How to Make Raw Milk Yogurt

 

When using raw milk to make yogurt, there are several factors to consider. How will the bacteria content of the raw milk affect the yogurt culture? What is the consistency of raw milk yogurt? What are the potential risks?

Following the discussion of these special considerations are detailed instructions for each of the three methods for making raw milk yogurt.

Jump to: Methods for Making Raw Milk Yogurt


Special Considerations when Making Raw Milk Yogurt

Making yogurt with raw milk differs from using pasteurized milk and several factors should be considered.

Bacteria Content. We recommend using only fresh milk to make yogurt. Raw milk comes with its own set of beneficial bacteria. If your milk is a few days old or wasn't chilled quickly enough, that bacterial count can be high. This means that the culture you introduce could have some hefty competition, which can lead to yogurt with an “off” flavor or yogurt that does not culture properly.

Consistency. Raw milk generally makes yogurt that has a much thinner consistency than yogurt made with pasteurized milk. Pasteurization denatures the milk proteins, resulting in a thicker yogurt. While raw milk with a high fat content will yield thicker yogurt than raw milk with a lower fat content, overall raw milk yogurt will have a thinner consistency when compared to yogurt made with pasteurized milk.

There are several ways to thicken raw milk yogurt. The simplest option is to drain whey from the yogurt using butter muslin or a tight-weave cloth. Other options for thickening yogurt can be found here.

Raw milk is not homogenized; therefore, as the milk cultures and the yogurt sets, the cream will rise to the top. The top layer of the raw milk yogurt will be more yellow and of a much thicker consistency. This layer can be scooped off and eaten alone or mixed into the yogurt.

Risk. Although most people who consume raw milk do not feel that raw milk is inherently dangerous, there are risks to everything and people have become ill from raw milk. It is also possible to become ill from pasteurized milk. Talk to your farmer, research, and decide if these risks are worth it.

Perpetuation of the Culture. Some varieties of yogurt starter (direct-set) are meant to be used once, while others (heirloom) are meant to be perpetuated from batch-to-batch.

If using a perpetuating yogurt culture, it is necessary to first make a pasteurized mother culture to inoculate each batch of raw milk yogurt, to keep your yogurt starter healthy. 

Please note that yogurt made from a direct-set starter and raw milk may not re-culture well.


Methods for Making Raw Milk Yogurt

Option #1: Direct-set Thermophilic Yogurt Starter

Direct-set yogurt cultures are one-time-use cultures. Either one of the following can be used as your starter culture:

  • A packet of freeze-dried powder that is stored in the freezer and used to inoculate each batch OR
  • A small amount of yogurt from the store. If using store-bought yogurt as starter, be sure to use an unflavored variety that is labeled "contains live active cultures."  
 
Thermophilic direct-set starter cultures are known for making thicker consistency yogurt compared to perpetuating varieties of yogurt starters. 

Instructions. 

  1. Heat the raw milk to 110°F. Food heated to 110°F is generally still considered raw. 
  2. If using a freeze-dried yogurt culture, add 1 packet of culture to 1-2 quarts of milk. 
  3. If using store-bought yogurt, add 1 tablespoon of yogurt per cup of raw milk.
  4. Stir gently until starter is fully incorporated. 
  5. Incubate the mixture at 105°-110°F for approximately 7-8 hours until set. 
  6. Place a tight lid on the container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

 

Advantages. Easy to use, packets store in the freezer until you are ready to make yogurt; the culture does not require regular care or maintenance; easy to take breaks from making yogurt using this type of culture; generally makes thicker consistency yogurt when compared to perpetuating cultures.

Disadvantages. Direct-set cultures are single-use cultures (generally not able to be perpetuated or with very limited perpetuation lifespan); if using a freeze-dried starter culture each box contains 6 to 8 doses; if using store-bought yogurt, you will need to buy a new container of yogurt on a regular basis to use as a starter culture.

Available Varieties. We currently carry several varieties of direct-set thermophilic yogurt starters: Traditional Flavor, Mild Flavor, Kosher Traditional Flavor, and Kosher Mild Flavor

 
Option #2: Perpetuating Thermophilic Yogurt Starter

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACTIVATING A THERMOPHILIC REUSABLE CULTURE 

1.  Heat 1 quart milk to 160°F. 

2.  Cool to 110°F. 

3.  Pour cooled milk into a glass or plastic container. 

4. Add one packet yogurt starter; mix thoroughly.

5. Cover and incubate at 110°F in a yogurt maker or similar appliance, for 5-12 hours.

6. Check after 5 hours to see if it has set. If it has not set, leave up to 12 hours, checking every 30-60 minutes.

7. Once it has set, or at the end of 12 hours, cover and allow to cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

8. This is the pasteurized mother culture for culturing raw milk yogurt. It can also be eaten.

 ▪ Even if the activation batch does not set, it is still cultured and can be used to make further batches of yogurt.

Note: A new pasteurized-mother-culture must be made at least every 7 days to preserve the health of the yogurt bacteria and ensure it remains active and strong for culturing each batch of yogurt. Ratio: 1½-2 teaspoons pasteurized mother culture per cup of milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING THERMOPHILIC REUSABLE YOGURT

1. Heat 1 quart raw milk to 110°F. 

2. Pour milk into a glass or plastic container. 

3. Stir 2-3 tablespoons pasteurized mother culture into the milk and mix thoroughly.

4. Cover and incubate at 110°F in a yogurt maker or similar appliance, for 5-8 hours. 

5. Check frequently by tilting the jar gently. If yogurt moves away from the side of the jar in one mass, instead of running up the side, it is finished culturing.

6. Once it has set, cool for 2 hours, then cover with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

7. The cultured yogurt can now be eaten.

Advantages. If the pasteurized-mother-culture procedure is used, the yogurt culture can be perpetuated via the pasteurized mother culture from batch-to-batch; no need to continually purchase yogurt starter.

Disadvantages. Need to create and maintain a pasteurized mother culture to preserve the health of the yogurt culture when used with raw milk; generally makes yogurt with a thinner consistency than direct-set thermophilic cultures.

Available Varieties. We currently carry two varieties of perpetuating thermophilic yogurt starters: Greek Yogurt Starter and Bulgarian Yogurt Starter.

 
Option #3: Perpetuating Mesophilic Yogurt Starter

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ACTIVATING A MESOPHILIC REUSABLE YOGURT CULTURE:

  1.  Heat 1-2 cups raw milk to 160ºF.
  2.  Cool to 70º-77ºF.
  3. Add 1 packet yogurt starter; mix thoroughly. 
  4. Cover with a towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band, or put a lid on the container.
  5. Place in a warm spot, 70º-77ºF, to culture.
  6. Check after 12 hours to see if it has set. If it has not set, leave up to 48 hours, checking every few hours.
  7. Once it has set, or at the end of 48 hours, cover with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  8. This is the pasteurized mother culture for culturing raw milk yogurt. It can also be eaten.

 

 ▪ Even if the activation batch does not set, it is still cultured and can be used to make further batches of yogurt.

Note: A new pasteurized-mother-culture must be made at least every 7 days to preserve the health of the yogurt bacteria and ensure it remains active and strong for culturing each batch of yogurt. Ratio: 1 tablespoon pasteurized-mother-culture per cup of milk

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING MESOPHILIC REUSABLE YOGURT

1. Put 1 cup raw milk into a glass or plastic container.

2. Add 1 tablespoon pasteurized mother culture; mix thoroughly. To make larger batches, use 1 tablespoon pasteurized mother culture per cup of milk, making up to ½ gallon per container.

3. Cover with a towel or coffee filter, secured with a rubber band, or put a lid on the container. 

4. Place in a warm spot, 70º-77ºF, to culture for 12-18 hours. 

5. Check the yogurt every few hours by tilting the jar gently. If the yogurt moves away from the side of the jar in one mass, instead of running up the side, it is finished culturing.

6. Once it has set, cover with a tight lid and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

7. The cultured yogurt can now be eaten.


Advantages: Cultures at room temperature (70°-77°F) leaving the raw milk bacteria fully intact; if the pasteurized-mother-culture procedure is used, the yogurt culture can be perpetuated from batch-to-batch via the pasteurized mother culture; no need to continually purchase yogurt starter.

Disadvantages: Need to create and maintain a mother culture to preserve the health of the yogurt culture when used with raw milk; this type of yogurt culture makes the thinnest consistency yogurt.

Available Varieties.  We currently carry several varieties of perpetuating mesophilic yogurt starters: Viili, Filmjolk, Matsoni and Piima.



 

 

 

BLS

                                                
   
Raw Milk for Making Yogurt


In this article:

  • Considerations when Making Raw Milk Yogurt
  • Methods for Making Raw Milk Yogurt
  • Thermophilic Direct-set Cultures
  • Thermophilic Perpetuating Cultures
  • Mesophilic Cultures


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