Raw milk yogurt - or is it really sweet mana from heaven?

Y’all. I did it. I made yogurt for the first time. Okay, technically, this was the second time but I’m not counting the time that I made yogurt in my crockpot and forgot to double check the lid that had some residue on it from the last time I used it and the entire batch of yogurt tasted like chili….YUCK. Nope. Doesn’t count.

But seriously, I did it. (And yes, I did it in my Instant Pot) I feel like I’m on new plain of existence and like my whole life is about to change now.
My kiddos love yogurt. Erica could probably eat her weight in yogurt if I would let her. She’s also RIDICULOUSLY picky so convincing her that the new yogurt is really okay and not going to poison her may take a little doing. When I gave her a taste of my yogurt this morning, she said, “Oh it’s a different kind of yogurt?” And then got excited when I told her that I made this yogurt from our milk.

Here’s the link to the recipe I used. I did a couple of simple adjustments. She recommends ultra-pasteurized milk…giggle but this is a raw milk farm blog…So obviously, you can ignore that and use the milk you get from our farm. The other adjustment I made was I used store bought yogurt as a starter. She says you can do this but she uses a powdered starter. I didn’t have the presence of mind to have a nice powdered starter on hand so store bought yogurt it is. (I believe I used plain Greek yogurt from Aldi…I happened to be at that store at the time) I also reduced the culturing time to…9hrs, I believe. I did 9 because I was going out for the evening and set it for when I would get home. You could do a little as 8hrs or as much as 24. She said 24hrs removes the lactose from the milk…Since I am not lactose intolerant and love me some lactose, I didn’t want to culture that long.

The main thing you want to ensure when using store bought yogurt as your starter is that somewhere on the package it says “Contains Live, Active Cultures”. It also should be full fat yogurt. You only need a quarter of a cup to a half gallon of milk. But I’ve read a couple of different places that you can actually freeze yourself some starter to use in the next batch, just thaw it before you add it. Since I bought an entire tub of the store-bought yogurt, I will be freezing it to see if this trick works.

So I “messed up” the recipe. I didn’t allow the milk to fully boil on my “Yogurt/boil” setting on my IP. I somehow got confused and thought somewhere I read that you’re supposed to bring the milk up to 180 degrees and then cool to 110. (You regular yogurt makers probably know, but I didn’t remember). So that’s what I did. I shut it off when my thermometer read 180 and let it cool to 110. When it hit 110, I gently whisked in my 1/4 cup of starter and then put the pot back into the IP and pressed yogurt and set my timer. THAT’S IT.

Okay let’s talk about the yogurt itself for a minute. Holy. Cow. (Pun intended, of course!)
I decided to strain the yogurt overnight in the fridge because I like Greek yogurt the best. Nice and thick and rich. Mmmm.
Once it was strained, I put it in a quart mason jar (apparently, a half gallon of milk yields about a quart of yogurt when strained overnight) and put a lid on it. I decided to try some for breakfast this morning. I love strawberry yogurt. I didn’t have any fresh strawberries on hand so I opened a jar of my aunt’s homemade, prize winning strawberry jelly. Since jelly is rather…well…gel-like, I figured I should probably mix it in with a mixer. And because I’m lazy and don’t like to do anything by hand that I can stick in either my KitchenAid or use my immersion blender for. I opted for the whisk attachment on my immersion blender. Since I was only whipping up a half a cup of yogurt and about a tbsp of jelly, it just didn’t seem like i wanted the whole big mixer.
Okay, result? Yeah. It’s UNBELIEVABLY smooth, rich, flavorful and delicious. It’s basically like dessert for breakfast. It didn’t seem right that it could possibly ALSO be healthy for me. And yet, yogurt is full of probiotics that are fantastic for your gut. Especially when made from raw milk!! I can’t even believe that came out of my kitchen. I’m definitely going to be trying several other of my aunt’s homemade, prize winning jellies as mix-ins for my breakfast. (My all time favorite is her fig jelly. Drool.)

I’m picturing all the many ways I can use this delicious treat. Plain yogurt can be substituted for sour cream so maybe that’s ONE more thing I can eliminate from my shopping budget.

I’m also planning to make 2-ingredient dough using this stuff + self-rising flour. The plan is to make naan bread and pizza crust! Aaaaand maybe pretzel bites…with beer cheese… All our favorite treats. Though, I probably won’t attempt them all in one day….that could be carb overload.

Remember, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you’re NOT barred from making fantastic, delicious, sweet-mana-from-heaven yogurt. You can also make it in your crock pot!