Requiring no special tools or ingredients, this raw milk yogurt can be made right at home within less than 24 hours. It’s so easy, you’ll rarely buy yogurt from the store again.
If you’re at the point where you’re researching how to make yogurt at home, I’m assuming you either A) are trying to save money by learning to do things yourself or B) you know how extremely healthy and delicious homemade yogurt is. It’s not like the yogurt you buy at your local grocery store. Especially if you use raw milk.
Other than making your own Milk Kefir, making homemade raw milk yogurt is an excellent way to incorporate natural probiotics into your diet. And both are so easy to do. Seriously, it takes less than 24 hours and despite the internet hype for making yogurt in all of the fancy yogurt machines and instant pots, you don’t have to have either to make a good quality raw milk yogurt at home.
How to Make Thick Raw Milk Yogurt
To make your own raw milk yogurt at home, all you need are the following tools & Ingredients.
- 1 Quart of Raw Milk – If you use pasteurized, the heating process is a little different. The milk will need to be heated to boiling.
- 1 Teaspoon of Heirloom Yogurt Culture or 3 Tablespoons of Yogurt with Active Cultures – Either will work. Just make sure your culture is an heirloom culture and not a direct set culture. An heirloom culture will keep producing yogurt batch after bath whereas a direct set culture will once make yogurt once.
- 1 Quart Glass Mason Jar or 2 Pint Mason Jars – Don’t use stainless or plastic. Glass is always the best choice for any type of ferment
- A Large Bath Towel – Mainly to help hold the heat in during incubation.
- Crockpot – This is not necessary. There are other ways to successfully incubate your yogurt that I will share later in this post.
- Heavy Bottom Pot – Choose heavy bottom to prevent burning
- Dairy Thermometer (You can grab these for around $10 on Amazon. They’re worth having if you plan on making any milk products at home)
Heat The Milk
Most of the time it takes to make yogurt is primarily spent waiting for the yogurt to ferment and ‘set up’. The actual prep work only takes roughly 15 minutes max.
To start, place the milk into your heavy bottom pot and turn the heat up to medium. You want to heat the milk up until it reaches between 110 – 115 fahrenheit. Don’t let the temperature rise above this range. However, if you do, the yogurt will turn out just fine. It just won’t have as many of the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
Now that the milk has been heated, add in the teaspoon of yogurt culture or your existing 3 Tablespoons of yogurt. Which ever you chose, it should’t matter. They will heed the same results. Stir the culture or yogurt into the heated milk and then pour into your well sanitized jars.
What you will need to do from this point on is keep your yogurt at a consistent warm temperature for 8-12 hours until it sets up into yogurt.
If you are using a starter culture, it may take a little longer. My first batch using a starter culture took around 24 hours to set up. Read below for the ways you can incubate your yogurt, because there are many ways. I chose the water bath method with a slow cooker. Basically all I did was fill my slow cooker with 115 degree water and add the jars of yogurt in with the lids on. I then put the lid on the slow cooker and wrapped it in a towel, reheating and adding the water again halfway through the cycle.
How to Make Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker or Instant Pot
There are multiple ways you can do this. Here is a list of ideas
- An oven with the light on
- Sitting on a warm sunny window sill
- In a water bath in a slow cooker
- By a wood burning stove or fireplace away from direct heat
- On a heating pad
What to do if my raw milk yogurt hasn’t set up?
If your yogurt hasn’t set up, it could be for several reasons. But the two most common are either your yogurt didn’t incubate at a consistently warm enough temperature or your culture wasn’t strong enough.
I have heard before that not heating up the milk to a high enough temperature can cause yogurt to not set up, but I don’t know if this is 100% always true. In this recipe, the milk was only heated up to 110 degrees and it still set up. However, it did take a little longer. If you know you heated your yogurt well and used a strong culture, I would let it sit a bit longer at a warm temperature.
How to thicken raw milk yogurt
Raw milk yogurt is well known for being runny. Which is kind of a bummer. If you wanted runny yogurt, you could have just made milk kefir instead, in my opinion. Most people like their yogurt thick and creamy. To do this, all you have to do it strain it. And yes, I know this is technically Greek yogurt but not really because I didn’t do as much straining to the yogurt as you would with a greek yogurt.
With my yogurt, I did a very brief strain using cheesecloth and a bowl. I did not let it strain for hours. Just a few minutes to get a decent amount of liquid off. After I strained the yogurt, I transferred what was left in the cheesecloth to a clean mason jar, stirred it together and stuck it in the fridge. Yogurt thickens a bit when cold, so this also helped with the texture.
Tips for Making Raw Milk Yogurt
- Always remember to save at least a quarter of a cup of yogurt for your next batch of homemade yogurt
- For a more tart yogurt, ferment for a longer time.
- For a less tart and more sweet yogurt, ferment for a shorter time.
- Save any left over whey after straining for homemade cheese
- Store the yogurt in the fridge for up to several weeks
- Double the recipe to get half a gallon of yogurt
- 1 Quart of Raw Milk
- 1 Tsp of Heirloom Yogurt Culture (or 1/4 cup of previously made yogurt)
- Boil the raw milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- Add and stir the starter culture into the milk
- Allow the yogur to incubate in a warm place for 6-12 hours
- When yogurt has thickened and is done incubating, briefly strain the excess liquid using a cheescloth or tea towel
- Remove the yogrt fromt the cloth into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge
Double the recipe for half a gallon of yogurt
A quality store bought yogurt with active cultures can be used in place of a culture
Always use clean utensils and jars