I hadn’t made raw milk yogurt when I wrote the yogurt post, so I’ve been on an adventure to get it right since then. Here are the raw milk modifications plus my experiments…
First of all, let me just encourage you to make yogurt, period. If you’re committed to nutrition enough to seek out raw milk, you already have the time and skills to make yogurt, I promise. Remember: it’s not rocket science. Second, if you can’t afford enough raw milk to make yogurt, remember that even Sally Fallon, the most conservative food writer I’ve ever encountered, says in NT that making yogurt from storebought whole milk is acceptable. Embrace the savings you can accrue from making yogurt for a year with pasteurized milk, and maybe you can add a gallon of raw milk next year!
- Since raw milk has all those lovely living enzymes, you want to make sure you don’t heat it above 118 degrees, the temperature at which those enzymes will die.
- Step 6: Keep a close eye on the thermometer and turn off the heat when it reaches 110. If you’re nervous you’ll miss it, stop anytime after 101 degrees – that’s the temp of milk when it comes out off the cow.
- Skip steps 7, 8 and 9.
- Step 10: (This is not from experience, but from Nourishing Traditions, p. 85, so I’m not sure why the change. My hunch is that you need more starter for raw milk because the healthy bacteria are competing with the living enzymes for space.) Add a total of 3 Tbs plus 2 tsp plain yogurt and stir well.
- UPDATE: I made raw milk yogurt for the first time because some of ours was going sour. It looked like concentrated cream cheese at the bottom of the jar and almost 3 cups whey when it was finished culturing. What?? I have no idea what happened. It was very odd. I did overheat it, unfortunately, because I’m not used to having to watch my temp, so I killed the enzymes. Hmph. I’ll have to try again sometime… [Now I understand that old milk doesn’t make good raw yogurt…Remember to check out the post with all the directions for raw yogurt in a very clear form, plus a trick for getting it thick!]
- UPDATE 5/18/09: Second attempt at raw milk yogurt. I heated 2 jars to 110 degrees or so and the other two to about 150 degrees. Used ~4 Tbs starter yogurt in all and incubated 8 hours in a cooler. They all turned out quite similar, the only difference being that the 110 degrees jars may have had a bit more whey. They weren’t the crazy flop the first attempt was though! They are very tangy, and the texture is not very smooth. They are so liquidy, in fact, that I strained 2 jars for just a half hour or so through a tea towel and got one jar of whey and one jar of yogurt. I can eat it, but it’s not a pleasant experience. It takes more sweetener to get it down. My next experiment will use three different jars: to leave a jar on the counter after heating to 110 degrees, to incubate in the cooler for only 4 hours, and to add only 2 Tbs starter, just to see what happens. I hope I can get this down, because my husband won’t eat the raw milk yogurt and I’m not enjoying it!
- UPDATE 5/30/09: The raw milk yogurt experiment:1. on the counter: no good. Temp not nearly high enough to incubate yogurt. It’s pretty much milk with yogurt suspended in it. I only left it 4 hours; maybe some would say to go longer, but I didn’t want to waste the milk. We’ll have smoothies with it tomorrow!2. 4 hours is a good time in the cooler; the yogurt is plenty thick enough.3. I have to disagree with Sally Fallon. I tried 5 Tbs of starter (slightly more than she recommends) and 2 Tbs, along with the 3+ Tbs that Nourishing Traditions calls for. The 5 Tbs version was awful: all whey and a little sludge. Both the 2 and 3+ Tbs version worked fine, but the 2 Tbs version is much smoother, although very whey-filled. I can’t even handle the texture of the Fallon version. It will be hung to make cream cheese for sure.Here are the photos, in order left to right 2 Tbs, 3+ Tbs and 5 Tbs, then a closeup of each.
- There is some great conversation in the comments at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s yogurt post.
I just came across this article on raw milk yogurt making, and it may give me some better success! Can’t wait to try her recommendations!
AHA! UPDATE, 1/2010: I have done it! Here is the trick, which I have replicated twice now: don’t make raw yogurt from raw milk. Seriously. If you want yogurt for smoothies and recipes that is truly raw, then go for it, but unless you know hidden secrets that I don’t, it will be inconsistent at best, like the photos above at worst. I bring the raw milk up to 180 degrees and leave it there for a while, then proceed with my recipe as normal. Beautiful results! Taste and texture are both excellent, creamy and not too tangy. Phew!
A BETTER UPDATE, 5/2011: After some discussion with others, I started wondering about incubation temperature. I tried a few more batches of raw yogurt by heating to 110F, stirring in the starter to specs here, then incubating in an Excalibur dehydrator (trays are removable) at 100F, lower than I think I’m used to. Whether it’s the constancy of the temperature or the temp itself, this method had MUCH better results. Very edible and not relegated to smoothies only. When I think of it, when I’m willing to use the electricity, and, this is the clincher – when I remember to grab the jars before they’re boiling away (!), I can now make truly raw yogurt. It still is not exactly as creamy as pasteurized yogurt and is slightly tangier, even with the same incubation practice, but I’ll take it!