Then I started reading more about the benefits of raw milk. Even though I balked at the high price tag ($10 for a gallon!*), I firmly believe that fresh food is the healthiest food. I also became leery of the powdered milk that Nancy’s uses to thicken its yogurt. The GAPS diet mandates homemade, raw milk yogurt for this reason.
I contemplated buying a fancy yogurt maker, but decided I had enough ingenuity to figure something out using only some towels and a heating pad. If you prefer a nice looking appliance to a pile of towels with a cord sticking out on your counter, I do recommend the yogurt maker.
A note on starter culture: you can either buy starter culture and follow their usage instructions or use a tablespoon of plain live culture yogurt (Nancy’s works well) per half gallon. I just use Nancy’s that I buy at my local grocery store.
Quart or half gallon mason jars
1 T plain, live culture yogurt per half gallon
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium to between 105 & 115 degrees F. This usually takes around 10 minutes for 1/2 gallon of milk.
- While the milk is heating, find two large, clean bath towels, a hand towel, and a heating pad.
- Lay one bath towel on the counter (or some place it can sit undisturbed for 24 hours) and set your jars on it. Plug in your heating pad and set to “Medium”.
- When the milk is ready, pour a ladle full of milk into a small bowl and add your starter yogurt. Whisk well. This is called “inoculation.”
- Pour the heated milk into your mason jars. Distribute the inoculated milk evenly to each of your jars.
- Wrap the jars loosely in the hand towel, wrap the heating pad around that, and bring the ends of the bath towel up and over all of that.
- Take the second bath towel and wrap it around and over the top of all of that.
- Let this whole thing sit UNDISTURBED for 24 hours. (I’m serious. Don’t touch it.)
- butter muslin and a fine mesh colander. I prefer draining because then you’ve kept your raw milk truly raw. Raw milk yogurt is very thin; it has an enzyme that prevents the yogurt from thickening too much. You have a choice if you want thicker yogurt: you can either heat the milk to 165 degrees in step 1 and then let it cool to 105-115 degrees or you can drain it using coffee filters or
*I now obtain milk for a much better price through a small, local farm.