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Health, Home, and Happiness: Making Yogurt- Cooler method

Monday, June 29, 2009

Making Yogurt- Cooler method

I wanted to do lactofermented pickles, so first I needed to get whey. Whey is the byproduct of making cream cheese from yogurt. So making yogurt is the first step. Whole milk and yogurt from the health food store. Both are from the bottom about-to-expire shelf on the dairy section. It's illegal in Montana to sell raw milk, and we don't 'own our own cow' through a milk share program any more because we're mostly dairy free and just couldn't use it any more. Non0homogenized is the best I can do.

Rather than re-writing what I've learned in Nourishing Traditions and The Maker's Diet, I'll just go ahead and direct you to Kelly's post on the subject if you're not familliar with why raw real whole milk is the best. I'm just here to show you pictures of how to make yogurt.
You only need a dab of yogurt to culture the entire half gallon of milk into yogurt. I spread most of it into ice cube trays to freeze for next time and left about 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the container for this batch. This is french vanilla organic yogurt with live cultures. I've used cheap plain Walmart yogurt before, and it works just fine. The main thing is you need the live cultures.


Heat the milk in a heavy pot. I heat it over medium low until it's just barely too hot to touch.
Then allow it to cool until it's comfortable to touch. Any warmer than this and you might kill the cultures.

Next mix in either 2 cubes of yogurt (thawed, not in the microwave!) or the dab that's left in the bottom of your yogurt container. Mix it in with a fork or whisk to get it all spread through the warm milk.

Pour the yogurt mixture in something that has a lid to incubate it in. I use mason jars usually, this time a mason jar and the plastic yogurt container that I already had out. Plastic most likely isn't ideal...

Put the filled containers in a cooler and add warm/hot water to the bottom. You want them to stay warm. I go ahead and add water to about an inch below the lid of the lowest container (don't want water in my yogurt). I usually do this in a big cooler, but since I was only doing half a gallon today and I was too lazy to go out to the garage, I used hubby's lunch water cooler.

Close the lid as much as possible. I also draped a towel over the whole thing. I did the yogurt mixing part during nap time, then changed the water out for hot water again before going to bed. You want it to stay warm so the yogurt cultures.
And in the morning we have yogurt. You can refrigerate it, or do what I did and turn it into whey and cream cheese.

Updated: Cream Cheese and Whey pics here

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9 Comments:

Blogger Kim @ the Nourishing Cook said...

Hi Cara... how long do you let the yogurt sit total? It is 11am and I just put mine in the hot cooler, do you think I should leave it overnight (after changing the water later)... thanks much!

February 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

Hi Kim,
I'd leave it over night. Unless you're a night owl; 12-24 hours is most likely good. It's not really a 'science' - most of my cooking isn't :)

February 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Kim @ the Nourishing Cook said...

thank you!! my first time making yogurt, we'll see how it goes! I appreciate your quick response...

February 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

No problema! ~ It's naptime so you caught me on here anyway :)

February 26, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

Does this method work for making the GAPS 24 hour yogurt? Do you get extra whey the longer you let it culture? I usually make 8 hour yogurt in the crockpot (works AWESOME!) but I know I need to let it culture for 24 hours for GAPS, so trying to figure out a new (but hopefully simple) method. Thanks!

March 6, 2010 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

I have done the 24 hour yogurt in the cooler (twice) but I'm not sure about it. My daughter doesn't react to it (she does react to illegals pretty strongly) but I guess I just get a little nervous knowing the temp isn't perfect for the full 24 hours. I've considered a yogurt maker, but don't want to invest the $/storage space at the moment.

So yes, this is what I do, but I'm not sure it's ideal ;)

March 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I just remembered that I have an electric heating pad- maybe I'll try putting that in the cooler and seeing what temp it stays at- I'll post back :o)

March 7, 2010 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I can't seem to get it all in one comment ;)

Whey- I do get quite a bit of whey. But not as much with the goat yogurt. Not sure if it's more, I haven't done less than 24 hour yogurt in a while.

March 7, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
it's a shame that it's illegal to sell raw milk in your county. I get lots of whey as a byproduct from making cottage(curd, we say "tvaroh")

I let the raw milk to ferment naturaly and when it is sour, heat up slowly and when the milk clabber rinse it. You get small amount of tvaroh and lots of whey.

April 20, 2010 at 3:45 PM  

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