Cultured Foods

Homemade Yogurt

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imageKefir was my “gateway” ferment. Surprisingly yogurt was not the first “cultured food” I experimented with. A few of my friends make yogurt regularly, and I thought about trying it, but I was a little weirded out by the thought of leaving milk out of the refrigerator overnight. (This was before I made kefir). I also contemplated buying a yogurt maker, but I was not sure I would use it a lot, and I already had a lot of kitchen gadgets.

After learning how to make kefir, I lost interest in making yogurt. Making kefir was ridiculously easy and it has just as many, (if not more), health benefits than yogurt.

I read you could make yogurt in the slow cooker, so I thought about trying that, but never did. Then I was dairy free for a few years, so I had no reason to try it. But this year I finally made homemade yogurt for the first time ever!

My daughter and I don’t consume a lot of cow’s milk. Neither one of us seems to be sensitive to dairy anymore but I am not convinced cow’s milk is entirely healthy. (After learning about A1 beta-casein and the potential harm it causes). A2 milk is supposed to be alright, but that is difficult to find.

My daughter and I do consume goat’s milk. It is incredibly difficult to find goat milk yogurt, (which is another reason we started to make our own).

Homemade yogurt is healthier than store bought yogurt. A lot of store bought yogurt has many unwanted ingredients. (Especially sugar). I was surprised to discover that Amasai, one of the only A2 cow’s milk yogurts I could find, has cane sugar in it.

So there are a few reasons I prefer to make our own yogurt. It is nice to have control over the quality of the ingredients.

So far I have only tried one type of yogurt starting culture. I ordered it from Cultures for Health. It received really good reviews on their website.

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I almost forgot the best part. I did not need to buy a yogurt maker, I used my dehydrator! It was very easy, and I can make pretty big batches if I want to. (Though so far I have only made 2 quarts at a time). If you don’t already have an Excalibur Dehydrator, then a yogurt maker will be the cheaper way to go. I was happy to be able to use the equipment I had.

So here’s how you do it …

You will need

2 quarts of milk
2 mason jars with lids
Large pot
Thermometer
Cultures For Health Starter Culture – (Traditional Flavor Yogurt Starter)
Excalibur Dehydrator – (or yogurt maker).

Here are the instructions directly from the Cultures for Health website.
http://www.culturesforhealth.com/media/docs/CFH_Traditional_Flavor_Yogurt_Starter_Culture_Instructions.pdf

It’s not complicated.

Step 1 – You heat your milk slowly in a large pot, up to 180 degrees F. (Watch it closely, it boiled on me once and got hotter than it should have. It still turned out good, but it is not ideal).

Step 2 – Let the milk cool to 115 degrees F.

Step 3 – Pour the milk into your glass mason jars. (I use 2 quart jars).

Step 4 – Add the culture. I screw the lid on and turn the jar upside down a few times to mix the culture in, but I don’t think it is necessary. If you stir it, don’t use metal, and make sure your tool is sterile.

Step 5 – Remove the trays from the dehydrator and turn on the low setting. (105 degrees F).

Step 6 – The manufacturer recommends incubating for 7-8 hours. I prefer a longer ferment of 12-24 hours.

Step 7– Let the yogurt cool for 2 hours at room temperature, then 6 hours in the refrigerator.

The disadvantage of the Traditional Culture is it is supposed to be a “one time use” culture. However, I found this information in the Questions section of the Cultures For Health website. So it might be possible to get multiple batches from it. (I have not tried it yet).

The manufacturer’s directions state this is a one-time use culture. However, many customers have been able to reculture a few times from a batch already made. Experiment and see!

If you are 100% dairy free, Cultures for Health does have a dairy free culture. I have not tried it yet, but it is definitely on my “to do” list. You can use raw almond milk with it, and I LOVE almond milk. I will be sure to blog about it after I try it.

One quick tip. When you receive your culture, make sure you refrigerate it right away. My first order came with other food from Thrive Market, and I mistakenly put my yogurt culture in the cupboard. It did not survive. 🙁

Have you made homemade yogurt? What culture did you use?

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