Here is an easy step by step guide on how to make yogurt with raw milk in your own kitchen. Full of probiotics, homemade yogurt is full of health benefits that improve your gut.
There are many different ways to make yogurt. However, the concept is always the same. Get the milk, mix in the starter culture, keep at a steady temperature, and get yogurt. Making yogurt requires no special equipment, however having an instant pot does make this process more simple. Whether you want to do this in an instant pot or the traditional way, I’ll show you how to make yogurt at home.
The choice is yours whether you want to pasteurize the milk for the yogurt. Raw milk yogurt may not look like the normal commercial yogurt from the store. Every batch of yogurt made can be different based on what the cows ate. The raw enzymes in the milk can compete with the starter culture and alter the consistency of the yogurt. However, if you do choose to pasteurize the milk, you can pasteurize in the same container that you make your yogurt in. Just pasteurize and then let the milk cool back down to 110 degrees F to 115 degrees F. Then follow the directions for yogurt.
What is Raw Milk Yogurt?
Raw milk has not been heat treated so all of its own bacteria is still in there. The bacteria content of the raw milk can compete with the bacteria inside of yogurt. That is why many people choose to pasteurize the milk first. However, if you choose to use unpasteurized milk, just make sure your mother culture or starter culture is strong.
A starter culture is basically a term for a bit of what you’re already making. So for a yogurt culture, it is yogurt that has all the beneficial microorganisms you are looking for in a raw milk yogurt recipe. The starter culture needs to have live cultures and active cultures in it, Once you have made your own yogurt, you can get a yogurt starter culture from the previous batch of yogurt. However, for the first batch of your own homemade yogurt, the easiest way to do this is to buy yogurt from a grocery store. The yogurt must be unflavored and have good bacteria such as lactobacillus bulgaricus or streptococcus thermophilus in it.
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Making Raw Milk Yogurt in the Instant Pot
Instant pot yogurt is the most easy way to make thick raw milk yogurt. Keep reading for detailed instructions on making it.
3 ½ cups milk
½ cup starter culture
If you haven’t pasteurized the milk, you can gently heat the milk to 104 degrees F. Do not go above that though, otherwise you are killing beneficial bacteria that you wanted to keep from the raw milk. This will help kick start the fermentation process.
Whisk the starter culture into the milk.
Put the lid on the instant pot, turn the vent to sealing, and hit the yogurt setting button. This will take you to the 8-hour function. The instant pot will keep the yogurt warm during the incubation and let you know when it’s done, so just ignore that during this step.
At this point, you can walk away while the instant pot does all the work.
After 8 hours, check the yogurt. If it is not soured to your liking, set the timer for a longer period on the next batch. Set the timer for 9 hours. You can go all the way up to 12 hours if necessary.
Grab a clean mason jar, one that has been washed thoroughly with hot soapy water, and transfer the yogurt to the jar. Pro tip: measure out ½ cup of yogurt and place in a pint jar labeled “yogurt starter culture” and date it. Then you don’t have to worry about eating all the yogurt before getting more made.
Place yogurt in the refrigerator and use within 10 days.
Making Raw Milk Yogurt Without an Instant Pot
3 ½ cups milk
½ cup starter culture
If you haven’t pasteurized the milk, you can gently heat the milk to 104 degrees F. Do not go above that though, otherwise you are killing beneficial bacteria that you wanted to keep from not pasteurizing the milk. This will help kick start the fermentation process.
Whisk the starter culture into the milk and put the mixture into a jar(s).
Place the jar into a pot. Fill the pot up to the neck of the jar with warm water, about 115 degrees F. Set the pot on a stove with just the pilot light on (or some other way of keeping the water at 115). At some point, you will probably have to change out the water and put warm water in again. You want it to stay in the 115 degree range the entire time. Keeping that constant temperature is important.
Another way you could make the yogurt is by placing your cultured milk into a good thermos that keeps drinks hot all day or in a slow cooker.
After about 8 hours, check the yogurt. If it is not soured to your liking, set the timer for a longer period on the next batch. Set the timer for 9 hours. You can go all the way up to 12 hours if necessary.
Grab a clean glass jar and transfer the yogurt to the jar. Pro tip: measure out ½ cup of yogurt and place in a pint jar labeled “yogurt starter culture” and date it. Then you don’t have to worry about eating all the yogurt before getting more made.
Place yogurt in the refrigerator and use it within 10 days.
Take a vanilla bean and cut it in half. Scrape out the seeds and put the seeds and the pod into the milk before fermenting it. Stir in ¾ cup raw honey and stir well. Warm up the milk to 104 degrees (unless you are pasteurizing then go ahead and warm it up while pasteurizing) and then remove the pod before fermenting yogurt. Proceed making yogurt as usual.
After the yogurt has been refrigerated, mix in 3 tablespoons of honey or sugar per 2 cups of yogurt. If that is not sweet enough, add in more.
You could also experiment with different flavors here by adding in extracts.
Make your yogurt extra rich by adding 1 cup of heavy cream to the pot per half gallon of milk when you’re heating the milk. Proceed with the recipe as usual. The cream will sour along with the milk, and the result is especially delicious with desserts.