Making yogurt at home is super easy, fun and delicious! Various probiotic bacteria play important roles in the production of yogurt. Most often species of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus are the microbes that transform animal sourced milks into yogurt. Specific types of yogurt, such as Greek and Belgian, are distinguished by the species of bacteria used to culture the milk into yogurt. When in animal sourced milk, the bacteria can use up lactose for energy which produces a by product of lactic acid. Lactic acid build up in the milk results in coagulation and a drastic change in taste. Incubating the cultured milk for longer, results in more lactic acid and a more intense, pleasantly sour taste. Within just 12 - 24 hours of inoculating milk with friendly bacteria you can have yogurt!
We suggest using high quality organic goat milk or cow milk from the farmers market. Raw milk works great as well if you live in a state where that is available. If that is not doable there are some options for organic, chemical free milks at the grocery store. Here we used Meyenberg Goat Milk from Whole Foods.
Organic Cow or Goat Milk
Depending on the starter culture, you can use a yogurt maker for incubation, or you can let the jar incubate at room temperature. Cultures for Health has some pretty great mesophilic starter cultures and heirloom starter cultures. You can also use a spoon full of already made yogurt as a starter culture.
1. First you need to bring your milk to room temperature and pour it into the quart sized glass jar.
2. Gently set your room temperature jar of milk into the pot and add water around the jar until the jar is half way submerged. Do not put a lid on the jar.
3. Stick the thermometer into the milk and bring the water to a boil, continuously stirring the milk. Once the milk reaches a temperature of 82 degrees Celsius (180 F) remove from heat.
4. Keeping the thermometer in the milk, remove the jar of milk from the water. Let it cool to about 44 degrees Celsius (about 110 F).
5. Once your milk is cooled, you can add your starter culture. It is best to dissolve dried cultures in a small amount of the cooled milk, then add it to the quart sized jar and stir. Dissolving the starter in a small amount of milk first helps to prevent clumping and distributes the culture evenly throughout the milk. If you are using already prepared yogurt with live active cultures, just take a spoon full of that and stir it into the cooled milk.
6. Once your milk is inoculated with probiotic microbes you are ready to incubate! If you are using a yogurt maker: Dispense it into clean jars for your yogurt maker. Be sure the lids are off, turn it on and let it incubate for 12-24 hours. If you prefer a more tart yogurt, let it incubate closer to 24 hours. If you are using a mesophilic culture and room temp incubation: Simply cover the quart sized jar with cheese cloth and a rubber band. Place the jar in a warmer location in your house, out of sunlight, and incubate for about 24 hours.
7. When your yogurt is done incubating, put lids on and place in the refrigerator. Once cooled, flavor however you'd like and enjoy! Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest for yummy recipes using yogurt!
Peace, Love & Microbes,