Raw Milk Yogurt Questions - Mothering Forums
Traditional Foods > Raw Milk Yogurt Questions
es1967's Avatar es1967 08:57 PM 11-15-2011

Thinking about starting to use some of the raw milk I have to make yogurt.  I can buy it for $7 per gallon which is too much milk for our small family to consume.    I've watched a few videos online.  Considering purchasing a yogurt maker from Williams and Sonoma since it got great reviews.  I know I don't need one but thought it might be more fun to have the maker.

So first I would like to see if anyone knows how long raw milk yogurt will last in the refrigerator?  Also, I was thinking of using some of the raw yogurt I purchase as a starter.  Does the type of starter you use for the yogurt make a difference in the taste?  The raw yogurt I purchase is so much better than regular organic store bought that I am hooked. 

Bantams's Avatar Bantams 06:02 PM 11-16-2011

You're right - yogurt makers are easier and more fun than figuring out a hot water bath or constantly watching the oven!

In most cases you can use yogurt to culture your own.  However, I have found that different cow's milk will produce different results (it depends on diet, protein and fat levels, etc).  Play around with different brands to see what you like.  The best purchased yogurt does not necessarily make the best culture for raw milk yogurt.  I like the  Y5 culture from cheesemaking.com


I culture yogurt for 12-24 hours - again, it depends on the milk.

If you like thicker yogurt, you will either have to pasteurize it (the protein structure changes, making a thicker yogurt) or strain it like Greek yogurt.


Raw milk yogurt should last 10-14 days.


Have fun!

es1967's Avatar es1967 05:39 AM 11-17-2011

Thanks for your reply.  I saw this recipe where someone used pectin to thicken it.  I don't know if I would want to do the cheeseloth (too much work for me) and with a yogurt maker would not work.

So would any yogurt work as a starter?  Would it be better too use my raw milk yogurt as a starter or a store bought purchased yogurt.  The raw yogurt I buy(from farm) is very expensive and super thick so not sure how much I would need and if it would work.  Thats what I am confused about.  Regarding Y5 starter you use-why do you like it? How long does the Y5 starter last? 



Bantams's Avatar Bantams 08:58 AM 11-17-2011

The recipe you provided does use pectin, but at the end she says she usually strains it (then blends it) to make thicker yogurt. 

Most raw milk yogurt I've experienced is either too thin, or lumpy with lots of whey at the top.  After I strain mine, I use a stick/immersion blender to smooth it out.

I just looked up the yogurt maker you're buying - I guess it would defeat the purpose if you then dumped the yogurt out to strain it.  I make yogurt in 6-8 qt batches so it's more practical to drain it.

Any yogurt with LIVE cultures will work.  Depending on the actual bacteria strains in the yogurt you are using, you will end up with different results.  I've also found that using one really sweet creamy brand of yogurt doesn't necessarily produce the same result in raw homemade yogurt. 

Ask the farm how they make their yogurt - I'm curious how they do it.  I would definitely try that yogurt as your first starter.  If it doesn't turn out, use it for smoothies or baking and try again.  Some amount of trial and error is necessary. 

I've tried all the NE Cheesemaking yogurt cultures.  With my first cow's milk, the Y4 made the best yogurt.  With my other two cows, I found the Y5 to work better.  It just depends on the particular milk you're using.

The freeze dried cultures last years.  And I split each packet between ~6 qts of yogurt, rather than the 1-2 the packet recommends. 

When using fresh yogurt as a culture, use 2-4 tablespoons per quart.



es1967's Avatar es1967 06:01 PM 11-17-2011

Thanks for all the info on yogurt making.  When I read the reviews on the yogurt maker I want to buy several people said they used raw milk and they said it turn out great. I'll have to go back and read them again. So even with the pectin it may not thicken it at all?  I don't really care if its a little runny.  The yogurt I buy from the farm is made by the owners mother who brought her recipe and cultures from Yugoslavia.  I am sure she uses cream with the milk because it is almost like whipping cream.  Its not tart at all (although I do like tart yogurt).  Its thick and very delicous-like a dessert.  I'm sure she strains it.  They have a commercial kitchen and sell it so I doubt she would share her recipe.  I prefer the yogurt to be a little tart.  Their yogurt is very pricey- $12 for about 12 oz I think.  I buy it mainly for my son.  I also tasted a raw yogurt from another farm and it was runny like a drinkable yogurt.  It was very good too.  He only charged $5 for half a gallon but my problem is that I hate wasting and we would never use it all before it goes bad. I guess I could give some away.  So thats why I thought I would try to make my own yogurt.   Hmnnn maybe I should buy a yogurt maker that is made in one container.  I just thought the jars would be nice and my son would have fun w it.  I don't want to make large qty's of yogurt either just enough for my little 5 yr old. 

Bantams's Avatar Bantams 06:31 PM 11-17-2011

Sorry, I should have said I've only tried raw milk yogurt w/o pectin.  Give the pectin a try - who knows, it might be the trick to perfect, thick yogurt!

es1967's Avatar es1967 07:01 AM 11-19-2011

Ended up buying the yogurt maker last night.  My first problem was that the milk quickly heated to like 125-I turned around to read the instructions

and it heated so quickly.  Then I mixed the pectin w the hot water.  I then ladled some warm milk w the yogurt starter(that came w it) and the pectin.

The pectin clumped immediately-yikes!.  Mixed all together and poured in the jars.  There were huge clumps of pectin so I put a little in each jar. 

Let it go for 10 hrs and its done.  Its pretty thick and it seems the pectin dissolved but debating if I should strain and mix in vitamix.  Also,  not sure if I should let it cool before refrigerating.  The instructions for the yogurt maker don't mention that.  It tastes good though.

es1967's Avatar es1967 09:35 AM 11-19-2011

After cooling its quite thick but I should have mixed it in the vitamix for a smoother texture.  Wonder if I could do it now that its cooled.

cristeen's Avatar cristeen 11:39 AM 11-21-2011

If you stick it in the vitamix, it will turn to liquid.  It will no longer have the thickness you're looking for.  As for pectin, it does that.  You want to add the water slowly and mash the lumps (with a fork or spoon) so that it's evenly distributed through the water.  It takes a little longer, but it's less annoying later. 


And you really don't want to stir it while it's warm - chill it before disturbing it.  It tends to get grainy otherwise. 

es1967's Avatar es1967 01:10 PM 11-21-2011

Yeah, thats kinda what happened when I put it in the vitamix.  It did smooth it out nicely and I did as the instructions stated on her website.  But its more like a drinkable yogurt.  The great thing I found out is that the yogurt maker I bought allows you to use any container.  So next time I will make it in one container. Strain it an maybe try the vitamix again.  Maybe not.  This is how its done on the link.  Then put it into the small lass jars.  With the pectin -it was fine when I mixed it w the hot water but when I mixed it into the yogurt it clumped. 

Meksmama's Avatar Meksmama 06:00 AM 11-22-2011

I am going to try something my friend suggested put yogurt starter or 1/4cup plain yogurt into quart jars and pour in milk then put in oven with light on for approx 18 hrs. it will turn into yogurt with no heating.

es1967's Avatar es1967 08:02 PM 12-04-2011

Hope some of you raw milk yogurt makers are still around.  The first time I made the yogurt it turned out like a drinkable yogurt using the pectin and it lasted about 5 days- I think.  Cristeen you are right I should not have used the vitamix .  The second time I used the pectin and strained the yogurt.  The straining was very simple but the yogurt was kinda clumpy.  I did not

use the vitamix like the blog directions say. So my problem was that I made it on Sunday and by wednesday it tasted funny like it was going bad. I am wondering if I strained off too much whey?  The texture was too dry in my opinion. 

The raw milk I purchased get delivered thurs and I got it friday.  I'm still using the milk I have left and its just fine. So tonight I used pasteurized grass fed milk

b/c I could not get to the farm this past week.  I much prefer making the raw milk yogurt.  It was a pain trying to get the milk to the right temp and then

had to wait for it to cool enough to stir in the yogurt.  I hope it did not cool too much and that it will still make yogurt.  My thermometer is not exactly the best.

So why would my raw yogurt not last longer?  When I look at the picture of the yogurt on the blog -my yogurt looks nothing like it! I'm going to check into the yogurt starter Bantams mentioned.