Friday, June 8, 2012

Fermentation Friday - Homemade Yogurt

Fermentation Friday - Homemade Yogurt


Yesterday I decided to ferment something new and healthy… YOGURT.  I am a yogurt hound.  I eat way too much of it.  My dog shares my addiction.  He drools and stares at me like a zombie when I eat yogurt.  He is waiting for me to allow him to lick the cup.  He loves yogurt way too much also.  He will shove his whole face into the cup to get every last morsel of yogurt.  Like a kid, he hates for me to whip off his face with a napkin when he is done.

Bonnie and I ferment wine and cider for presents so I have a good understanding of fermentation and sanitation. But yogurt seemed scarier.  Something about purposely souring milk and eating it that scared me.  Maybe it is big brother telling me I will die if I do not leave it to the “professionals”.  Well screw that…Chewie and I want some real yogurt!!!

I wanted to make the real stuff for the first time so I went to the farmers market (in the rain) and pickup some raw cow’s milk.  It was marked “for pets only”  but the hippies around me said I would be fine.  Plus, Chewie is not getting ALL my yogurt.  I love him but not that much.  J The hippies said they drink raw milk all the time (that was not a confidence booster for me).  Worse case I end up looking (and smelling) like I have not take a bath in 2 weeks, grow dreadlocks, wear tie dye, smell like a college dorm room and dance around a tree in the middle of the night.
I was surprised how easy it is to make yogurt. There are a thousand blogs dedicated to this.  Here are two.  WorkingOutTheDetails and KeeperOfTheHome 
  1. The first step is to clean everything you are going to use very well.  I then used a spray sanitizer to sanitize everything.  This step is probably not really necessary but I have the sanitizer lying around because of the mead/cider/wine making I do.  “Cleanliness is godliness”
  2. Then place the milk into a sauce pan.   Any milk can be used.  Skim is good, 2% is better, whole is betterer, and  raw milk is more bettererist.
  3. Heat the milk gently and stir continuously.  You want the milk to reach about 180F.  If you do not have a food thermometer (shame on you) heat the milk to just before it starts boiling (you will start to see small bubbles form on the side).
  4. Take the sauce pan off of the stove and cool it down to about 110F.  I used an ice bath.  Again if you do not have a thermometer (go to Bed, Bath and Beyond cheapo) you can test it by sticking your pinky finger into the milk.  If it is warm and not hot then you are probably good
  5. Now you need a bacteria source.  You can either buy yogurt bacteria (online or at hippie stores like Whole Foods) or dump in a cup of room temperature, store yogurt that has live yogurt cultures in it (read the sides to know).
  6. Now comes the creative part.  You need to keep the yogurt around 110F.  There are tons of ways to do this.  You can find these online.  But what I did was pour the warm milk into my crock pot.  Placed the lid on the crock.  Removed the crock pot from the heating thingy and placed it into my oven that I barely warmed to about 110F.  My oven tells me the temperature as it heats up.  I just turned it off when it said 110F then let it cool down a little with the door slightly open.  I then put the covered crock into the oven (which is turned OFF), shut the door and left it there overnight to ferment.  I also left the light on to help generate some mild heat and keep the boogey man/monsters/zombies/Chewie away from my yogurt
  7. About 6-12 hours (times seem to vary and not really matter) later you got yogurt.  I just want to bed and took it out in the morning. 
  8. The yogurt is a little more running than you are use to (if you live in the US).  You can strain it using cheese cloth and a strainer for a few hours (the resulting liquid is whey which is great to drink).  People so add pectin, gelatin, powder milk, etc to make it thicker.  See here for thickening methods.  TheKithn & CulturesForHealth
The result is good and healthy.  It was fun and REALLY easy to make.  I did not save any money because raw milk around here is expensive but next time I will just a good quality store milk to save the money.  Don’t tell big brother I made my own yogurt.

What have you fermented lately?  Want more fermentation Fridays?  What should I ferment next?


  1. That sounds like a pain in the butt... :) I think I'll stick to my Chobani. I'm in lovvvveee with it..

  2. That's pretty cool. Not sure I'd make it any time soon, but I'll keep it on the list of things to do after the season.

    I agree with you though - the idea of purposefully making milk go "bad" and then eating it seems so counter intuitive.