Fermenting 101: Yogurt, Why Make It Yourself.

24 Hour Yogurt

I know I’ve written about yogurt a few times in the past but I wanted to write a series about making yogurt.  I’ll cover a few different ways you can make it and a few different types of yogurts you can make. This week we’ll talk about why you should make your own yogurt and will delve into how I make it next week.  If you are impatient like me, here is how my GAPS experienced friend Patty from Loving Our Guts makes yogurt: How to Make GAPS Yogurt.

Yogurt is one of my families favorite ferments (yogurt is fermented dairy).  I jumped into yogurt making when we put my oldest on the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) and I was told buying yogurt from the store was not good enough.   Yogurt is one of the few ferments that is readily available in every grocery store but the stuff in the grocery store aisles is far from as awesome as anything you can make at home. Here are a few reasons why I make our yogurt rather than buy it.

Some of the benefits of making your own yogurt:

1.  You know the milk source.  We can drive to our farm and shake hooves with the cow that gave us our milk.  Milk from grassfed cows is infinitely better than it’s store bought counterpart.

2. You can control the lactose level.  Commercially made yogurt is fermented for a short time resulting in a sweeter yogurt.  The sweetness comes from lactose that wasn’t consumed by the lactic acid bacteria.  Lactose is a milk sugar that many people have an intolerance to.  Fermenting yogurt for a longer time makes yogurt lactose free and perfectly safe for those with lactose issues.  24 hours is the magic number where most store bought yogurts are only fermented for 4-6 hrs.

3.  Cheap!  Even with my more expensive organic grassfed milk, I still come out far ahead.  $6 for a gallon of yogurt is a steal!

4.  If you don’t have access to top quality milk, culturing store bought milk is the next best thing.  Beware, do not try to make yogurt with UHT, ultra high pasteurized milk.  Most organic milk in the stores is UHT (all of it where I am from).  It won’t work.  In fact, stay away from that milk period.  For more on why you should avoid UHT milk, check out Food Renegade’s article, Just Say No to UHT Milk.

5.  No weird additives.  No oxidized dried milk, no guar gum or carrageenan.   No HFCS, artificial sweetness or other bad stuff.

6.  You can get more bugs!  Making your yogurt in a Pickl-it or other airtight container (I hear mixed things on using a Fido), your yogurt will be happier.  Bifidus bacteria is especially sensitive to oxygen.  Using a good anaerobic container like the Pickl-it jar will ensure the highest number of lactic acid bacteria in your yogurt.  A good 24 hour yogurt will have 3 billion colony forming units (cfu) per mL (source).  A milliliter 1/5 of a teaspoon!  That means 15 billion cfu per teaspoon.  Teaspoon!  Holy moly!  No wonder my kids have guts of steel.



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5 comments to Fermenting 101: Yogurt, Why Make It Yourself.

  • MaryEllen Seehafer

    re #4. We can get grass-fed milk at a local farm stand that sells year round but in our state it must be pasteurized. The local Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Market carry milk that is organic and in glass jugs but again is pasteurized. Are there different levels of pasteurization? Raw is not an option here. What do I use?

    • As long as the bottle or carton says pasteurized and not ultra-pasteurized (or UHT), it’ll work fine.

    • Andrea

      If you are getting milk from a farm stand ask there how the milk is pasturized.

      Both of my local sources for quality milk say in the name of the milk what the level of pasteurization is. One says “low temperature pasteurized whole milk” and the other says “vat pasteurized whole milk” or whatever the fat leve is of that bottle. The second one even shows the temperature used elsewhere on the bottle.

      Your local milk may also show on the label what temperature they use.

  • […] week I shared with you about why you should make your own yogurt, this week I’ll tell you one way to do […]

  • Fernando

    As a European, I am always surprised that Americans do not use electric yahourtières to make their own home-made yogurt. Since the late 50s making yogurt in Europe is just a question just puting Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacterias (the yogurt bacteria that you find everywhere from pharmacy to health shops) or a yogurt starter in glasses, mix them with milk, put them in the yahourtère and plug the yahourtière to the mains and forget. Go to bed and in the morning collect the glasses of fresh made yogurt and put them in the fridge. Easier than doing any other fermenting food (yahourtières stop fermening themselves, they control the temperature, etc. so you do not need to control the process) With busy working mums, they are not as populars in Europea as they once were, but for those who make yogurts, it is the easiest way to make yogurts. Instead Americans fight keeping the temperature, the time, contaminations, etc. etc. Why Americans do not know this machines is beyond me.

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