Making Yogurt, all by Yourself

To Do List:
#1 – Get a goat.

Seriously. Those four-legged, milk-giving wonders sure have worked their way into my heart. After spending morning after delightful morning feeding, grooming, and of course milking them, I have fallen into a total goat bliss-out. All I want for Christmas is a dairy goat to call my own. Now if only I had a backyard…

I think the most rewarding part about being around these animals is the reciprocal nature of your relationship – you feed them and they feed you. It’s incredible! Again, getting back to the source of where food comes from is such a pleasure for me, and being able to look the creature in the eye who is literally going to give me breakfast, feels like divine gift.

I hadn’t eaten dairy products, save for butter and ghee, in quite some time, and I had never tried raw dairy before. Happily, I found it really worked for my body. I eased my way in slowly and found that my homemade goat yogurt was the easiest to digest, I suppose because it was full of enzymes and friendly bacteria. This discovery was so moving that I had to share.

Yes, you can do this!
Surprise! Yogurt is extremely easy to make. You may have been convinced otherwise by commercial yogurt makers at the health food store, which give you the impression that special equipment is required, or you may think that you need to obtain some kind of special culture to inoculate your milk with, but happily, neither is the case! You hold the power and the ability to make this healthful food right at home with things you probably have on hand. You’re pretty pumped, eh? Thought so.

You will need:
A large pot to heat the milk in
A candy thermometer
½ cup good quality, organic plain yogurt with live active cultures (or ½ cup yogurt from a previous batch of homemade)
1 liter organic, whole milk, non-homogenized

Directions:
1. Gently heat the milk to 180 F (82 C), then allow it to cool to 110 F (43 C).
2. Stir in yogurt and pour mixture into a shallow glass, enamel, or stainless steel container.
3. Cover the container and let sit in a warm place (about 150 F / 65 C), such as a gas oven with the pilot light on, overnight.
4. In the morning, transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate.

Variation: Raw Milk Yogurt
I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding raw milk, but my personal opinion is that if you are going to consume dairy, it’s the most holistic way to go. Raw milk has not been pasteurized, so it retains all of its enzymes and essential vitamins that are destroyed through heating. It may be difficult to find as it is not legal for retail sale in many states, and in Canada you would have to know a farmer to get yours direct. Not an easy task, but well worth the effort I believe.

You will need:
A large pot to heat the milk in
A candy thermometer
½ cup good quality, organic plain yogurt (or ½ cup yogurt from a previous batch of homemade)
1 liter organic, raw whole milk, non-homogenized

Directions:
1. Place 1 liter raw milk in a double boiler and heat to 110 F (43 C).
2. Remove 2 tablespoons milk and add 1 tablespoon yogurt.
3. Stir well and pour contents into a one-liter glass jar. Add another 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of yogurt to the jar, stir well and cover tightly.
4. Place jar in a warm spot (95 F/ 35 C), like a dehydrator, overnight.
5. Transfer to the refrigerator.

Make it a routine:
Every time you make your own yogurt, remember to save a little bit of for your next batch.
Your homemade yogurt is not going to be as thick as regular store-bought yogurt, but I like the smooth creaminess of it. It is wonderful as a base for smoothies, as a topping for pancakes, you can blend it with some fresh herbs for a dressing (mint is delicious!) or even use it instead of whipped cream for dessert. If you want to flavour your yogurt, you can add crushed fresh fruit, jam (the fig one is ridiculous!), maple syrup, or raw honey.

You can make yogurt with any type of whole milk, but I would insist on buying organic and choosing goat over cow. Yes, you heard me correctly. Remember this awesome post: Goat is the New Cow? Yuh-huh.
And just for the record, a good-quality goat milk should not taste “goaty” – it should taste almost like cow’s milk, but a little sweeter, in my opinion. I do know that if a male goat (buck) is around the does, especially during milking time, their odor can be absorbed by the milk, as it is rather penetrating. But I spent the last month in close connection to just the females and they do not smell at all, nor does their milk give off that familiar goaty-ness we don’t really dig in our morning coffee, right?

Go forth and conquer! Making yogurt yourself is a totally satisfying culinary activity, and will surely make you feel like a super hero in the kitchen. So give yourself all the credit your deserve, and a really delicious breakfast to boot.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

35 comments

  1. Catherine Gamble

    Hi Sarah
    Thanks for the tips on yogur making. Fresh yogurt is so creamy and mild and only becomes more acidic the longer you keep it when you could flavour it if the sharper flavour as not to your taste. Like your other reader, I use a thermos flask as well. To make the yogurt thicker, I strain it through muslin. You can set up a drip stand with muslin tied round a wooden spoon or just line a sieve with it (or you can use brand new blanched blue kitchen cloth that you use to wash up with) and place over a bowl in your pantry or fridge in the summer. Overnight in a cold kitchen would be fine as well.

  2. Nadeen

    One of the easiest yoghurt recipes Ive found.Thanks for sharing. I live in the alpine countries in Europe where we can get fresh milk at our local cheese sh which comes from reliable sources. Yah. It is worth noting though….if you go to a farmer get someone you know well who is a clean farmer…to reduce risk of contamination and disease. I just had my little one tell me that you carrot lentil and harissa dinner looks “weally pwetty mummy. Lets eat that” ☺ Off to buy your lovely books to improve my collection. Thanks.

  3. Dana

    Your yogurt recipe is really great. Will try it later on this week ( with cows milk).
    This comment is just a little bit of info about goat milk and cow milk.
    The only way that goats or cow will give milk is after giving a birth – they can be milked after having a baby for about few months (sometimes even few years but depends on the bread and its lineage ) before drying out and need to be breed again.
    The food industry often doesn’t make information about what and how they produce an accessible public knowledge.
    Production of large amounts of goat milk also results in the production of large quantities of goat meat that nobody wants.
    Goat meat is unfortunately very rarely used in western culture.
    The only other way to produce milk in mammals is artificial hormones – and that is what big scale production of cow milk involves in te US. Those same hormones are banned in Europe.

  4. Jimena

    This post really makes me want to try goats milk.
    I personally like to use a yogurt maker, it saves you a lot of trouble trying to control the temperature. They are inexpensive , and very easy to clean!
    I like to mix my homemade yogurt with coconut milk for a coconutty taste! it is out of this world delicious. i have a recipe on my blog if curious.

  5. blues

    If you want to use a part from your previous batch its better to make a small glass at same time and remove it from the heat much before all the yogurt culture has ended. That will be like 2 hours.
    If you are lactose intolerance you can ferment the yogurt for 20 hours and there will be almost no lactose left. The yogurt will be more acid but add a bit of sugar to sweeten it. Besides if you want to use vegan milks they usually require adding sugar before culturing.

  6. Jules

    I have a cold kitchen and no oven with a pilot light. In summer I make it like above (kept in a warm place) but in winter, I use an insulated box or bag – mix the starter with milk and place in glass jars. Then I place a separate glass jar filled with hot water between, cover with a tea towel and close the insulated box/bag = overnight it makes perfectly creamy yogurt. For extra firm yogurt, after about 4 hours replace the water with hot water again. Kefir works great this way as well.

  7. Tracy

    I thought that yogurt had to be fermented no higher than 110 degrees F? You do it at 150?! Doesn’t that kill the live cultures? I always do mine between 100 and 105.

  8. Christiane

    Hi there,
    I love homemade yogurt, though I never tried goat milk. I have been making it for years and want to suggest to you to try an old thermo jug instead of the oven. Works and needs no energy!
    Tried the live changing bread today….delicious! Even the kids like it.

    Love, from Germany
    Christiane

  9. Kate

    Hi Sarah,

    What do I do if I can’t stand the “smell” or this specific taste of goat’s milk? It makes me sick and throw up 🙁
    I don’t drink cow’s milk either for the same reasons: don’t like the smell/taste.

    • Ania

      Try sheep’s milk. I know it’s hard to find (we get ours online from a New Jersey based farm that delivers their produce weekly to New York, where I live). It’s $15 per half gallon but it’s unpasteurized and yummy. Look online – maybe there’s a place you can order it online.

  10. Annalea

    hi sarah,

    found your blog today via ‘going home to roost’ and i feel like i’ve stepped into a little corner of the most cozy, welcoming home ever. thank you, thank you!

    i was so happy to see this post about making my own yogurt and learning that i didn’t need to go out and buy a yogurt making machine to do it. really looking forward to trying this out.

  11. Jessica

    Hey sarah!
    I just stumbled across your blog and I must say, it’s already one of my favorites!
    I’m interested in making my own yogurt, but I’m vegan! Would this work with soy/almond/coconut milk?!

  12. Frances

    Hello!
    Well, I went to the market today to buy goat’s milk, but they had run out unfortunately… they then proceeded to recommend horse milk. Any thoughts?! 🙂 I sway between “wow, even drinking cow’s milk is a little weird,” to “well, if goat is ok, why not horse?!”. If you have any information about health and digestive properties of horse milk, I’d be really interested!

    I really want to make yoghurt and your homemade goat’s milk ricotta so I’ll be hot-footing it back to the market soon. 🙂

  13. Cassie

    Hi Sarah,

    Old post for you, new favourite for me!

    I woke up this morning and slid (in my socks at top speed) to the glowing oven. I have the biggest smile on my face! Your simple instruction worked! I am a yogurt maker. It is, like you say, less thick than store bought and I find the texture so pleasing!

    There is quite a bit of “run-off” on top (tart and delicious). What is this? Should I save it too?

    Thank you for bringing homemade yogurt to my kitchen!

  14. karina hafnor

    well, I just bought raw goat milk from the farmers marked today, and a batch of udos choice probiotics to make yogurt tonight, and then your goat ricotta tomorrow.

  15. karina hafnor

    I love coming back to this post, over and over again. Today I brought home with me some soy yogurt to use as my starter, as I can’t handle milk and don’t have a goat in the garden quite yet.

    I really hope my plan with cashew yogurt works. If it does, I know I’ll be eating frozen yogurt the rest of this summer.

  16. Mieke d

    Hi Sarah! Where did you get your goat pictures from?
    Cause if you took them then you must have been in Redwood Valley, CA!
    Did you spend time with Licorice, Honeypot, Rita, etc?
    I WOOFFed that Road B. Let me know if you have any idea what I’m talking about!

  17. Jennifer L.

    I had been wanting to make goat milk yogurt long before reading your post, but your post came at the very time that I had access to some yummy raw goat milk. I was all too excited to give it a go. My goat yogurt turned out amazingly well, free of all goat-y-ness that I attribute to some store bought goat yogurts I’ve tried.

    The funny thing is, when we buy our goat milk, we have to sign a waiver that we won’t use it for food purposes (of course), so we always tease that our goat soap is most delightful. 🙂

    Thanks for the great post! It really is super easy once one gets in the swing of it.

  18. Natasha

    Love! I visited Fat Goat Farm, VT a few weeks back and fell in love with all things goat. Have you tried Cajeta? Its a goat milk’s caramel and its also quite yummy!

  19. marion

    This is fantastic Sarah!
    I love goats too and dream to have my own some day, and two years ago when you posted your “I <3 GOATS" post I made the switch and have never looked back.

    My mum used to make yogurt years ago, and I kinda assumed that funky orange machine was required to make it happen – how nice to have an alternative way – cannot wait to give it a try!

  20. Sarah B

    Hi Sara!

    My baking oil of choice depends on what I am baking, but I like using olive oil for rich cakes (the delicate fats are protected as the temperature inside the cake will never get too high). But my go-to for most baked goods is probably coconut oil. It has a very high smoke point, one that you would never reach during baking, plus you can get it unflavoured to work in any recipe. Good luck!

    Best, Sarah B.

  21. Sara

    This looks so good! Will definitely try!

    I have a question….what is your favorite oil to bake with? I have always used Canola, but I am beginning to learn more about it and wonder what the most ‘natural’ oil would be? Thanks!

  22. Sarah B

    Hey Jacqui!

    You don’t have to use goat milk yogurt to inoculate your goat milk, but it is obviously preferable. You can find goat yogurt at most health food stores, but cow’s will work too!

    Happy Yogurt Making 🙂
    -Sarah B.

  23. jacqui

    I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve been wanting to make my own yogurt from goat’s milk for some time because I don’t really do cow dairy products often either. My only question is should I use goats milk yogurt? Or does it matter?

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