Over the years I have written and re-written several posts here at Neo-Homesteading. It’s not that I don’t take time to work on recipes before I post them, but with time our habits change, and although I still regularly make things such as homemade mayo, bone broth, milk kefir, or sourdough bread, with time and and more mouths to feed, I change how I do things. Sometimes because I have found an easier way to do it, and efficiency is key, sometimes because I have found that for nutritional benefit, doing something slightly different might be healthier.
Yoghurt had been a struggle of mine in the past but within the past three or so years I’ve mastered getting thick, creamy, 24 hour yogurt. Manufactured yogurt and even most yogurt from small farms and dairies is fermented for a much shorter period than “24 hour yogurt.” There are several benefits to a longer culturing time. First being the reduction of more lactose. By extending the incubation period, more milk sugar is consumed and the yogurt is more suitable for sensitive stomachs.(It is also lower in carbohydrates when prepared this way.) The second and possibly most important benefit is an increased quantity of probiotics. We all know that our overall well being can relate back to our guts. To maintain good gut guppies you need to have a balanced diet that includes a lot of great bacteria. The more (good) bacteria, the better. By investing the time in making homemade 24 hour yogurt, you are investing in your health and putting only the very best on your table. It’s more bang for your buck to eat yoghurt that has had more time to grow.
With a few very basic, high quality ingredients, and a heated blanket (more about that in a moment) I’ve learned to make the best, THICK, 24 hour yogurt. To get the yogurt supermarket thick and creamy, I’ve come to learn that heating the milk is a necessity, and also adding either gelatin or powdered milk, makes for a consistently thick product. A regular thickness yogurt can be prepared without the added milk powder or gelatin but in my home they like it thick enough that it doesn’t run off of a spoon. (For runnier applications like granola parfaits or smoothies, we just use KEFIR. It’s even healthier than the healthiest, 24 hour yogurt!) The heated blanket. Your wondering. Why a heated blanket? This helps with incubation. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks, and keeping the yogurt the perfect temperature (approximately body temperature) helps to insure a perfect batch every time. You can use a proof box, or of course a newer model of the Instant Pot that has an incubation setting, but I have neither of those things and a $15 heated blanket is something I happen to have on hand all times and its hottest setting keeps the yogurt just the right temperature.
Thick and Creamy, Homemade 24 Hour Yoghurt
For the absolute best quality dairy products for my family, I firmly believe in sourcing high quality grass-fed, organic , RAW milk. Now, for this recipe I cook the milk so sometimes if I’m in a pinch I don’t mind using organic milk from the store, but I currently buy milk in bulk so that I can save money. I make my own yogurt so I can save money and have healthier yogurt. About once a month I make a gallon of 24 hour yogurt at a time. In America most milk is from a less ideal variety of cows, I prefer milk from cows with a higher milk fat content. Jersey cows are ideal but you can also use this yoghurt recipe with fresh raw goats milk or sheeps milk. Goats milk is comparable to cows milk and in a variety of ways goat is better than cow, and cow is better than goat. They are really remarkably similar if you have goats milk on hand you can use both goats milk and powdered goats milk. When I pickup my bulk milk order, a half gallon goes straight to kefir, and a gallon goes straight into the “yogurt pot.” – You can absolutely make a smaller quantity but 4 quarts is about what I like to make at one time.
- 1 Gallon Of milk
- 1/2 to 1 Cup Yoghurt (store bought or from a previous batch)
- Over medium heat, simmer milk in a heavy pot, a porcelain coated dutch oven is ideal. It retains heat, and works perfect. Simmer the milk until it reaches at least 165 degrees.
- Whisky, whisk, whisk to prevent scorching. If you don’t babysit, you might get cheesy scorched bits that taste a bit like cheesecake… or … cooked milk. They really aren’t the worst thing ever, but they can be unappealing to fickle palates.
- Using a meat thermometer or candy thermometer, insure the milk has reached 165 degrees. Once it’s to temp, remove it from the heat. You can place the pot in an ice bath in the sink to speed cooling.
- Once the milk has dropped to about 110 degrees. Stir in your yoghurt.
- Cover the pot and wrap it up with your heated blanket. Set the blanket to high and leave the yoghurt to incubate for 24 hours. Make sure your blanket does not have an auto shut off!!!! If it does you will want to “reset” it before you go to bed.
- After 24 hours, jar your yogurt and refrigerate it until its eaten. It should last a while in the fridge, I’ve literally never had homemade yogurt mold or spoil.
NOTE: Over the years I’ve purchased several fairly expensive, unique starter cultures that were advertised as “room temperature” yoghurts. They didn’t work out as advertised. I just use “old yogurt” and I’ve never had a problem with this method and recipe. As long as you don’t kill the culture by adding it to milk that is too hot, it’s pretty consistently good results. Heat your milk. Incubate it thoroughly. You’ll have wicked awesome yogurt! I’ve seen folks have had good luck making raw yoghurt without scalding the milk, personally I’ve only had the raw methods come out liquidy.
FOR EXTRA THICK YOGHURT
+ Gelatin- Add approximately 1 teaspoon of gelatin per quart of raw milk. Set aside some milk from your desired quantity and bloom the gelatin in it. Stir the gelatin into the yoghurt while your simmering it and bringing it up to temp. Alternatively, if you are vegan or kosher, I believe you can use pectin. (I have not tried this though) I add gelatin to a lot of recipes, including my homemade mayo now because of the added health benefits and proteins. By adding gelatin your giving your yogurt a boost, but if you add too much, you will have a yogurt jello.
+ Powdered Milk- Milk powder is a highly processed product and it’s by no means a fantastic “whole food,” but when we’re talking about keeping a sustainable kitchen, for me I’ve found that I’d rather make great foods consistently than to gamble on something not turning out just right. I don’t use milk powder or gelatin every time. You can use one or the other , or both to suit your own tastes. I have found that heating the milk is more critical than adding milk powder or gelatin.
+ Simmer Longer – The final option for thicker yogurt is to to essentially reduce your milk quantity via simmering. By condensing the milk quantity down, you will get a thicker yogurt.