Yogurt: Keeping it Raw!

One of my dearest friends came for a visit this week. I am so thankful for that as my boys have all been off to scout camp and I have been left a lone mom of two indoor mess makers (although cute as can be) and too many outside mess makers to count. Plus a garden to tend, endless dishes and laundry and a bit of researching and blogging. But the activity that has put me over the edge is the milking. Every 12 hours, really? Then what do we do with all that milk? Well, this dear friend also brought a fun toy. She found it at a garage sale for a buck and I have appliance envy.

Isn't it cute? I have always scoffed at the idea of buying a yogurt maker because I have mason jars and an oven and a crock pot and a thermos. So, I have yogurt tools. But I also have failed yogurt..a lot.
Like this:

And this:

Raw milk yogurt is particularly tricky. It tends to be runny because the live cultures in the raw milk don't play nice with the live active cultures in the yogurt. But there is a way to get yogurt that is thick and creamy like the store. One that does not involve hanging it from your cupboards like this:

Although you can. But too many steps means less likelihood of me ever doing I again. One tip is incubating at a constant temperature, the other is gelatin. Preferably the grass fed kind. And after this week, I am convinced a yogurt maker can't hurt.  I am hooked. I gotta get me one of these. I don't know if it is true of all yogurt makers, but this one kept the temp under 100 for the whole 12 hours, thus preserving the rawness of the milk. I appreciated that.

Yogurt is readily available in stores. There are hundreds of varieties. So why bother with home made?

  • No artificial colors.
  • No artificial sweeteners or overabundance of sugar.
  • It is near impossible to find a yogurt that is not low fat...and we do not do low fat. My hair, nails and skin love me for that!
  • Raw, Raw, Raw for Raw. My gut bacteria love me for that.
  • And because I have milk coming out my ears...well in actuality it is coming out of the goats which is as it should be.
So, let's begin. You will need:

1 quart raw milk (I used goat's milk...surprisingly delightful!)
3T yogurt with live cultures
2 1/2 t grassfed beef gelatin
5 tsp of sweetener
1 drop of orange, lime, or lemon essential oil

Heat milk to 100 degrees. If you go above that, the temp will rise in a hurry and you will get pasteurized milk.

Pull off stove and mix a little milk with the gelatin until it is dissolved. Then add the live cultures. Pour this mix back into the pot and whisk until combined. Then add equal amounts to each cup if using a yogurt maker.

I have also had success putting it in a thermos. But it only turns out 50% of the time when I do that.
Plug it in and leave it alone for 10-12 hours.

Now for the flavoring. I do not do plain yogurt. It makes my tongue throw up. But one of the main reasons for making my own yogurt is to cut back on the sugar. I like fruit in my yogurt but the kids just don't. We have purchased many a four pack of great value vanilla, lemon, lime, and orange yogurts because they are free from chunks. "Nackies " as my niece used to call them. They like them smooth. Oh, I will give them smooth. And will definitely give them thick.

Open up each jar. It will be a bit runny, but firms up in the fridge. Add the oils you would like. Don't have any? You should, every kitchen needs these oils! You can purchase all three here. I added 1 tsp of evaporated cane sugar and one drop of essential oil to each cup. Then refrigerate until firm. If making vanilla, about 1/4 tsp per cup was nice for me. Play around with the sweetener and flavor until it makes your taste buds happy. I actually could have used a bit more sugar, but my six year old said, "I love it!"  So at least it passed that test.

So, question for you? Do you have a yogurt maker that you can control the temperature on in order that you might be certain to keep that yogurt raw? If so, where can I purchase? Preferably for a buck!

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  1. I love it! I hope you find a yogurt maker. I will keep looking and hope to try out my own yogurt next week. It was really good!

  2. I currently make my own yogurt just because it doesn't contain "junk". If you ever look at the store bought stuff it can be frightening! The last kind my mom bought actually advertised it was "gelatine free" (uh..is that really what passes as an advertising claim these days?! ) and instead - rice and cornstarch were listed among the top ingredients (what the heck is that doing in yogurt ... well, thickening it, obviously...)

    My yogurt maker came from my mom and it's older than me (27+). But I did see some at the organic grocery I go to...not sure the cost though! Good luck on your search!

  3. I don't have a yogurt maker because I imagined they would turn out like your two failed pics. Now I am rethinking that after reading this post. Your friend was soooo lucky to find that one for a buck! Why can't I ever find deals like that?

    Well, I want to hear more...when you get your yogurt maker.

  4. Found my yogurt maker either at Goodwill or a yard sale. I want to try coconut yogurt...no access to raw milk right now.

    1. I would like to try coconut milk yogurt too. When I find my bargain, I will do that!

  5. Delicious and yummy looking! Mmm makes me want to have

    one.. When you get the chance, please share your recipes at

    Pin It Monday Hop. We'd be so happy to have you. LINK here. See you at the hop.

    Pursuit Of Functional Home.

  6. I posted about making my own yogurt last week. There is a link to the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker that I use there. I am making yogurt today and will come back and post the temperature it is holding the yogurt at. I haven't failed yet, and the only "thickeners" I use are heat (I heat mine to 180 F) and powdered milk. I saw your post yesterday, and I kept thinking about you.

    1. Yes, please let me know how warm it gets. Would love to hear from you.

  7. I love how easy you make this look. A must try for me. Roechelle @ http://www.hugatreewithme.com

  8. Ok, sorry I couldn't get back to you last night. The temperature held steady in the 90's. The manufacturer says the setting is for 110 degrees, though. I am now wondering if my unit is defective? Or maybe the many power surges we have had affected it. Either way, my yogurt comes out great-but I am making greek yogurt, and using regular milk. From what I have read, you should use a mesophilic culture which prefers a temps in the 70's...then you don't need a maker. I bought the maker so I would feel more comfortable and also because it is pretty cold where I live most of the year. I could have bought another crock pot (I use mine too often to have it used for yogurt twice a week), but the yogurt maker gives me a little peace of mind I guess.

  9. Oh, I meant to add that I use organic agave syrup to sweeten my yogurt--just a bit for me, then my husband and kids like preserves on the bottom. I ran out of the homemade stuff. I really need to go strawberry picking, but it has been pouring rain for days! I use 2% milk. Sometimes I use whole-that is a real treat. By the time I strain the yogurt, and whip it with the hand mixer, it is like eating a creamy custard. I save some back for the next batch, and for cooking, dips, etc. I make veggie dip with my greek yogurt.

  10. I had to laugh - I make my own yogurt - from raw milk - in mason jars - in a thermos.
    Now you have me thinking about yogurt makers! Only thing is, I make mine a gallon at a time.
    Your flavors sound delicious! I'll be whipping up a batch this weekend - thanks for the inspiration.

  11. I used to use a cooler and jars of HOT water to incubate the yogurt, Now I use my dehydrator that is a steady 110degrees. Still can't get raw yogurt thick. Actually, I can barely get not raw milk yogurt thick :( We just drink it.

  12. There was a segment on Steven and Chris one day that I saw, and the woman was saying to incubate the yogurt in the oven with just the light on for a minimum of 4 hours...

    Here's the link.. http://www.cbc.ca/stevenandchris/2013/03/make-your-own-yogurt.html

    1. Thanks Kristen, I will try that method next. That is actually one I have not done.

  13. I love making yogurt but haven't used raw milk, will have to try thanks for sharing

  14. Congratulations! Your blog post is going to be featured tomorrow in the Living Green Link up #47 at http://essentialtraditions.com

    Thank you for participating in the Living Green Link up #46 last week and I hope you will join us again tomorrow and help us spread the word!

  15. Great post on making yogurt! I've been making yogurt for the last year and I use a cooler filled with hot tap water. I place my jars in the cooler and add tap water almost to the top and put the top of the cooler on. 8-10 hours later I have beautiful yogurt! Thanks so much for sharing on The Home Acre Hop, can't wait to see what you share this week! On The Home Front

  16. I am such a picture person so I appreciate the step by steps! Love it! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    Hope you enjoyed the last two week's of giveaways!

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  17. My mom had a yogurt maker like that! We loved it! I am all for raw, natural....and LIVE CULTURES!!! Thanks for linking this wonderful up with me at A Little R & R Wednesdays. I hope you'll be back by to link up again.

  18. Haha! I like plain yogurt, but it is a bit of an acquired taste. When it comes to plain, the thicker the better.

    Thanks for linking up to Wellness Wednesday again. :)

  19. Mmm homemade yogurt! I stopped making it for a few months and have recently started again. Oh, how we've missed it! Here's a link to my recipe and a few lessons I've learned about making yogurt: http://aimedattheheart.com/2012/06/01/yogurt/

    1. Thanks for sharing. I will try culturing for a shorter period next time. My last batch was sooo tart It required too much sugar. I have been culturing in the oven overnight in pint size mason jars. Works great!