In case you haven’t got enough to do already! Yogurt!

I’ve been working on mastering the art of yogurt for awhile now, and I’m about to share some really exciting information with you.  YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN YOGURT!

Why would you though? It is SO inexpensive to buy, what need have you for making your own?  Well to put it simply, home made yogurt gives you a sense of accomplishment, and fills your body (gut) with healthy bacteria that you need to help your immune system stay strong.

Home made yogurt carries more of those essential bacteria than store bought yogurt too.  So if you want the amazing power of good gut health, you’ve got to get some yogurt!  You could buy expensive probiotics, but you are not guaranteed a good batch, and you have no way of knowing that there is more than sugar in those pills… but when you grow your own bacteria from milk that you culture yourself, as you watch the process you are SURE that there is healthful beneficial cultures in there, because if there were not, you wouldn’t get any yogurt.

Now that you know why, I’ll tell you how… but first let me explain a few things.  There are two different kinds of yogurt you can make… store bought milk has been pasteurized and homogenized, which kills all the bacteria in the milk so that you end up with a product that should in theory be safer for human consumption.  There are those who believe this process to be ridiculous, and you can take the time to find a more scientific article to find out why if you want… but I mention it because if you are educated on your milk facts and want to create yogurt from RAW milk without killing the natural bacteria I will include a second set of directions for RAW milk yogurt makers~

First up, store bought milk yogurt…

This yogurt will have all the same bacteria as the store bought yogurt, and potentially more of it, but not likely more variety.  So in terms of bacteria, you’ll probably get more bacteria, but not more variety.

What you need:

one gallon Milk (I prefer to use whole milk but any milk will work)

4 quart size wide mouthed canning jars

One cup of yogurt (you can pick up a single serve package at the grocery store, use plain or vanilla though, the flavor won’t be helpful)

Sugar or sweetener (if desired, I use about a cup but you can use as much or as little as you like)

Vanilla (if desired. I use 4 tablespoons, but again this is optional and used at your own discretion for taste)

One large stock pot with lid (should be large enough to fit all four jars inside with the lid in place (it doesn’t need to sit perfectly but should cover the opening).

Large towel or small blanket

Candy thermometer

How to make the yogurt:

Pour milk in stock pot, heat to 180 degrees (use your thermometer to check the temp) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.  If sweetened yogurt is desired, in a separate bowl mix sugar, vanilla, and yogurt lightly, no whipping, or whisking, just mix until blended, set aside. If unsweetened yogurt is preferred just put your yogurt in a small bowl alone.

Once your milk has reached 120 degrees remove the thin layer of milk that has solidified at the top (it’s ok if this didn’t happen, but if it did you don’t want to leave it in the pot).  scoop about a cup of milk from the stock pot and mix lightly with the yogurt/sugar mixture.  Once it is completely blended pour the entire yogurt mixture into the stock pot and lightly stir.  Don’t make the bacteria angry, you’re not beating it, just lightly mixing.

Now rinse your mason jars with very hot water, you want only the bacteria from the yogurt to be growing here, no other.  Temperature of the milk won’t likely break your jars but to prevent that happening the hot water rinse will prepare them for the hot milk/yogurt mix.  Now pour your yogurt mixture into the jars evenly… if you have extra left over feel free to drink it, it’s delicious, especially if you’ve sweetened it.

Once all of the milk is emptied into the jars rinse your stock pot out and place the jars (with lids in place) inside the pot.  Now fill the empty space around the jars with warm/hot water.  Put your stock pot on a counter or stove top where it is unlikely to be bothered, cover with the lid, place the towel on top of the lid covering the edges of the lid in case heat might escape from them.  Leave your yogurt for 4 hours, then carefully transfer it to the refrigerator over night.  DO NOT OPEN your jars.. You might be tempted to look, taste, or touch your yogurt at this point, but resist, you’ll get a better yogurt if you don’t disturb the process.  Once your yogurt has refrigerated for 8 hours you can eat it to your hearts content!

Now for RAW milk yogurt.

Because making yogurt with raw milk means that you likely have researched the safety of raw milk, I’m not going to educate you on it, and I’m going to assume you want to keep the bacteria that is currently in the milk in place… if you don’t want to keep that bacteria and you’d like to kill what is there and start fresh you can use the recipe above to do that.  But this recipe is to keep the living bacteria of your raw milk in place and add to it to create yogurt.

The only thing we are going to do differently from the above recipe is not heat it up as high.  The milk bacteria needs to stay at a temperature between 95 and 110 degrees.  95 is probably more ideal.

Pour the milk into your stock pot and heat to 95 degrees, mix sugar, vanilla and yogurt separately and then add a cup of the heated milk stirring lightly (this is simply to avoid lumps).  Pour yogurt mixture into heated milk, mix lightly, and empty into jars, then follow the above directions… LITERALLY the only change is the temperature the milk is heated to.  Keeping bacteria alive is key in this one.

There have been multiple benefits found from encouraging a healthy gut flora… more regular bowel movements, less infection, less sickness in general, and even being group b Strep negative… There are several ideas for a healthy building of the gut bacteria, but this is one simple way you can do something incredibly fun for yourself and be more healthy at the same time.

Have a Cherished Birth!

and enjoy your yogurt!

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