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Making Yogurt

August 21, 2008

After many attempts, I finally found a method that works well for me. I’ve tried making raw milk yogurt without heating the milk, but didn’t find the texture satisfactory, so I decided to relent and scald the milk. I make 1/2 gallon of yogurt at a time.

The only two ingredients you need for a 1/2 gallon of yogurt are: just shy of 1/2 gallon of milk and at least 1/4 c. of live yogurt.

I used to use non-homogenized, pasteurized milk (not ultra pasteurized), but the tight supply at our raw milk farm eased, so I’ve been using raw for many months now.

Pour your milk into a stainless steel pot:

Heat to scalding. If you forget your milk is heating and it boils over, it will still turn into yogurt, the texture just isn’t very smooth and it doesn’t set as well. After you scald your milk, let it cool until it is still warm, but you can comfortably put your finger in. I would estimate it needs to be about 110 or 115 degrees.

Remove the skin that has formed after it cools. It is kind of like a crusty butter. Juliana love to eat this.
Pour some of the milk and all of the yogurt into a jar and shake gently to combine:

Add the rest of the milk, shake gently again and put a lid on it. Then keep your jar in a warm place (about 100 degrees F) for at least six hours. The longer it sits, the more tart it becomes. We like it right at six hours. I’ve tried several methods, as I’ve already mentioned. I’ve tried using the light in my oven, hoping the heat from the pilot light would be warm enough, insulating it in an ice chest by itself, using bottles of boiling water in the ice chest with the yogurt and I didn’t have good luck with any of those methods. The thing that finally worked for me was to wrap the jar in an electric heating pad and put it on the low setting. The heating pad I have doesn’t quite wrap around the whole jar, so I put a towel on the part of the bottle that is exposed. After three hours, I rotate the jar 180 degrees within the pad to give that strip not covered by the gap a chance to get up to the same temperature as the rest of the jar. Works great. I swapped my friend Angelina her extra heating pad for my retro yogurt maker because she didn’t need to make large quantities like I did.

After you have let it incubate for the desired time, pop it in the fridge. We usually like our with pure maple syrup though we’ll mix it up sometimes and stir in some jam if we are feeling really wild!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. cristele permalink
    August 21, 2008 3:46 am

    Hi Lisa!
    I’m very glad I came across your blog thru the growing challenge, I was thinking maybe you would be interested in posting your blogs on my website, http://www.altglobe.com which is talking about what’s happening America in terms of green, sustainabillity, spirituality…I think we could use a blog like yours which explains how to diy. I can’t wait to try to make my own yogurt btw, thanks for the how to…
    Back to my offer from being one of altglobe’s blogger, all you need to do is creating a profile and let me know you want to post, and then you can just *email* your blog whenever you have a new post here. It’s that easy!
    The website will take care about linking it to your profile and respect most of your editing (website links, images, fonts…) – yes it will crop out some things like weird smileys or what not –
    We have a couple of bloggers who are doing that, like fakeplasticfish and Leah Korican; it’s very convenient and help you with advertising yourself and us with traffic. if you’d like you can check! Our newest post get to the front page automatically!
    (Note you cannot have access to any profile until you are registered, but you can see all the articles).

    Please tell me how it sounds to you, hope to hear from you soon…

    Cristele

    PS: it is free. PLUS, next week we enter our *first* blog contest, with prizes kindly and generously offered by some of the members of our community! http://www.altglobe.com/altglobe-contest

  2. Mojavi permalink
    August 21, 2008 4:25 am

    what is live yogurt? and where do you get it?

  3. Lisa permalink
    August 21, 2008 4:28 pm

    Cristele-I’ll check into that. Thanks for the invite.

    Mojavi-Sorry I wasn’t so clear. Live yogurt is any plain yogurt that has live cultures in it. I like Brown Cow and Nancy’s personally, but you should be able to find live culture yogurt in any grocery store or natural foods store. The more live cultures the better your yogurt will be so I would opt for a higher quality one like Brown Cow or Nancy’s over a generic from the grocery store.

  4. april. permalink
    August 21, 2008 7:27 pm

    i’m glad you posted this, lisa, because i’d almost forgotten that i intend to give yogurt making a try. we sure eat a lot of it. i’m low on milk right now, but when i get more soon, i’ll see if i can do it.

  5. October 3, 2009 10:56 am

    Thank-you for this! I’m going to give it a try! Is that actually a half-gallon mason jar? I’m ashamed to say it, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that big.

    • October 3, 2009 10:59 am

      Yes, it is a half gallon mason jar. Around here I buy them from our farm goods store or my bulk foods place (Azure Standard). You could also do quart sized very easily. We just go through a lot of yogurt.

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