Congratulations! You have a source for raw milk, or maybe you decided to get yourself a sweet family milk cow.
Now, it’s time to turn all that extra raw milk into wholesome probiotic raw cow’s milk yogurt.
I’ve been making yogurt with a continual culture for almost 5 years! Some have said it can’t be done, and maybe I’m an exception to the rule, but I’m going to provide you with the exact steps that I’ve used to keep my yogurt culture strong and thriving all this time!
First let’s talk a little about the basics of raw cow’s milk yogurt.
By adding a yogurt culture to warm milk you can easily create yogurt. During the slow, warm fermentation period the bacteria in the culture go to work on the milk, breaking down the lactose (sugar) and casein (protein) creating the wonderful byproduct lactic-acid. This process preserves the milk, makes it much more digestible and frees-up essential vitamins and minerals for absorption. Raw milk yogurt is LOADED with enzymes. These enzymes help you digest lactose and aid in absorbing the vitamins and minerals that have been freed-up by the lacto-fermentation process.
For more information on cultured dairy products please use the “mother of all resources on everything good for you” cookbook Nourishing Traditions.
Now let’s look at how to make raw cow’s milk yogurt easily in your own home.
First you need a yogurt culture! You can buy powdered cultures of all sorts like these:
But that’s not the only way to start your own yogurt! I used a good quality, plain, organic yogurt from the store as my original culture! As I have said it has served me well for almost 5 years.
You will also need these supplies: (click to see)
Here are the steps for making raw cow’s milk yogurt from store bought yogurt OR from your own previous batch.
Determine how much milk you will be using and prepare clean jars and lids for the yogurt. I typically make between 2 and 4 quarts a week. Set your clean jars aside.
Pour the milk into a good quality stainless steel pot and warm it over medium heat while stirring it with the whisk often. Remove the milk from the heat when the temperature reads 110°F. The milk will only be truly raw up to 115°F so make sure you stop it from getting too hot.
While the milk is heating add 1 Tablespoon of yogurt (per pint) to the bottom of each jar. So if you are using quart jars you would add 2 Tablespoons.
Fit the first jar with a funnel and ladle in the warm milk. Repeat this process until all the jars are filled.
Whisk each jar well to distribute the yogurt culture.
Fit each jar with a tight fitting lid.
Place your yogurt in the oven with the light on. This keeps my yogurt at about 95°F. Let the yogurt ferment overnight or for about 8 hours.
Remove the yogurt from the oven. Tilt the jars to check that the yogurt has set up. It will pull away from the side of the jar in a mass if it has. Place the jars in the refrigerator and chill completely before eating. Of course you can eat it warm but the texture is better once chilled.
The texture of raw cow’s milk yogurt is considerably different from store bought yogurt. Raw cow’s milk yogurt has a soft, loose-set, jello like consistency. In my opinion it’s absolutely delightful.
Raw cow’s milk yogurt keeps for a loooooong time. I’ve never had one go “off” before I could get to it.
For a thicker yogurt try straining it through cheesecloth or making it into Labneh cheese (link coming soon). If you will be straining your yogurt remember to SAVE THAT WHEY! It is the key ingredient in my Probiotic Mayonnaise and can be used for soaking grains, making fermented beverages and fermenting vegetables!