This is a recipe for live-culture yogurt, using Raw Cow Milk, fresh from the farm. This recipe can be done with Goat Milk as well. I have experimented with making Raw yogurt (low temp heating), but it comes out very thin. I had heard that using a small amount of rennet thickens, tried this and it ended up too thick. i think that if you are willing to experiment, you might find the right balance with this.
Take 1 cup of starter out of the fridge to bring to room temp. for your first batch, find a ‘Live Culture’ unsweetened yogurt at your local food co-op or Organic grocer. I have used Goat yogurt, because it was what I could find and it worked well! Remember to save 1 cup from this batch for the next!
Pour 1/2 gallon of fresh Raw Milk into a small glass or stainless steel soup pot. Put on low flame and bring the temp of the milk to 150-165 degrees, this is just about the boiling point. If your going for Raw, bring temp to 108-120. Stir gently from time to time and take care not to boil the milk. When you have reached desired temp, remove from the heat and let cool to 108-110. Once it is at 108-110, you want to hold this steady and add your starter culture. take a small amount of warm milk and mix it with the starter and then mix this with the rest of the milk. I then place this into a 1/2 gallon wide mouth jar, but anything glass or food safe ceramic with good fitting lid. Wrap container to insulate and keep the temp at 85-100 degrees for 8-12 hours (maybe less in warm weather). Below, you’ll see that I have reused insulated packaging that one of the products that came in to the Organic Grocery I work at.
once you have towels and such in the insulated container, wrap it up and place in an oven with the light on, or a setting of about 85 degrees, or I’ve heard you can keep the temp for some time placing in a sleeping bag- you could even sleep with it. The culture likes body temp. The length of time for the culture to develop varies, I like an over-night culturing- approx 8 hours. the longer the culture time, the stronger the flavor.
8-12 hours later…
If you take it out of the ‘bedding’ and find that there is a separation of ‘whey’ (a clear, yellowish liquid) don’t fret! I line a strainer with cheesecloth, tie the corners together and hang over a bowl to let the whey drip off, for 2-6 hours. this makes a yogurt-cheese, or some would call it Greek yogurt. You can use the whey for many things (including baking, giving a small amount to your dog, or feed it to a fruit tree). Someone once shared a story that their apple tree, that hadn’t produced fruit in years- did after a season of feeding whey at the base of the tree.
**Put aside 1 cup of the yogurt culture in a glass container, this is your your starter for the next batch (approx 1 cup). This will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
Once you’ve separated your starter culture for the next batch, add organic maple syrup or other sweetener you prefer to the part you’ll be eating -this is optional. I keep my yogurt in glass, as I think it lasts longer and tastes better. Refrigerate and enjoy!