There are a bazillion yogurt recipes floating around cyber-space already, so why am I adding another one?
Simply because this is the best yogurt I’ve ever made, and I want to share in case some of you have had the problems with other recipes that I’ve had.
By “problems”, I’m referring to things like runny, or overly tart yogurt, poor texture, bad taste, etc.
Really, you wouldn’t think there would be so much difference between recipes when your essentially only dealing with one ingredient, but everything about the process influences the final product, from what temperature you scald your milk at, to how much starter you use, to how long you incubate.
Goat milk is notorious for making runny yogurt because of its low protein content, but I’m here to tell you that with his recipe, you can make yogurt, even with goat milk, that will stand up on your spoon, and that has a heavenly smooth texture and sweet/tart taste. And no, there’s no rennet or gelatin involved.
I haven’t had even a single failure with this recipe.
Note: I choose to scald my milk rather than use raw milk for a few reasons:
- Texture. Raw yogurt tends to be more runny.
- So the “starter” can be carried from batch to batch. When making raw yogurt, you’ll need to use fresh starter every time, which isn’t sustainable, or for that matter, frugal.
Raw milk is a great thing, but the enzymatic qualities and fermentation process of yogurt more than make up the the milk not being raw. Yogurt – yes, scalded milk and all – is a wonderful digestive aid, especially if you’re eating low enzyme diet.
The Best Homemade yogurt
- 1/2 gallon fresh milk (pasteurized is fine, but ultra-pasteurized is NOT)
- Two quart jars with lids
- A lunch cooler
- Pot for heating milk
- Thermometer (a candy thermometer works well)
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- Pour the milk into an adequately sized pot and heat gently until milk boils.
- When milk comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately. I have found that boiling the milk, rather than simply heating it to a lower temperature results in a much firmer texture.
- Clip thermometer to the pot, and let the temperature come down to 110°.
- As soon as this temperature is achieved, remove the “skin” from the top of the milk (any skin left will result in papery shreds in your finished yogurt), and whisk in the starter yogurt.
- Pour the yogurt into the jars leaving at least half an inch of headspace and fit with lids.
- Place the jars in your cooler and fill cooler to the top of the milk line with hot tap water. Your ideal incubation temperature is 110º, but as long as the water you put in your cooler is too hot to keep your hand in for more than a few seconds, you're good. It will cool off before the milk gets too hot.
- Snap the lid on the cooler and let incubate for 6-8 hours. It's a good idea to replace the hot water half way through the incubation to facilitate the fermentation process. The longer it incubates, the more tart the taste, and many traditional cooking sources recommend incubating yogurt for up to 24 hours to "eat" all of the milk sugars and make sure enzymes are at their peak, so feel free to experiment with incubation times. We find the best flavor take about 8 hours.
- remove jars from the cooler and refrigerate.
Some recipe notes:
I like to use Dannon natural plain yogurt for my starter batch. After that first batch, I’ll use the yogurt from my last batch and so on from generation (of yogurt) to generation.
Sometimes, if your yogurt gets contaminated by some sort of bacteria floating around your house or sticking to some utensil that you used, the yogurt may develope an “off” flavor. If that happens, don’t worry about it, just start over with a new carton of Dannon, or (perhaps if you’ve planned ahead, which is not my strong suit) some that you’ve frozen from a previous batch for just such an occasion.
We’ve been going strong, making beautiful yogurt since the beginning of December without having to restart yet. Sadly, our goats are drying off though preparatory to kidding in a little over a month, so it won’t be long until we must bid our yogurt addiction adieu. Sad face.
P.S. If you’re still having trouble with this yogurt, Take a look at this troubleshooting guide:
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