- 1/2 Gallon of Milk (Not Ultra Pasteurized)
- 1 Packet Yogurt Culture
- Good Thermometer
- Yogurt Maker
- Large Spoon or Ladle
- Butter Muslin
- Large Colander
- Yogurt Making Info
- Q & A
Any type of milk can be used with this recipe, but Goat milk yogurt will be thinner than cow milk yogurt, because the proteins in the milk are very different. The thickness can be improved, by adding 3 tablespoons of dry milk powder, for each quart to the goat milk.
Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into a heavy stainless pot. Heat the milk to 185F, and then hold it there for 10-20 minutes. This will prepare the whey proteins which are largely responsible for thickening the yogurt. While heating gently stir the milk to prevent scorching.
Note: If using raw milk, the milk can be heated to 102F, to protect natural cultures in the milk. But, the yogurt will not thicken, unless a small amount of powdered milk, carrageenan or other thickener is added.
Once heated, quickly cool the milk down to 110-115F. This can be done by submerging the pot in a sink filled with cold water.
Note: Remove the pot from the cold water, a degree or two before the desired temperature is reached, to avoid over cooling the milk.
When the milk reaches the proper temperature, yogurt culture can be added. If using our yogurt culture, add 1 full packet to the milk and mix in thoroughly.
Tip: In exchange for a yogurt culture, you can use 1 heaping tablespoon of cultured yogurt, per quart of milk. With this method, the yogurt can change the culture balance and successive batches may become more acidic. We suggest using this method 8-10 times before starting a new culture.
Info: Yogurt culture is a mix of Streptococcus Thermophilus and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus plus any probiotic additions the culture may contain.
Incubate the cultured milk in a yogurt maker, or another insulated container.
Let the milk incubate for several hours at 90-100F. Y5 Sweet Yogurt Culture and Y3 Creamy Yogurt Culture will take 5-12 hours. Y1 Bulgarian Yogurt Culture will take about 3-5 hours. These times depend on the temperature of the milk while incubating. The cooler the milk, the longer it will need.
Tip: The time of incubation will determine thickness, texture and taste of the final yogurt. In our cheese room we use a separate clock to monitor the process.
Longer times and/or higher temperatures will make thicker yogurt and with a tangier flavor. Shorter times and/or lower temperatures will make thinner yogurt with a sweeter flavor.
When a desired flavor is reached, the yogurt should be chilled in the refrigerator, as quickly as possible.
Tip: Once cooled, the yogurt thicken so the final incubation time should be judged on flavor rather than texture.
Greek Style Yogurt
Greek style or drained yogurt, provides a more concentrated flavor and rich creamy texture. This can be nice to mix with fruit or granola.
For anyone who is lactose intolerant, this style has a reduced level of lactose, because a lot of the residual lactose drains off with the whey.
You can use any of our delicious yogurt cultures to make greek style yogurt. Simply follow the steps below.
Transfer Yogurt to Butter Muslin
Place a colander inside a large bowl, be sure there is space under the colander, for whey to drain down. Line the colander with Butter Muslin.
Transfer the finished yogurt into the lined colander.
Cover the top of the yogurt with a piece of the Butter Muslin and drain in the lined colander for several hours, until a desired thickness is reached.
This can be drained on the counter or in the refrigerator. The longer it drains and the higher the temperature, the thicker the yogurt will be.
Tip: To speed up the draining time, tie the four corners of Butter Muslin together, to create a draining sack and hang the yogurt to drain.
Once the yogurt has reached a desired thickness, it can be transferred it to a container and refrigerated.
The leftover whey can be used for many things including high protein smoothies, soup stocks, fed to chickens and used to water tomato plants.
What is Yogurt
True yogurt is defined by a very specific process that dates back in time but no one really knows how old it is. It has evolved as a natural way to preserve milk by converting lactose to lactic acid with natural dairy cultures.
Traditional Yogurt was made with boiled milk but today only heated to about 185F. This process prepares specific whey proteins found in milk but not normally involved in the cheese making process (most of these usually run off in the whey in hard cheese production). Their primary role is to form a thick gel with the activity of specific cultures. The higher temperatures of the yogurt making process is what changes these whey proteins to form the thick texture associated with yogurt.The specific cultures involved are Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus and together work in a way that benefits both cultures. The preferable balance between these two cultures is a 1:1 ratio and it is this balance that is important to maintain. The primary role of the cultures is to convert lactose to lactic acid as well as several other flavor components found in yogurt. These are Acetic Acid (vinegar), Diacetyl (butter), and Acetaldehyde (green apples). You may also find several other cultures in yogurt today often labeled as "Probiotics" such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus lactis.
Modern Yogurt in the western world dates back only to the early 1900s, was not produced in the US in any large amounts until 1940, and never really became popular until the 1970s when Dannon (originating in Spain not France) popularized their version. What currently passes as Yogurt now is a product thickened with many additives and sweetened for the mass market. It is also commonly sold in a low fat version as well.
A true yogurt will release whey when the surface is broken (this can simply be poured off or stirred back in). This is because there are no thickeners or emulsifiers added to the yogurt - simply milk and cultures. Modern yogurts rely upon these emulsifiers to keep this separation from happening.
Different Yogurt Cultures
Our Y5 Sweet Yogurt Culture with Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium is the most probiotic culture we have. This Yogurt has the creamiest texture of all our yogurt cultures and the least amount of acidity. The texture of the Y5 will be more viscous or honey like than the other 2. This would be a great yogurt for cooking and making yogurt sauces and condiments such as an Indian Raita (a mildly spiced yoghurt with cucumber, carrot and tomato pieces to cool down spicy curries).
Our Y3 Creamy Yogurt Culture is a Tangy Yogurt but milder than the Bulgarian Yogurt. This is the most neutral flavor of the yogurts we sell and is the perfect one for blending with fruits and natural sweeteners such as maple and honey. It has enough acid to blend with berry fruits, etc.
Our Y1 Bulgarian Yogurt Culture is the most traditional and the tangiest yogurt we sell. This yogurt is most like the traditional eastern European style yogurts and provides the thickest texture of all of our yogurts. It also sets in half the time of the other two yogurts Y4 and Y5. (This is Jim's favorite and the one he uses as a culture for many of his Italian style cheeses since these all work best at this 1:1 ratio balance of the thermo/bulgaricus starter cultures)
Homemade Yogurt Will Save You Money
Yes, Considering that a half gallon of milk will cost $2.50-$3 and a quart of yogurt costs $4.50-$5.00 you can make your own yogurt for 1/4-1/3 of what it costs to buy it. The real benefit however is that you will know what is going into your yogurt AND you can make it the way you like it.
Yogurt and Helath
There are many claims to yogurts health benefits especially in the "Probiotic" realm but science is still working the facts out here. Currently "Acidophilus" and "Bifidobacterium" are two cultures that survive in the digestive tract and have positive effects in enhancing immune responses.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus do not survive the initial digestion phases particularly well nor reach the gastrointestinal tract in great numbers, but they can improve lactose digestion in some individuals and may help promote a healthy immune system. The combination of these two bacteria will convert a large percentage of milk lactose to lactic acid. Jointly they will convert more than either culture separately. This is primarily why yogurt can be consumed by lactose intolerant individuals. For the extremely lactose intolerant, simply draining the yogurt further reduces almost all of the residual lactose which drains off with the whey.
- yogurt culture
I fell in love with a Turkish yogurt drink, Ayran, but it was expensive. When looking it up, I realized it only has three ingredients: yogurt, water, and salt. But the key for me was finding the right yogurt. The American brands were just functional. I stumbled upon this and it is perfect. I drain the yogurt to convert to Greek-style, put in glass, 1:1 ratio with water, and salt. Perfectly refreshing! I also add mint leaves and black pepper. Also works phenomenally well to make India’s lassi: yogurt, water/ice, mango, sugar, and salt. In both drinks, the addition of salt magically morphs the flavor profile into a new substance all together. I’m going to try it w/some of the creamy yogurt culture, at some point.
This is s review of the culture, as I use a different recipe. We travel a good bit in a small RV, so I used Nido powdered milk and a thermal cooker to make. The yogurt is dependably very good. I've tried three yogurt cultures. Each set well and the flavors, though different, were all enjoyable. It costs much less than purchasing yogurt. No unhealthy ingredients. No plastic containers to deal with.
first time using the NEC - Y3 culture, and don’t know how many times I will be able to reuse some as a starter. For now though, this batch is a 5 star. I have been using the Yogourmet Pro-biotic yogurt culture, and have successfully reused it as a starter 10+ times. Last batch was kind of thin though, and this is with it developing for 24 hours. I followed these instructions using 3.25% whole milk, and let the Y3 develop overnight for 12 hours in a Yogourmet heated unit with a temp of 108 F. The curd was pretty firm, almost to bottom of container. Let drain in cheesecloth lined strainer for 4 - 5 hours, at room temp. Yogurt has a nice tang to it. Saved about 3 TBSPS of yogurt (before draining) for next batch. Love it, and recommend this Y3 culture.