I like trying new things, really I do, but when it comes to certain foods, I want them to taste familiar. For example, I don't like chili in my chocolate, and I like my yogurt firm and tangy but mellow. The latter posed a bit of a challenge when I started experimenting with homemade yogurt.
I wanted to make my yogurt from raw milk, but I wanted it to be thick and creamy like my favorite European or Greek full-fat varieties.
Raw yogurt is simply runny, and while this has its own appeal, yogurt “drink” was not my end goal. One option was taking the raw yogurt, allowing it to separate at room temperature, and draining out the whey for thicker consistency.
Though I don't mind having extra whey in my kitchen, this seemed like a bit of a waste of time and potential yogurt. Another possibility was making the yogurt from raw cream for thicker results. While yummy, a full batch of raw cream yogurt is prohibitively expensive to make on a regular basis. I tried adding a bit of gelatin to the raw yogurt process, and the results were… strange.
One homemade yogurt recipe suggested boiling (pasteurizing) the milk; another recommending adding dried non-fat milk powder for that store-bought consistency. But I really wanted the benefits of the raw milk, and I avoid non-fat milk powder like the plague due to its toxicity.
So then, what's a yogurt lover to do? I decided to make a hybrid – part boiled (for consistency), part raw (for enzyme and probiotic richness), and part cream (for creamy thickness). Batch and batch again, it comes out exactly how I want yogurt to taste – delicious, refreshing, and comforting.
My kids devour it, and my husband has declared it “Spectacular!” in between spoonfuls (he's British) – so I've decided it's time to share.
Why make your own homemade yogurt?
Sure, you can buy about fifty different kinds of yogurt at your grocery store for about the same cost as homemade. So why would a busy mom (or anyone for that matter) choose to bother? Luckily, making yogurt takes hardly any hands on time at all, so there's no excuse in that department. I also want to control what goes in my yogurt – no additives, fillers, or sugar – just milk and cream.
Finally, I want yogurt made from milk produced by cows raised on sunny pastures relatively local to my home. This not only reduces the carbon footprint, but also maximizes the nutritional value, since milk from grass-fed cows provides far more nutrients than factory raised cows, including the essential fat-soluble vitamins D, A, and K2. Unfortunately, most store bought varieties don't come close to these standards, so consider giving this a go…
How to make hybrid homemade yogurt
For this homemade yogurt recipe, I use a Euro Cuisine Yogurt maker that comes with 7 glass jars (each under a cup). But you can make this with any maker, be it a warm oven, slow cooker, dehydrator, or other designated yogurt maker. I've Googled the instructions and tried other methods, but the Euro Cuisine is affordable, easy, and provides consistent results. Here's what you do:
- 3 parts raw milk – Bring to a boil until the milk starts to climb the side of the saucepan and then remove from heat.
- 2 parts raw milk – Add to above milk when it has cooled to body temperature.
- 2 parts raw cream – Mix with yogurt starter (below) and stir into milk mixture.
- 1 part yogurt starter – This can be a jar from a previous batch (I mark the lid with “Do Not Eat this One!”) or organic store-bought yogurt with live cultures. When mixed fairly uniformly with the cream, stir into the milk mixture.
Pour the milk, cream and yogurt combo into the glass jars or whatever container you will be using to make your yogurt. Allow to set for about 10 hours uncovered in your maker of choice. Secure the jar lids, and then chill to eat.
Enjoyed plain or dressed up savory or sweet, this yogurt is simply spectacular, if I do say so myself.