Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Homemade Raw Milk Yogurt

Yogurt is a traditional healthy food packed with enzymes, B vitamins, and helpful probiotics.  And it's so easy to make your own! Why would you do that? The obvious reasons are that it is much cheaper to make yourself, and it's much more nutritious, with no additives, preservatives, food coloring, weird stuff, etc. But the main reason I wanted to make my own was to use Raw milk! Raw milk has so many health benefits compared to pasteurized milk, which is used in commercial brands. Raw milk has it's own digestive enzymes to help you digest it. (For all the benefits of drinking raw milk, go to realmilk.com)  Plus, it's de-li-cious.
You can make it in just a few easy steps!

Raw Milk Yogurt
 Yields 1 gallon yogurt

You'll need: 
digital thermometer
mason jars
1 gallon raw milk (check out realmilk.com to find a source near you!)
1 cup yogurt or starter culture

Step 1. Pour 1 gallon of raw milk into a large crockpot. Turn heat on to low.

Step 2. Heat milk to 110 degrees F. This takes about 2 hours in my crockpot. I have a digital thermometer with an alarm that I can program to 110 degrees. So I just pour the milk in, set the thermometer, and go about my day until I hear the alarm. Makes it really easy. (Thermometer was about $15 at Target.)

Step 3. Add 1 cup of fresh yogurt or starter culture and stir to combine. Either homemade yogurt or store-bought is fine, but it needs to be no older than 1 week. This is important to make sure the culture is strong enough to turn your milk into yogurt.  I usually use one cup of my previous batch, or if it's been longer than a week since I made yogurt, I use one of these starter cultures pictured below.

Step 4. Turn crockpot OFF, cover with towels, and let sit about 4 - 8 hours until yogurt is set. You want the temperature of the yogurt during this time to stay between 105 - 110 degrees. If you find it dropping under 105, turn the crockpot on to WARM for a few minutes until it rises again. Make sure the temp doesn't go over 112 degrees, or your yogurt won't be raw anymore. The yogurt is done when you tilt the pot and the yogurt comes away from the sides. I've found that mine sets in as little as 4 hours.

Step 5. Cover and place yogurt in the fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours to finish setting up. You can skip this step but your yogurt won't be as nice and thick.


Step 6. Spoon yogurt into mason jars. Raw milk yogurt is naturally not as thick as pasteurized yogurt and can separate a bit while it sits in the fridge. Either shake it up to make a nice, smooth yogurt, or you can strain it to make it thicker. The liquid that's strained out is called whey and is delicious! You can use it in baking, pancakes, waffles, etc. or to ferment grains or other foods!

That's it! Now you have delicious homemade raw milk yogurt that you can use on anything. It helps digest whatever you're eating and adds delicious flavor to any meal. Be creative! We've used ours on just about every meal. Some of our favorite ways to eat it are:

Mixed with oats and berries
Poured over fish and rice
On Tacos, burritos, enchiladas (add salt and you've got a delicious sour cream!)
Mixed with salsa for a tasty dip
Mixed with vanilla, honey, and cinnamon
Poured over salad to make a creamy dressing

...the possibilities are endless. Use your imagination, and Enjoy!

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