By Kenzi Knapp
You know yogurt is a powerful, healthy food for your family, but can you really make it from home? Absolutely! With a little practice, homemade yogurt can find a place of honor on your table. Here I’ll share a simple process for making yogurt–from our family to yours.
Tips on Making Yogurt
Our family enjoys homemade dairy products, but it’s essential that raw milk be handled in a sanitary manner to minimize the growth of harmful bacteria. Be clean while milking or be sure your milk source practices good sanitary procedures. (Note: I’ve only made yogurt from cow milk, but much of the following should hold true with goat milk as well.)
Now that you have your milk, should you skim or not skim the cream? As a hearty, fat-loving American (just being honest here), I personally like the richer, thicker flavor cream adds to yogurt. But the choice is entirely yours. The main differences I’ve noticed are skimmed milk is slightly more watery, has a more bland flavor, and is not quite as firm.
Remember, the older the milk is the shorter the shelf life of the yogurt will be. Fresh cow milk from a clean, sanitary dairy will keep for about ten days (expect about a week for goat milk).
Some people really don’t like to boil their homemade yogurt. I understand their reasoning, but even though we milk our own animals, I still personally feel better boiling the milk. Yogurt incubates at a warm temperature for several hours and we’ve never had a problem when we boil it first.
Equipment and Ingredients for Yogurt
- Culture or Starter. I’ve found, by far, the culture or starter used is most important. My best results have been the mild ABY-2C culture from GetCulture. You can use store-bought yogurt with live cultures, but I’ve been less than satisfied in my experience with it.
- Incubator. Yogurt is most successful when it incubates at a steady temperature for a specific length of time. The best I’ve found for creating this environment is a large food dehydrator (I like Excalibur the best). I can fit up to two gallons of yogurt at a time and adjust the setting to the right temperature and leave it undisturbed until it’s done. It even does a better job than yogurt makers we used before. Dehydrators are somewhat expensive, so some like to use their propane oven with the pilot light on, slow cookers, yogurt makers, Instant Pots, or even an old woolen sock pulled up around the outside of the jar. (We tried that one and it was a huge flop, but apparently it works for some.)
- Clean glass jars (choose your preferred size).
- Candy thermometer
- Large stainless steel pot
Let’s Make Yogurt!
- Pour a quart of milk into the stainless steel pot. Bring it to a boil.
- Remove from burner, just as it starts to boil.
- Allow to cool to 118-120 degrees F.
- When the milk is almost cool enough, thoroughly wash your jar(s) in warm water. Place 1/16 teaspoon of culture into the jars, dividing it evenly between however many you have.
- Screw on lids and shake well. Place in dehydrator or other chosen incubator.
- Incubate for 9-10 hours. For yogurt with a more sour twang, you may leave it for up to 11 hours. Keep in the refrigerator for several hours and sweeten with maple syrup, honey, or fresh fruit for a health-full treat.
Making yogurt takes homemade dairy products to a new level. Gather your ingredients and equipment, and start enjoying this new dairy delight today!
Kenzi Knapp desires to proclaim the reconciliation of Mankind through the blood of Jesus Christ. A homeschool graduate currently enrolled in God’s Great Course of Faith, Kenzi lives with her family on an Ozark homestead. She enjoys writing, biking, playing the piano and mountain ocarina, studying history, and encouraging young women to build Christ-centered cottage trades at her blog, Honey Rock Hills.