I get a lot of raised eyebrows and exasperated looks when I say I make my own yogurt. Many consider yogurt difficult and time consuming to make or requiring expensive yogurt makers. It takes time to culture, of course, but my hands on time is about a minute. Literally.
I don’t own a yogurt maker but hear you can find them cheap at thrift stores. Truth is you don’t need one. I get great consistent results with my dehydrator. Yogurt is easy and inexpensive to make at home. This nourishing and versatile food is a simple and accessible source of probiotics.
Store bought yogurt often has many additives and lots of sugar, two things we do not need in our food, and both are unnecessary in a good yogurt. When purchasing store bought yogurt to use as a starter look for whole milk yogurt with the least ingredients. I use a brand called The Greek Gods plain yogurt as a starter when I forget to save some of the previous batch I made.
I like to keep my dairy raw to preserve its enzymes and vitamins. Fortunately for yogurt, keeping it raw is even easier because you don’t need to heat the milk. Culturing milk imbues it with probiotics and makes it easier to digest.
You can use yogurt to make dips and smoothies, put it on granola, use a dollop on soup or just eat it alone as a snack.
Raw Milk Yogurt
½ gallon of raw whole milk
2 T plain unsweetened yogurt from the store OR from a previous home-made batch
In large glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together yogurt and a small amount of milk until incorporated. Then pour in remaining milk and cover. Place mixture in a yogurt maker or the bowl in the dehydrator at 90-100 degrees for 24-28 hours or until desired tanginess is reached. Place bowl in the refrigerator and allow to firm up for 5-8 hours.
Large glass or ceramic bowl with lid
Yogurt maker or dehydrator
After the yogurt has set up for a few hours, you can drain off the whey to make a thick Greek style yogurt or yogurt cheese. Set a large colander in a large bowl, scoop yogurt into fine mesh bag or line colander with cheesecloth. Return bowls to the refrigerator. The whey will drain off into the bowl over the next 4-8 hours. Periodically pour off whey into a glass jar and reserve for use in culturing vegetables or adding to smoothies.
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