Homemade yogurt is a staple in our home. Easy to prepare, inexpensive, delicious and nourishing, we manage to go through about a half-gallon of fresh, homemade yogurt each week. A probiotic food, homemade yogurt contains live beneficial bacteria that help to colonize the gut with microbiota that are essential to the proper functioning of your immune system, digestion and the ability of your body to manufacture critical nutrients.
Homemade Yogurt: Rich in Beneficial Bacteria & Nutrients
In addition to a wealth of beneficial bacteria, homemade yogurt is also rich in other nutrients. The process of lactic acid fermentation allows beneficial bacteria to metabolize lactose – a sugar naturally present in milk. The end result of this process results in a dairy product that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in b vitamins including folic acid than regular whole milk. Furthermore, many people who find they’re intolerant or sensitive to lactose find that they can eat yogurt and other cultured dairy foods without much reaction. Theories behind this phenomenon vary. Reduced lactose content coupled with the solidity of the milk product may both contribute to increased digestibility of yogurt and other cultured dairy foods.
Thermophilic Homemade Yogurt & Mesophilic Homemade Yogurt
Homemade yogurt can be either thermophilic or mesophilic. That is, homemade yogurt is cultured either in a warm, heated environment (thermophilic) or a room temperature environment (mesophilic). The yogurts you’re accustomed to eating are usually thermophilic yogurts; however, room temperature yogurt presents an easy-to-prepare alternative with many variations in texture and flavor. For instance, piimÃ¤ is a homemade Scandinavian yogurt with a runny texture and almost cheesy flavor while viili, another homemade yogurt cultured at room temperature, is mildly sweet and gelatinous.
- 1 Quart Whole Milk (Raw preferred.)
- ¼ Cup Starter Culture of Your Choice
- If using pasteurized milk, scald milk briefly and then cool until it reaches blood temperature (about a ½ hour in the refrigerator).
- If using raw milk, bring milk to blood temperature slowly over a low flame. This step isn’t critical, mind you, but it is helpful.
- Mix in your yogurt starter with the milk. Take care to mix thoroughly, but smoothly. You want neither large glops of yogurt starter nor a fully whisked mixture as either can cause poor results in the finished version of your homemade yogurt.
- If using a mesophilic or room temperature yogurt, simply pour the mixture into a quart-sized jar, cap and leave on your counter for approximately 1 day or until the mixture cleanly breaks from the side of the jar when tilted.
- If using a thermophilic yogurt starter like a few spoonfuls of a plain, live culture yogurt purchased at the store, pour the yogurt starter – milk mixture into your yogurt maker or pre-warmed thermos and culture in this slightly heated environment for approximately 12 hours or longer for a tarter yogurt.
Learn More about Mesophilic & Thermophilic Yogurts