Plain, raw yogurt is incredibly delicious,its uses go far beyond a substrate for granola. We bring yogurt onto the table with every meal, as if it’s the salt shaker.
Adorning sweet and savory dishes alike, high-quality whole-milk yogurt enhances just about anything. Pour it on pancakes or mixed-veggie stir-fries, dollop on soups, stews, and casseroles, or use it as a base for sauces, salad dressings, or marinades.
Sometimes I just pour some yogurt on the center of my plate and mix it in with whatever else happens to be there. For breakfast, try yogurt with applesauce and/or fresh or dried fruits and/or nuts. Yogurt mixed with applesauce is also a great snack-on-the-go. Or you can sprinkle cinnamon on this mixture and it’s good enough for dessert.
To make yogurt You will need:
A pot large enough to hold the milk
Glass quart jars with tight-fitting lids
How to prepare
Heat milk in pot to 110°F. While heating milk, put 1-2 tablespoons of starter yogurt into each quart jar. Pour heated milk into each jar, screw on lids tightly, and shake each jar.
Now it’s time for the cultures to do their work – the cultures that you added to the milk will digest the milk, turning it into yogurt. They are most active at a temperature between 100°F and 115°F. So the next step is to keep your milk at that temperature for 12-24 hours. (The longer you let it culture, the more sour it will be.)
There are many methods for accomplishing this. This is a method that we’ve had the most success with: Place the jars in a cooler.
Fill the cooler with 120°F water so that the jars are completely submerged. Close the cooler and wrap it with several layers of wool blankets or sweaters. The extra layers help maintain the temperature.
Remove after 12-24 hours and refrigerate.
There is a very mysterious element to making any cultured dairy product. Sometimes when making raw milk yogurt the texture comes out a little runny. We’ve run many experiments on this and have no definitive conclusion as to why this happens.
Our best guess is that maintaining a steady temperature above 100°F is the most important for getting a thick, creamy texture. Many yogurt recipes call for raising the milk to 180°F, then cooling to around 110°F before culturing.
This extra step helps ensure a thicker texture. However, bringing the milk to that temperature robs the benefits of raw milk, plus it imparts an unpleasant cooked taste.
The result is a less nutritious product with compromised taste, so we take our chances with the texture and never raise the temperature above 110°F.
Yogurt kept in the refrigerator will last a very long time. We’ve never had yogurt go bad; the longest we’ve kept it is 3 months. Your starter culture, however, should be under 1 month old.