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, piima 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.
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup yogurt starter
- Bring the milk to a simmer over medium-high heat. When it reaches 180 F, turn off the heat and allow the milk to cool to 110 F.
- Whisk the yogurt starter into the warm milk, and pour it into a quart-sized jar. Set the milk into a yogurt maker, and allow it to culture at least 6 and up to 12 hours. The longer it cultures, the sourer it will taste.
- Transfer the yogurt to the fridge and use within a month.