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making yoghurt with raw milk  RSS feed

 
Leila Rich
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I was going to jump in on someone else's thread; but restrained myself...
I've been using raw milk for quite a while, but after many attemps at making unpasteurised yoghurt, I gave up and pasteurised because it was always really runny.
I know it's because the various bugs fight each other to a bit of a standstill,
but do people have techniques to create thicker yoghurt?
Putting it through cheesecloth isn't ideal: I would end up with a tiny amount of yoghurt and more whey than I could use.
It's crazy to kill my milk, but I like yoghurt that stays on a spoon!
 
Chris Fitt
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I have only made yogurt with raw milk.  I have been doing this for 3 months making on average 15 to 20 pints a week.  Most of this is for sale, and some customers are so happy to find raw yogurt.  I didn't know it was rare, it was just how I made it.  I work on a dairy and usually am able to use the warm milk from the milking.  I have done it with cold milk and have never heated it above 100-110F which is the temperature I make the yogurt at.  I use a store bought yogurt that has live Bulgarian cultures to make a starter and then use that yogurt out one generation.  It is thick enough to stand up on a spoon, although not as thick as some commercial yogurts.  It is at least as thick as the original yogurt I use as a starter.  I have never strained it. 

My method is to mix one pint of raw milk with 1 tablespoon of yogurt as starter.  Then pour the mixture into clean pint canning jars with lids.  These then go into an oven with the pilot light on.  I prop the door open to maintain a temperature between 90 and 110F, ideally at 100F.  This process takes anywhere from 8 to 12 hours.  So I usually do it overnight.  I then refrigerate.  The longest I've ever been able hold on to one has been three weeks.  There was no loss of quality at that point.  The yogurt I buy as a starter has an expiration date about a month out from when I buy them. 

I have read that if you add powdered milk that your yogurt will be thicker.  I have never tried this.  Obviously this may go against everything you are gaining by using raw milk in the first place.
 
tel jetson
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my suggestion is to get hold of a mesophilic culture.  I've done piimä, viili, and kefir with raw milk, and they all thicken up very nicely at a wide range of room temperatures.  those three are really easy and tasty.  much easier than the yogurt culturing I've seen folks make.  the strange consistency of viili is off-putting for a lot of people, but the taste is great.

haven't tried it myself, but madzoon might do you well, too.
 
Leila Rich
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Thanks misfit; well I can't see why mine's been such a pain, since I was doing pretty much what you are, on a smaller scale.
By "one generation", you mean the first batch made with commercial culture will make another, then you make the next with a fresh bought culture? I hope that makes sense!
It must be possible to maintain a culture for generations, like a sourdough, but I'd be happy with set yoghurt right now.
By the way, I'm not after super-thick-commercial-Greek-style or anything; I just don't want to pour it out of the jar!
tel, I've got some 'mesophilic homofermentation culture' in the freezer for cheesemaking.
Is that the sort of thing you're referring to? Would I need to add yoghurt as well?
 
Chris Fitt
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Leila wrote:
By "one generation", you mean the first batch made with commercial culture will make another, then you make the next with a fresh bought culture? I hope that makes sense!
It must be possible to maintain a culture for generations, like a sourdough, but I'd be happy with set yoghurt right now.


Yes that is what I mean by "one generation."  I buy a pint of commercial yogurt and make several pints of new starter culture with that.  As far as maintaining a culture for many generations, I've read that doesn't work with raw milk for some reason, because eventually the enzymes in the raw milk take over the culture or something.  I have done two generations no noticeable difference.  I guess I've just found something that works and I stick with it.  The yogurt I buy comes in a similar jar that I package my yogurt in and cost something like $2.70.  I buy it about once a month and make 60-80 pints.  So for the money, it is worth it for me not to mess up my system.  I soak the label off and use the jar so that brings down the cost a little more.

Of course because I've read that you can't make endless yogurt from one culture with raw milk, that makes me want to try it.
 
                                    
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Leila I leave my yogurt as long as 24 hours to get the setup I want.  No one has mentioned leaving it that long but it works for me.  And I have pectin I'm going to try to get that Greek style without draining the yogurt.  The pectin is called Pomona and their website lists its application for yogurt.
Tel can you describe what is offputting about the villi texture?
 
tel jetson
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Leila wrote:
tel, I've got some 'mesophilic homofermentation culture' in the freezer for cheesemaking.
Is that the sort of thing you're referring to? Would I need to add yoghurt as well?


that's similar to what I'm talking about.  'mesophilic' just means that something likes moderate temperatures.  in the context of dairy cultures, that just means it doesn't need to be heated to do the job.  the cultures I mentioned are all dairy cultures that are similar to yogurt, but with different organisms involved and so with different characteristics.  I have cultured all three that I mentioned for at least one year using raw milk and with no new culture.

for the piimä and viili, I just saved a spoonful of the previous batch to make the new batch.  for the kefir, I transferred what are sometimes called the 'grains' to the next batch.  I've since moved and don't have ready access to raw milk anymore, so I use pasteurized milk until the goats freshen.

piimä is sometimes described as similar to cultured buttermilk, but I find it much closer to yogurt, particularly if I let it run a little longer to let it thicken and sour up a bit.  viili is delicious and similar in taste to mild sour cream or creme freche, but with a consistency not dissimilar to snot.  kefir has a little bit more complex flavor than yogurt, but with some similar sour tastes.  most folks culture it to a mildly fizzy and liquid state.  I like mine thicker, so that's how I culture it.

you should be able to get cultures for all three, plus a few more, through the mail if you can't find them locally.
 
Len Ovens
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pattimair wrote:
Leila I leave my yogurt as long as 24 hours to get the setup I want.  No one has mentioned leaving it that long but it works for me. 


24 hours is recommended if you are trying to get as low sugar as possible (Like for the SCD diet). I have heard as long as 36 with no problem. At 24 hours it is pretty sour, I happen to enjoy it that way but others don't.... 5 hours is pretty standard... but I think it depends on the strength of the inoculation. My son is on the SCD but is hypersensitive to anti-biotics and any of the milk I can get have them so we couldn't give it to him anyway. (he gets a rash from factory eggs too)
 
Leila Rich
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I like sour yoghurt and I've got no unusual  dietary requirements. When my next batch of milk comes in, I'll give it another go
 
tel jetson
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pattimair wrote:
Tel can you describe what is offputting about the villi texture?


it's sort of stringy.  there's a joke that if you overfill a container just a little bit, all the viili will end up on the counter as the first drip drags the rest of it out.  folks who grew up with it don't mind this at all.  I didn't grow up with it, so it certainly took some getting used to.  really tasty, though.
 
Bob Carder
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If you look at the ingredients of store bought yoghurt you will see "milk solids". In other words they add milk powder to the mix to thicken it up. You can do the same thing to get yoghurt as thick as you want. To get real thick yoghurt add about a cup of powder for each litre of milk.

However, I personally just accept yoghurt as it is naturally - runny! If I want to eat straight yoghurt I'll drink it from a cup. I see no need for it to be like the solid gunk that they sell in the stores.

I make about 5 litres of raw goats milk yoghurt a week - the whole family love it 
 
Leila Rich
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Yoghurt update: I have just made a batch of thick, smooth, raw-milk yoghurt.
I think I  was  using too-hot water around it. Or something. Anyway, now I have to get it all working out that good.
When I'm confident it wasn't a miracle, I'm gonna try using the same 'bug' repeatedly and see what happens.
 
Chris Fitt
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I am happy for you.

Thick yogurt for everyone!!!

What "bug" are you using?
Please post updates for how many successful "generations" you get using the raw milk.
 
Leila Rich
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misfit, I just used plain yoghurt from the local Indian grocer: "milk and culture' was the ingredients list, which seemed basic enough for me!
I was thinking, if the yoghurt starts to go funny after a couple of generations, I could make a large batch and freeze starter-sized quantities. Seem sensible?
I know yoghurt 'wakes up' fine.
I'm only doing it on a really small scale, and I'd like to avoid buying in fresh culture.
 
Chris Fitt
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Leila wrote:
misfit, I just used plain yoghurt from the local Indian grocer: "milk and culture' was the ingredients list, which seemed basic enough for me!
I was thinking, if the yoghurt starts to go funny after a couple of generations, I could make a large batch and freeze starter-sized quantities. Seem sensible?
I know yoghurt 'wakes up' fine.
I'm only doing it on a really small scale, and I'd like to avoid buying in fresh culture.


I didn't know that about freezing, good tip.  It sounds sensible to me.
 
Alison Thomas
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Coming in late on this one and it looks as though your 'issue' has solved itself Leila but here's how I do mine FWIW...

For each 0.5 litre (1 pint) of milk I add 2 tablespoons of 'live' yoghurt after heating the milk.  (Right at the start this was 2 tbspns of shop-bought 'active' yoghurt but now it's just some scooped out of my own mix and I've been making it every 3 days for 3 months now - many generations).  I then heat the milk ever so slightly to get to 46C (115F), take it off the heat, add the yoghurt, put the lid on the pan.  Then I store it overnight wrapped in a blanket next to the hotwater tank.  In the morning - perfect and SO easy. 

I personally like very set yoghurt so I do strain it in a muslin for an hour or so in the 'fridge until I get the consistency I want. 

Yes that does give me some whey but that is adored by the chickens or pigs if it's soaked into some old stale bread.  sally fallon has a fair few recipes that use whey in 'Nourishing Traditions'. Here's a link almost specifically for how-to-use-up-whey http://fiascofarm.com/dairy/ricotta.html
 
Leila Rich
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Yay, I'm glad to hear it's possible to use the previous batch of yoghurt, hopefully indefinitely!
Looking at it superficially, it seems that yoghurt should act something like sourdough, getting 'stronger' and more complex with age.
If this batch is any indication, excess whey won't be a problem. I think it was a side-effect of losing nearly all the liquid due to bad yoghurt-making technique.
Or something.
 
Chris Fitt
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I am also glad to hear that.  I was/am only going by what I've read and was told.  Although I did ignore a fair amount of other advice.  Once I found I way that worked I was hesitant to change.  I may have to leave my comfort zone now.  Scary.
 
Alison Thomas
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Well fortunately on this one I wasn't 'told' anything so I had to go by what I thought and we're all still alive and not suffering from upset tummies.  Someone was explaining to me the other day why the added in yoghurt doesn't go off but it was in French so I didn't get all of it so I can't reply with hand on heart.  It just works.

I know what it's like when you have to leave a comfort zone though!
 
Chris Fitt
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Alison Freeth-Thomas "heninfrance" wrote:
  (Right at the start this was 2 tbspns of shop-bought 'active' yoghurt but now it's just some scooped out of my own mix and I've been making it every 3 days for 3 months now - many generations).

It seems like you use what you make in in a short amount of time. 
How long have you kept a batch of your yogurt to use as a starter?
 
Alison Thomas
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Yes I guess we use it within a week.

Funnily enough I have just had to make a batch this week with a new starter - that's about 3 months I suppose.  It went 'spangly' - sort of sharp and fizzy-ish so I gave it to the pigs who licked their lips   

I have a theory that it was because the milk got over the 46C (115F) cos I got distracted - went up to about 52C.  Maybe that killed off some of the good guys  I did wait until it had settled down to 46 before adding the saved yoghurt but...  The same happened once before when the milk got a bit too warm so that's why I'm blaming that.
 
Chris Fitt
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I wonder if it might have set off some bad guys, in addition to killing the good guys.

Any of my dairy mistakes also go to the pigs, they never mind it.
 
Leila Rich
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I just made another batch of my frozen yohurt starter cubes and remembered my raw milk yoghurt trials
I fiddled around for ages trying to use my raw milk yoghurt as a starter for the next batch,
and while it clearly works for some, this'll do me!

I use one of these for a litre batch of raw milk yoghurt (they cubes are big-about a standard tablespoon)
 
Hans Quistorff
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I will add a little bit of my lore to this thread.
I am 74 and my family has been experimenting with youghurt from raw milk since I was 10.
Goat milk is much more difficult to set firm with its tendency to have a fine curd.
The youghurt expert at the Mother Earth Fair explained that heating milk to 180F alters the protein to make a firmer curd. That of course makes it easier to drain the whey. If you are making it in one serving container batches It will be easy to spoon and you will have it eaten before you notice the whey separation. The milk needs to be cooled to about 100F before adding the starter.

My goal is to make thick youghurt without destroying the raw milk enzymes. Therefore I heat my milk to 101F which is the temperature it comes out of the udder. When I had my own animals I would use it immediately after milking so I would not have to reheat it, Currently the pastured raw Jersey cow milk I get is about 6 hours after milking. When I get home I put the gallon in a water bath with a rack on the bottom and a thermometer in the top. I fill the water bath with water from the hot tap and but it on the burner at simmer to maintain the temperature. Then I prepare my culturing containers with starter. I use 1 or 2 Quart wide mouth mason jars. When the temperature reaches I pour it into the jars and tighten the lids and shake to mix the starter. Then I place a jar in each corner of my water bed which seems to hold them at a good culturing temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Then I refrigerate.

The top of the jar will be crem frech [cold cream] so I like to have a desert ready when I open a new jar. I usually get my milk every two weeks and I get the best culture by using the layer just below the cream for the starter That means my starter has been in the refrigerator three weeks with no problem. Some times by the time I get to the bottom of a 2 quart jar the whey starts to separate but that is not a problem for me because I am using it for smoothies anyway. If I am worried about my current batch I pick up a quart of youghurt that I like at the store before i stop at my Dairy Lady.

Spooning youghurt usually has at least three bacteria. As discussed above one makes a slime this tends to keep the whey from separating. One tends to form a curd. one tends to give a sour flavor. The slime dominates if the culture is too cool. the curd dominates if too hot. The sour dominates if too long. If not enough sour yest can grow and make it fizzy. That is why some batches that are mixed when too hot will ferment.

I hope this will give you some guidance to to go beyond your comfort zone with confidence.
 
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