A few years ago I took part in a Raw Dairy Processing Class, the description of the class intrigued me, “Learn how to make delicious soft cheeses, yogurt and butter in your own kitchen! Get acquainted with using butter molds and adding herbs, or other flavors to your final product. With simple instruction and good quality raw milk, it is an easy and exciting activity adding delicious artisanal treats for any occasion.” The class was held on a farm where they raised cows, heritage turkeys, pigs and had large gardens. The house was off the grid yet you never would have known.
Not only was the class a lot of fun but I learned that making yogurt is so easy! I always thought you needed special equipment. Other than the culture you don’t need any special equipment and the yogurt you can make at home is so tasty! Freshly made yogurt really does taste better than store bought. I purchased my yogurt culture from www.cheesemaking.com. You do not need to use raw milk to make yogurt, you just do not want to use the ultra high pasteurized milk.
Here are the simple directions. Pour ½ gallon of cold milk into a heavy stainless pot for heating. Heat the milk to 185 degrees and then hold it there for 10-20 minutes.
This will prepare the whey proteins, which are largely responsible for the thickening of the yogurt body. Set the milk pot directly on the burner and begin heating with careful stirring to prevent the scorching of the milk. Cool the milk as quickly as possible to your target temperature for inoculating the yogurt (116 degrees F).
When the milk reaches the proper temperature for inoculation, it is time to add the direct set yogurt culture. The culture will be a mix of Streptococcus thermophiles and Lactobacillus bulgaricus plus and probiotic additions the culture may contain.
Incubate the cultured milk for the required time. This can be done easily by pouring your cultured milk into containers and placing those containers inside an insulated cooler.
Pour warm water (116 degrees F) into the cooler so that your container lids are just an inch or so above the water line. This “water bath” will maintain the temperature so that the appropriate bacteria will thrive and populate. The time of incubation is about 8-10 hours for most yogurt cultures. Place the yogurt in the refrigerator when the incubation is complete.
I inoculated my milk, poured it into glass jars and placed them into my cooler. I added the warm water, put the lid on the cooler and let it sit on the counter for 10 hours. Before going to bed I placed the yogurt in the fridge. In the morning I had two containers of plain yogurt ready to enjoy! I have always preferred flavored yogurt but I find this yogurt to be delicious. If you want, feel free to add fruit to flavor it yourself.