thermometer, jar lid, and spoon for stirring into glass bowl and pour boiling water over. Let sit at least 5 minutes.
- Pour milk into medium pot and heat to just below a boil (around 170-180' F). This will ensure that only your "good" bacteria will grow in your yogurt.
- Remove from heat and place in a cold water bath in the sink.
- Let cool until milk is at 110-115' F, and then carefully stir in yogurt with clean spoon.
- Pour mixture into clean glass quart jar and cover with lid
- Ferment for 12-20 hours to produce a wonderfully creamy, probiotic-filled yogurt.
- Store in refrigerator.