Have you been trying to figure out how in the world to make decent yogurt from your own raw cow milk? Join the crowd or at least join me. Wow, how many batches did I flub up trying to make one decent batch. I could not get it to set up or it was still liquid after 12 hours either way I was losing the battle to make decent yogurt. I tried a few different formulas but finally turned back to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions and sure enough I had tried her recipe for yogurt but I read a little farther down and what do you know? Yep separate directions for raw milk, oops guess I wasn't quite thorough enough.
So I gave her recipe a whirl and WOW perfect yogurt right out of the gate. Instead of using a big flat pan to incubate the cultures I used the tried and true cooler method (see below) which is so hands off my kids didn't even bother messing with it. I kind of love the cooler method. I can heat 2 quarts of milk at a time in my French oven so I made a entire gallon of yogurt in a little under 30 minutes of 'work'. And by work I mean heating and cooling milk, whisking in yogurt and setting up a cooler for incubation. 12 hours after ALL that 'work' I had delicious creamy yogurt.
Raw Milk Yogurt
tools you'll need:
couple of towels
heavy bottom pan big enough to hold 2 quarts of milk/alternately a double boiler
2 scrupulously clean quart jars, lids and bands
2 quarts of raw milk
half a cup of GOOD plain no sugar added yogurt
put the heating pad in the cooler put the lid on and turn it on medium, cover it with a towel
warm the milk in the heavy bottom pan ( I used a Le Creuset French oven) or double boiler
heat to 110 degrees, use the thermometer to check it
once it hits 110 degrees remove it from the heat
put 2 TBSP of warm milk in each quart jar and 1 TBSP of yogurt
add the rest of the milk, dividing between the two jars
to each jar add 3 more TBSP of yogurt stir well again
put on the lids and bands
turn down the heating pad to low
pop the jars in the cooler, perhaps adding another towel to keep them from getting tipped over if your kids, cats or dogs are clumsy
let them incubate in the cooler for 8-12 hours then put in the fridge to cool down
Remember the yogurt you use for your starting culture has an influence on your finished product. I used a nice mild Nancy's Yogurt and it produced an even milder Laura's Yogurt. Use Greek Yogurt if you like the flavor but keep in mind you'll have to drain it to get it as thick as some store bought yogurts. To strain it line a colander or strainer with a couple of paper coffee filters or several layers of cheesecloth, add the yogurt and set it over a bowl to drain for a few hours. The resulting whey can be used to soak grains or put in with shredded cabbage as part of your starter culture or fed to animals or you can even drink it.