- If you’re like me, which there’s a good chance you’re not, because if you’re like me you’d have a small barn-full of goats producing more milk than you can keep up with and a large houseful of children who go through yogurt like nobody’s business. But if you are like me- you learn to make your own yogurt and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
I’ve been milking goats and making yogurt since our fourth child- 9 year old Brenna- who was severely lactose intolerant, was about two years old. Cow’s milk products would cause horrible bloating, gas and diarrhea in Brenna and since I’d become intrigued with goats anyway we figured it was a good time to jump in. Joe built me a barn because he’s awesome like that, and we moved in three floppy eared Nubian dairy goats. I was nine months pregnant with baby number five when the first of those goats delivered her first kids and I learned to make yogurt later that year.
Seasons come and seasons go and some years I make more yogurt than others, but here we are seven years later and here I am about to tell you how to make yogurt, from goat’s milk. (Cow’s milk will do as well)
What you’ll need:
Yogurt with live active cultures (2 TBSP per quart of milk)
Quart or pint jars
Heat milk slowly and stir regularly to 180 degrees Fahrenheit on top of the stove. I usually make two quarts at a time. Two quarts (half gallon) of milk will make two quarts of yogurt.
*you can make raw milk yogurt by skipping the heating part and just warming the milk to 115 degrees, but I don’t do this for two reasons:
-The end product is inconsistent and terribly runny.
-The live cultures in yogurt don’t mesh well with the live cultures in raw milk. They kind of cancel each other out. It’s preferable to kill the live cultures in the milk prior to adding the beneficial yogurt cultures to get the best product. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for raw milk, just not when making yogurt.
Let cool to 115 degrees.
To speed up this process, I usually put the pot in a cold water bath in the sink.
(Just be sure not to get any water in the milk)
When it’s reached 115 degrees, whisk in approximately 2 Tbsp of store-bought yogurt (or yogurt from a previous homemade batch) per quart of milk used. For your first batch of yogurt you will have to purchase a small container of store bought yogurt. Make sure it says it has “live active cultures”. For future batches, just save a few tablespoons from your homemade yogurt to use.
You may also add as much or as little sugar (or maple syrup, or honey, or stevia) as you would like at this point, and some vanilla extract if you prefer a vanilla flavor (or lemon, orange, maple extracts etc…) You need to have all these ready and add them quickly so that your milk does not cool too much.
If you plan to add berries, wait until the yogurt has “set” or it will be too runny and won’t set properly. Also, goat’s milk yogurt tends to be thinner than store bought yogurts and so some people like to add some unflavored gelatin or some powdered milk at this point to help it set firmer. I don’t mind the thinner consistency, so I usually leave these out.
At this point, you need to pour your milk into your jars and insulate your yogurt to keep it at around 110 degrees for 12-24 hours. There are many different ways to do this. The easiest way I’ve found is to wrap each jar in a towel and set them in an igloo cooler with another jar (or two if you can fit it) of very hot tap water. Some people use their oven and turn on the pilot light. I don’t have a pilot light, so I don’t use this method.
*For a greek-style yogurt you can strain it through some cheesecloth when it’s done insulating. But I feel you lose a lot of good yogurt that way.
Brenna is not as lactose intolerant as she used to be, which we’re thankful for. She now seems to tolerate yogurt from cow’s milk just fine (although she’s still sensitive to milk, butter, and ice cream) so admittedly, I buy yogurt more often than I make it anymore. Still, it’s a good skill to have, especially in the spring and summer when we have an abundance of fresh milk around here. Plus, it always makes me feel like I’m doing something good and healthy when I serve up a big bowl of creamy home-made yogurt.
What’s your favorite way to eat yogurt? I like mine with berries and a little homemade granola. Mmm.