Consuming yogurt is extremely beneficial for you on your quest for healthy eating. Anything that you buy in the store is going to be pasteurized by law so it is best to learn how to make yogurt yourself. Plus it is very easy to do!
Yogurt can be made from raw goat or cow’s milk, if that is available to you, or from coconut milk, if you prefer to be vegetarian or vegan. I use a Yolife brand yogurt maker from Tribest which has seven small ½ cup jars with lids so that you can have one for each day of the week. I can show you how to make yogurt without any machine too.
This particular brand also has a large lid that you can use to make it in bigger containers if you so desire. All I do is take four cups of milk, poured into a measuring container, and add three heaping tablespoons of store-bought PLAIN yogurt, not sweetened and preferably goat’s milk yogurt.
Only use a non-metal utensil to stir it when learning how to make yogurt. I use a wire whisk covered in non-scratch material and just mix until the product from the store is distributed throughout. For some reason, metal does not work well with yogurt and causes it to not form properly at times.
I use a food grade plastic spoon that I purchased from a camping supply store whenever I eat it or spoon it out. It’s best to avoid fast food cutlery anyway just on general principles.
Get Live Active Cultures
Make sure that whatever brand you buy says, “Live active cultures”. It’s not enough for it to say “contains bacteria”. These are probiotics or helpful bacteria that help to beneficially populate our intestines and the more you have the merrier.
By the way, our gut constitutes 80% of our immune system. We want to have 85% good bacteria to 15% of the bad guys for a healthy system. I just use my milk raw when learning how to make yogurt, as heating it destroys these beneficial bacteria.
How To Make Yogurt
The first thing I do when showing someone how to make yogurt is I heat water in a pan to boiling on the stove, and then pour the water into a six-cup container to sterilize it. Then I pour that water into the seven jars I will be using in order to sterilize them. After that, set the containers in the bottom part of the Yolife maker.
When you pour the milk into the containers, only pour it to the top bend in the jar at first. Sometimes the product settles to the bottom of the mixing bowl so save the last bit and pour it into each of the jars at the end to fill them completely up. This insures that the yogurt culture is added fairly equally to each jar.
After filling the jars, DO NOT put the lids on them. Add the top cover just barely fitting onto the bottom and plug it in. Mark the time on the top dial and let it sit for eight to twelve hours (overnight works great).
Now you have learned how to make yogurt! The rest is just waiting for it to do its thing overnight or eight hours later. Once that happens, you do need to be a little bit careful with it.
There will be liquid condensation inside the cover since it is warm. Because you do not put the lids on, when you go to take the top off, that condensed water will slide off if you tilt the lid in removing it. That is the reason for not putting the cover on tightly at the beginning.
Finishing Up How to Make Yogurt
When the it's finished, take the lid off as carefully as you can to prevent water from falling into the yogurt. If it does, no harm is done; it just makes it more watery. If it has set up properly, it should be creamy and yummy just like the original.
Once you have the top cover off, put the lids on the jars and store them in the refrigerator unless you want to indulge in some warm yogurt over fruit right then and there. You should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors in learning how to make yogurt.
Since it is plain yogurt, you will want to add your natural sweetener of choice: Stevia, Luo Han Guo (find it on-line) or Xylitol. I prefer stevia or Lo Han.
You can add more or less “starter” at the beginning of learning how to make yogurt, to your taste. You may also purchase starter cultures alone from Hoegger Goat Supply online if you prefer (www.hoeggergoatsupply.com). That way you won’t have the problem of using pasteurized products.
However, their starter only has three different kinds of probiotics but Cascade Fresh brand yogurt at Whole Foods has eight separate ones. Since to be active, the bacteria have to be added after the milk is pasteurized, I guess it is a fair trade-off, if you can’t get anything else.
Be aware though, that the milk used to make it is homogenized, which is not good for you. (See Benefits of Raw Milk for more info on this.) However, it’s always a trade off if you can’t get raw milk during the winter time for learning how to make yogurt yourself. Raw cow's milk is available year round.
Natural Foods Warehouse sells goat’s milk yogurt (along with Whole Foods) so you can keep the kind of milk the same. This is ideal but the goat’s milk product is somewhat pricey. I think it is well worth it, though.
Use It For Five “Generations”
You can also use your last jar of homemade yogurt to start your new batch the next time. This can be done for up to five “generations” of it. The first batch you make is the "first" generation so it actually means four more times after that. There is a kind of natural bacteria in milk that keeps it fresh.
Cultured or fermented foods are extremely beneficial for optimum health. Again, see "Benefits of Raw Milk" for further info.
Fruit can be added as desired and I use it in my Healthy Smoothie Recipe. I always add the sweetener in as I am going to consume it, not right after making it.
I also use it on my homemade Sweet Breakfast Granola, which I eat as a dessert or snack sometimes. I occasionally add fresh fruit in season to that too. Be creative and try it on lots of things!
Alternative Method of How to Make Yogurt
Another way to learn how to make yogurt without having to purchase a machine is to use a six-pack cooler (like what I carry my lunch in) and put it into two quart jars. Heat the milk until a clean knuckle inserted into it feels neutral, neither hot nor cold. Then put about a tablespoon of starter (plain, not sweetened) into each quart jar, using a non-metal spoon, and pour the warm milk into them. Do not stir it.
Set the jars (uncovered) into the cooler and pour fairly hot water (the kind you would use for hand-washing dishes) into it around the jars to within one inch of the top. Close the lid of the cooler and set it where it won’t be moved or bothered.
Leave it for at least eight hours (up to about 10-12) and then take the jars out of the cooler (discard the water). There may be some whey on top, or if using raw cow’s milk, maybe some cream. Stir either into it when you are going to consume it, again with a non-metal spoon, and add a sweetener of your choice.
Put lids on the jars and store them in the refrigerator. Don’t
stir the whole container, just stir what you take out. If desired, save a
little to use as your next starter batch, up to five generations as
mentioned above in the first directions.