Those of us with dairy animals are used to an abundance of milk once our animals freshen in the spring. A wonderful thing to do with all that extra is to make yogurt.
Yogurt is a dairy product created by fermenting milk with a Lactobacillus culture. Making your own yogurt is fun and easy. And, it is a healthful snack that children love.
To make your own yogurt, start with fresh milk. Powdered or skim milk work but produce a thin yogurt. For a thicker outcome, choose whole milk. Some even add a little powdered milk or gelatin to their start for an even thicker product. If you are accustomed to store bought yogurt, and are concerned your family won’t want to eat it because it’s not what they’re used to eating, these additives are harmless and will help them transition into the homemade taste and texture. We prefer to use our raw goat’s milk.
Next you will need your culture. You can purchase a yogurt start from the health food store or a dairy supplier. Or, you can use yogurt from another batch or from the grocery store. Use only plain, unflavored yogurt for your culture.
Other supplies you will need include:
Steps to making your yogurt:
I generally start my yogurt in the afternoon and it is ready first thing next morning. All recipes vary. I’ve read anything from 4 hours to 3 days. If I start it in the afternoon, I will check it before I go to bed (that would be 5-6 hours later). To check, simply turn the jar to its side and see if the mixture is thick. Remember, the longer it incubates, the more sour the flavor.
To flavor my yogurt, I add ½ teaspoon vanilla and about 1 tablespoon of evaporated cane juice to each quart. If you want to add fruit, wait until you serve it.
If you prefer, you can make yogurt without pasteurizing your raw milk. Simply heat the milk to the 110 degrees needed to grow the culture and proceed as above. After making raw yogurt for her family the first time, Lara DeHaven from the Texas Homesteader Blog says, “I have honestly never had such wonderful yogurt. It is so delicious that I am amazed. It seems creamier and less sour-tasting than before.” Lara also sweetens her yogurt with stevia. For those that want an alternative to sugar or honey, this works quite well.
Ideas for using yogurt:
How does your family use yogurt? Do you make your own? Tell us all about it.