My Favorite Homemade Yogurt Recipe

The best yogurt for health benefits is raw milk yogurt. And because it falls into the category of one of those easy recipes, every one that has the family cow privileges should be making this yogurt recipe. No need to follow a GAPS diet or a Paleo diet to get excited about keeping raw milk raw in your yogurt. Neither do you need to concern yourself with all the national yogurt brands as they promote their fat free yogurt. Simply enjoy the simplicity of being a yogurt maker using raw milk with this homemade yogurt recipe!

Most recipes for homemade yogurt instruct you to heat the milk prior to adding the active yogurt cultures. But this kills the phosphatase in the milk which enables our bodies to absorb the calcium in the milk. Other enzymes, as well, are killed, thus making the milk harder to digest. Clean raw milk holds many health benefits. The culprit of milk is due to the processing it now-a-days receives.

I often use this method when making raw milk yogurt. I find it is something I can set up, even outside and forget about it until it is done. No need to buy a yogurt maker. No fancy equipment involved. It very applicable for an extended camping expedition. If your raw milk is getting about too old, consider this home made yogurt recipe.

Place Milk in a Wide-Mouth Gallon Jar

I like to pour the milk into a wide mouth gallon jar. This makes it easier to get the finished yogurt out. Go ahead and fill the jars ¾ or slightly more of the way with raw milk. Make sure to allow room for approximately 1 cup of yogurt to be added to the jar. You will need to whisk the yogurt through the milk. You may top off the jar later if you want it brim full.

The milk can be cold, right out of the refrigerator. Or you may have had it out at room temperature for a few hours. Either way will work for this homemade yogurt recipe. 

Add Yogurt with Active Cultures

Once you have your own homemade yogurt, you can retain a bit to use as a starter for future batches. But to begin with, purchase plain yogurt with active cultures for your first yogurt recipe.

This means it contains live probiotics from healthful bacteria such a lactobacilli and possibly other strains of healthful bacteria which eat up the sugars (Lactose) in the milk. Thus you find the sour taste of yogurt!

Place at least 6 oz. of this yogurt into 1 gallon of milk. Mix well. I like to use a wire whisk to break the clumps of yogurt apart so as to spread the cultures throughout the gallon better.

Use an Insulated Cooler

Next I use an insulated cooler to set my jars of milk in. I often make several gallon at a time and so I use a mid-size one. This gives room for 2 or 3 gallon jars to set in the cooler. You will want to make sure it is tall enough to shut the lid with the jars inside.

And if you have a smaller cooler you want to use, you can use Mayo jars or other smaller jars. Or at times I will even use a large cooler and place a bucket of milk in it. Just make sure the lid will shut tightly.

Fill the Cooler with Hot Water from the Faucet

Fill the cooler with hot tap water. I like to bring the water up to the top of the milk line on the jars. If you go higher, the jars will start to float and possibly tip over.

Often if I have a cooler filled with 3 or 4 gallon, I like to fill the cooler once with hot water and let it set for an hour or so. Then I will drain it off and refill it with hot water again. But if you are only doing 1 or 2 gallons at a time, this is not necessary as their will be plenty of warmth to maintain good temperatures for the cultures incubation. The more hot water, the more heat will be available to warm the milk.

Also the temperature of your tap water will have an effect on how warm it will make the milk. And the temperature of the milk will also be a factor on the final temperature the hot water will bring your cooler to.

And so if the hot water from your faucet in not real hot, you may want to consider letting your milk set out of the refrigerator a few hours before starting your yogurt making.

What about the temperature?

This method does not require a thermometer. You are not pasteurizing the milk, only creating an environment for the yogurt cultures to be able to reproduce in.  I say to test the milk temperature or the water temperature on the bottom of your wrist after an hour. If you do not feel it much, it is approximately 98 to 100 degrees. This provides a good setting for culturing and you then will want to keep the lid closed.

How Long Until I Have Yogurt?

After 8 hours of incubation, you should have a fairly high count of lactobacilli probiotics in your homemade yogurt! But you may let it go for 12 hours or more. A 24 hour period, such as recommended by the GAPS diet, will continue the processes of eating up more lactose and turning it into lactobacilli probiotics for health. Such a simple yogurt recipe!

Want a thicker Yogurt Recipe?

We are so used to thicken yogurts versus the true European style yogurts. And so, you can attain this without adding starches or any other thickeners. Simply drain some of the whey off. This whey is still valuable for soaking grains or mixing in with smoothies, etc. Don’t waste the nutrients in it. If nothing else, feed it to plants.

To drain off some of the whey, simply line a colander with a cloth and place the yogurt in the colander for several hours to allow the whey to drain off from the milk solids. Or you may want to simply pour the yogurt into a clean pillow case and hang over a bowl for several hours. This can drain for even a few days to make lebnah.

Enjoy Health, Flavor and Personal Satisfaction

What a blessing it is when we can make our own food. there is an extra personal satisfaction that accompanies your own cooking and food preparation. And the family enjoys your touch in their food preparation. And better yet, include children in these activities to help them understand how to provide healthful food at economical prices. What better entertainment can you find than such productive activities?