Making yogurt with unpasteurized raw milk is pretty much the same as making it from pasteurized milk you might bite the store. However, there are a couple of very important points that need to be made in the interest of your own health and safety:
- first, you need to be sure that you get your fresh raw milk from a reputable source that you trust.
- Second, you need to be sure the milk comes from healthy animals that are not taking antibiotics are being treated for some form of disease or illness.
- Lastly, unpasteurized raw milk must be brought to the boiling point and pasteurize before making yogurt from it otherwise any number of on healthy bacteria can be in that milk, including such nasty critters as E. coli.
I grew up on a home farm where my mother always kept small stable milk cows, and we always drink our milk raw. It certainly didn’t do anything to us except keep us healthy, but my mother and all of us were exceptionally careful about the milking process, collection, and the immediate refrigeration are fraught raw milk. If we were ever in doubt about the safety or quality of the milk or the and health of the animal came from that milk would have been thrown out without question. My mother had a big emphasis on “when in doubt throw it out” the rule which is still rule I live by today regarding all food.
So, here is a quick outline of the process for making yogurt from unpasteurized raw milk.
What You Need:
- Milk – You can make yogurt from whole milk or skimmed (cream removed) milk fresh raw milk.
- Starter culture – The options available for your starter culture include powdered starter culture, store-bought yogurt, or homemade yogurt from a previous batch.
- Yogurt Incubator – The incubator is important for maintaining your milk and culture mix at about 110 F to 115 F for close to five to eight hours. Therefore, options available to you include a yogurt maker, thermos, or heat keeper jugs. You maintain the needed temperatures for the required amount of time, and you ensure equal distribution of heat throughout the incubator to prevent the occurrence of some hot and cool spots.
- Other requirements – include heavy, large pots, candy thermometer (preferably one with a clip for attachment), large spoon or whisk, storage containers, cheesecloth, colander, ladle, both large and small bowls.
How to make yogurt from unpasteurized milk
1. Clean all your tools
Did you know that you actually need a bacterium known as Lactobacillus bulgaricus to make good yogurt? Keeping in mind all the microorganisms, including other bacteria, present all around us, it is always advisable to wash and even sterilize all your yogurt making equipment and surfaces to avoid introducing other unwanted bacteria. Some clean their tools with boiling water, but thorough handwashing is also enough.
2. Heat the milk
— Important —
Unpasteurized (raw) milk must be heated to near the to the boiling point, not boiled, to kill the bacteria.
Additionally, heating the milk for some extra minutes helps in concentrating it so that your yogurt can be thicker.
3. Cool the milk back
After heating your milk to the boiling point, cool it back down to 110 F-115 F. Make use of your thermometer to track the temperatures. Also, keep stirring to ensure even cooling.
4. Add your starter culture
When using a powdered starter, it is okay to whisk it in according to the amount specified on the packaging. However, when using yogurt as a starter culture, it is advisable to first isolate a small amount of the milk and keep adding it to the starter culture and stir until all of it has been mixed. This is because adding cold yogurt directly to the milk will slow down the incubation by suddenly dropping the temperatures too much.
Use your ladle to transfer the milk and culture mix to your incubator of choice. The main importance of incubation is to maintain your milk and culture mix at the stated temperature for 5 to 10 hours undisturbed. However, keep in mind that shorter incubation periods under cooler temperatures will produce sweeter, thinner yogurt while longer and hotter incubation periods will produce tarter and thicker yogurt.
6. Check if it is done
After the first 5 hours, it is okay to start checking hourly if your yogurt is done. When ready, your yogurt should start looking firm. Moreover, it will get more acidic with each passing hour.
7. Store your yogurt
Once your yogurt is done, it is okay to put it in the fridge. It will remain safe and usable for about two weeks. As always, the “when in doubt throw it out,” the rule applies.