Making Homemade Artisan Yogurt

by Wendy

Reclaiming the homestead kitchen is one of the first steps to independence and a more sustainable lifestyle.  It is absolutely liberating to create holistic creative food choices for yourself and your family. Reclaiming the kitchen does not require acreage or barns, at least not technically, can be done in the city, in an apartment, in an off grid cabin, really anywhere you may reside, with only basic knowledge in the art of traditional cooking.  Creating small batch artisanal foods for your family not only brings health and wellness, but also joy.

Culturing dairy was a daily norm when most homes had a family milk cow or goat.  All homesteads/farmsteads practiced these skills when faced with long term dairy storage options and primitive to non-existent refrigeration.  Creating Crème Fraiche, cultured sour cream, yogurt, and butter, are just a few very simple examples of caring for your homestead dairy.  See my post here on making Crème Fraiche.  Culturing dairy at home now can seem scary, but is in all reality an absolute luxury and joy.

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  The taste of home cultured dairy greatly surpasses what we can buy in the store.  Does this mean that you need a milk cow, or a homestead goat to indulge in your own artfully created cultured dairy products?  Absolutely not.  And here is why.

You can create your own artisan cultured dairy in your homestead kitchen, wherever you reside, with what you have on hand.  That may be fresh milk from your own cow or goat, or it may mean store-bought.  The thing about being a homesteader at heart is you learn to make-do with what you have.  So if your beautiful jersey heifer is yet a dream, do not wait to learn to culture your dairy!  You will be so glad you did when the dream finally becomes reality and you have gallons and gallons of milk to put up.

Now, I know that regular old store bought milk is not the most holistic option, as I am a proponent of drinking raw milk.  I will share our raw milk story in a future post. We do use and prefer raw milk when it is available, but it is not always a reality on our homestead.

Selling raw milk in MN for retail is illegal.  Minnesota Statutes 32.393 states, ” No milk, fluid milk products…shall be advertised, offered or exposed for sale…for the purpose of human consumption in fluid form in this state unless the same has been pasteurized and cooled…this section will not apply to milk…occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the farm where the milk is produced.”  Source:  Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 

This translates to not easy to get…plus when you do own dairy critters on your homestead there is still a dry season.  With that said, I am a mama who needs to work on a budget, and being creative helps me to feed my family as holistically as possible in each season, working with what I have.

But the fantastic fact is…. YOU CAN MAKE CULTURED DAIRY FROM PLAIN JANE STORE BOUGHT MILK OR CREAM!

Imagine my epiphany!  I was thrilled when I made crème fraiche with discounted cream, and now my homemade yogurt is once again a daily staple, even when we are in a dry season of dairy on our homestead.   I was elated to discover this, and also to share with you.  As  homesteaders we can create beautiful handmade artisan yogurt without dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, thickeners, and fillers.  All with just three easy steps:

  1. HEAT
  2. STIR
  3. KEEP WARM

That’s all there is to it! ….if David Lebovitz can make homemade artisan yogurt in his Paris apartment with store-bought milk, surely I can make it in my homestead kitchen!  See the post here.

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Homemade Artisan Yogurt

Yields 1 quart

You need no fancy equipment to make yogurt at home.  All you need are some basic supplies, pint jars, lids, rings, a stockpot, a thermometer and a warm place to incubate your yogurt.  Oh, and a little bit of purchased yogurt with live and active cultures!  The process is simple.

1 quart of whole milk

1/4 c.  plain yogurt with live and active cultures I make a gallon at a time (4qts) on our homestead, but you can make any amount that works for your family, just use a bigger stockpot!

  • Begin by heating your milk in stockpot to 180 degrees, or just before the boil when it starts to steam.  (Some people bring their milk to the boil, but I do not).
  • Cool milk to 115 degrees.  You can just remove from heat and wait, it takes about an hour, or you can place your stockpot in a cold water bath to make the cooling process quicker.  A cold water bath takes about ten min. to cool it to 115 degrees.
  • At 115 degrees you can stir in your purchased yogurt.  Stir briskly until all yogurt is blended together.  I use a whisk, but I do not whip it, just stir it like you mean it so there are no lumps.
  • Place milk mixture in clean, sterilized pint jars. (You can do a quick sterilize to clean jars, just by adding boiling water to your jar, let stand for a few min, pour out the water and add warmed milk & yogurt mixture).
  •  Cap with lids and rings.  Place jars into a large roaster with a lid to cover.  Fill roaster with very warm tap water, around 100 degrees.
  • Place lid on roaster and put into your oven to try to keep the warmth inside the roaster.  I also cover the roaster with two bath towels for extra insulation.
  • Leave the light on in your oven.  This will keep the oven temp about 100 degrees, perfect for incubating your homemade yogurt.
  • Let incubate for 10-12 hrs.

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I love to prepare my yogurt in the evening while I am cleaning up the kitchen from supper.  I can get it ready while I am doing dishes and already working in the kitchen.  It is very simple, and very rewarding.  This way the yogurt incubates overnight and is fresh for breakfast.  There is nothing more wonderful for breakfast than warm, slightly tangy yogurt drizzled with honey and sprinkled with homemade granola to wake up to over coffee.

*A quick note:  When using raw milk to make yogurt, you may choose to heat milk only to 115 degrees to maintain the nutritional properties of your raw milk!

 

Shared with our neighbors at The Barn Hop

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com