Interested in making your own Greek yogurt from raw milk? Well here is a recipe so easy that the yogurt practically makes itself! I have spent a lot of time feeling discouraged by rather involved yogurt recipes. This is not one of them. Here is a list of things you will NOT need:
- a yogurt maker
- a cheese thermometer
- a special yogurt culture
- Half a gallon of raw milk, or however much yogurt you want to make
- Two tablespoons of your favorite plain Greek Yogurt
1. Pour the raw milk in a pot.
2. Place it on the stove on low heat.
3. Warm the milk over the stove till it reaches about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can heat it up higher, but you run the risk of pasteurizing the milk. I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in eating pasteurized yogurt. Read more about the health risks associated with pasteurized dairy here.
How will you know when it’s 100 degrees? This is going to be your thermometer. Yes, I have a twenty dollar cheese thermometer too, but do you know how much I use it? Never! Instead I do what my mama taught me when she would make delicious handmade cheese: wash your hands and feel the milk with your pinky. It should be a little warm – if it’s hot, you burned it.
4. I use Nancy’s Greek yogurt to inoculate my first batch. But you can use any plain Greek yogurt from a reputable source. Right now, I am in the process of looking for a good heirloom yogurt starter on line. I will keep you all updated if I find one! Do you know of any?
5. Incorporate 1 tablespoon of the Greek Yogurt into your warm milk. If you are making less than half a gallon, you can even use less. Bacteria are amazing!
6. Mix it well.
7. Carefully clean some glass containers, using vinegar if you are concerned about their sanitation, in which to store and ferment the yogurt.
8. Sometimes, just in case the yogurt starter did not get evenly distributed, I add just a little more, maybe a teaspoon, into each jar, just to me sure they all got enough.
9.There are two methods for the next step.
If you have an oven with a pilot light, you are lucky! Place the yogurt in your oven, without turning the heat on, for 10 – 15 hours, depending on how thick you want your yogurt.
This method is more involved but it works, if you don’t have an oven with a pilot light, or if you are planning to bake or cook on the stove top in the next 10 -15 hours. One of my dearest friends taught me this method. Thank you Nancy!
10. Place the jars in a crock pot.
11. Heat up enough to cover the jars.
12. Fill the crock pot with the hot water.
13. Place it in a warm corner in your house. Don’t plug it in! Even the low setting on the crock pot is too high for the sensitive yogurt cultures.
14. If your home is rather cold, like mine, layer a few towels, coats, and anything else on there that will help insulate the heat and keep the milk warm. I call it my yogurt baby.
If you would like your yogurt to be really firm and creamy, change the water out with some more hot water after 5-6 hours. If the yogurt turns out kind of chunky but slightly runny at the same time, it will still taste delicious, but that means that it wasn’t warm enough.
I have found that the smoothest Greek yogurt I have gotten is by using Option A above, in the oven with a pilot light. Using Option B, you have to pay close attention to make sure your water doesn’t get too cool. Test it with your pinky. If it feels warm, the cultures are thriving. If it’s lukewarm, add hot water.
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