Saturday, December 6, 2008

Raw Milk Yogurt

I've been making yogurt for about a year now, and I thinking I'm ready to put the system down on paper (or screen if you will). This is my yogurt maker.

It is a Eurocuisine YM100. You can buy it from Amazon. It costs about forty bucks, and trust me it's definitely worth the ten bucks extra (over the thirty dollar YM80) for the automatic timer. I also suggest the you shell out the extra twenty bucks for a set of extra jars. Otherwise you have to wait for all the yogurt to be eaten in order to make your next batch. You also need a candy thermometer.

Many people make yogurt with nothing but a mason jar and a wood stove, but I just never could make that happen, and frankly, I'm a little in love with my yogurt maker.

OK, now you have your supplies. For one batch of yogurt, this is what you will need:

4 1/4 cups of milk (I use raw milk, but use what you like)
6 oz. plain fatty yogurt (more on this later)
4 T nonfat dry milk powder

So let's talk about these ingredients. Because I have access to some pretty wicked awesome raw milk, this is what I use. And the method that I will lay out for you is different from the one that comes in your yogurt maker instructions, because I don't want to heat it so much that I will kill all the good things in the raw milk. If you are using raw milk, you've already made this decision and you know all the things like how you should be absolutely sure of the perfection and cleanliness of the farm, etc., etc, so I won't go into that. This method, however, will also work with pasteurized milk, so don't stress it if that is what you want to use.
As for the yogurt in the recipe, this is your starter. If you buy a little thing of yogurt, you can use it as a starter, and then you can use one of that batch as your next starter. This is as far as you can go with it. So one little cup of yogurt will get you two cycles of starter. I have found that the absolute best starter is full fat Greek yogurt. It makes a huge difference.
You also need nonfat dry milk. Organic valley makes a decent one, or sometimes you can find it in the bulk section at the health food store. If you're going to use the low heat method that I set out here, you must include dry milk or else your yogurt will be runny. If you don't mind runny yogurt, by all means leave it out.

So here's the process. Heat your milk at a low temperature until it hits 110 degrees. This happens pretty quickly, so I'd stick close to the stove.

Empty your starter yogurt into a mixing bowl or large measuring cup. Add about 1c of warm milk, and the 4 T of dry milk. Whisk until fairly smooth. Don't worry if there are a few lumps.

Add this mixture back into the rest of the warm milk. Whisk until slightly frothy.

Pour entire mixture into a large measuring cup for easy pouring. Fill jars up to the top.

Leave the lids of the containers off, but put the lid of the machine on. Set the timer for eleven hours. Put the machine somewhere where it won't be nudged or disturbed.

After the eleven hours are up, put the lids on the jars and put them into the fridge. The yogurt will be ready in two hours.

A note on flavors: My experience has been that with homemade yogurt, it is best to make it plain. When more variables get introduced into the situation, the cultures can get a little screwy and sometimes even up and die on you. So make it plain, and then add yummy things to it afterwards.


  1. this is so cool!! i'd love to make my own yogurt, but i don't have a yogurt maker.

  2. Oooh! Lovely! Questions...
    - how long can the yogurt last in the fridge?
    - do you need to have more ingredients for each starter, or do you sometimes use your previous batch as a starter?

  3. I have found that the yogurt is good for at least two weeks. I can use one from a previous batch only once as a starter. So I have to buy a new starter every two batches. I have tried extending the starter, but after the first batch the cultures seem to weaken, and the yogurt doesn't work out as well.

  4. liz from north carolinaNovember 28, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    I used to make yogurt when I lived in Belize...with nothing but a big, old pot wrapped in beach towels. My recipe was pretty close to yours. I got my starter from a Creole commercial yogurt back then.

  5. hi! my mom has been making yogurt for years, using the dry milk method. a couple of years ago, her trusty ol' recipe was yielding really runny yogurt. she tried all kinds of substitutions and realized non-organic dry milk was the culprit. she's always been... thrifty. so it's not really in her nature to buy organic. but she's now convinced that non-organic stuff kills the culture. anti-biotics maybe?