Thursday, May 26, 2011

Goat Milk Yogurt

A few months back my acupuncturist suggested that I lay off of dairy. I have no trouble being a vegetarian and never feel like I am missing out on food that I want to eat. However, I would struggle being a vegan. I love yogurt and cheese. When I told her how hard it would be for me to totally give up dairy, she suggested that, if I must have dairy, I should choose dairy products made from goat's milk.

I already knew that I loved goat cheeses and I soon learned that I like plain goat yogurt more than other yogurts. The only problem: goat yogurt costs nearly $8 per tub. I've been buying it each week, but every time I do, I look at the cow's milk yogurt versus goat's milk yogurt and bemoan the price difference.

Then, I realized that the equivalent amount of goat's milk is about $4. I did a bit of research online, consulted The Home Creamery and decided to give homemade yogurt a go.

And, it worked! I was surprised that it turned into yogurt because I do not have a yogurt maker and the incubation period is key to getting yogurt to turn out. I worked with what I had on hand. My heat source was an electric heating pad wrapped in a tea towel. I arranged the pad in a flour tin. Then, I put my candy thermometer and the jars of prepared milk in the center. After everything was set in place, I covered up the whole thing with a few kitchen towels and left it undisturbed for 9 hours. My test run without milk helped me to determine the proper setting on the pad, but I was still doubtful that I would get the range right. If you let it get too hot, the live cultures will die. When I checked it after 9 hours, the thermometer read the correct temperature and the milk had thickened into yogurt!

I felt quite proud when I made Paul and I breakfast out of my homemade granola, homemade yogurt and homemade blood orange marmalade.

I hope that I can fit making yogurt into my regular weekly routine. I also have a lot to learn about yogurt making as this first batch of yogurt started out firm and then got thinner as it sat in the fridge. Any experienced yogurt makers know why that is?

If you are interested in trying this yourself, you can make it with goat's milk or cow's milk as long as it isn't ultra-pasteurized. I followed general instructions from a bunch of websites and got good background information from The Home Creamery book I mentioned earlier. Here is what I did:
  1. heat milk in pot over medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees F
  2. remove from heat and let it cool to 110 degrees F
  3. gently stir in "starter" (existing yogurt)
  4. pour into sanitized jars and screw lids on
  5. place in incubator for a long time (4-24 hours is the range I have seen)
  6. take out of incubator and refrigerate
I plan to experiment with different starters and different incubation times to see how it impacts the results. The plain, tart, goaty flavor is so versatile. It pairs with any flavor of granola really well, highlights preserves and Paul has even used it drizzled over his omelet.


  1. Go see Norma at NowNormaKnits... she's the master of making yogurt at home. She taught me to do it with a crockpot and bath towels! it was/is really easy. I make a big batch and then strain it into Greek yogurt :)

  2. So inspiring. And what a beautiful breakfast plate you prepared.

    I have notices that Fage yogurt starts firm and gets runny after the container is opened too. Science at work, I suppose.

  3. Yogurt making is super fun! I make it fairly regularly. I have an oven with a pilot light which keeps it a reasonable warm and constant temp. I heat an entire gallon of milk in a big pot, then plop it in a sink full of cool water (hate waiting for it to cool down), inoculate it and then pop it into the over near the back. I've found that 5 hours is long enough to firm it up. More time than that usually yields more tart yogurt which I don't mind but my husband isn't as much of a fan of. Experimenting with starters is fun, too. I've found that Fage yogurt resulted in a very weird texture (long, kind of slimy ropes) that didn't allow the yogurt to strain well (I make greek yogurt with it). Stonyfield and Dannon greek yogurt starters yielded much better results. As did the yogourmet starter you can find at the Wedge. Have fun experimenting!


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