Raw milk is obviously straight from an animal and free from processing which means all the unique bacteria, enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are left in to super charge your homemade yogurt.
Sadly, there are currently many concerns around raw milk that scare people away from its numerous health promoting virtues. Raw milk, in itself is a ‘complete food’ and fermented for 24 hours it becomes a thoroughly healing food.
Despite all the health benefits, unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a local diary, raw milk can be difficult to find. Read more about the different types of cows milk here.
In Australia, it is illegal to sell raw milk for consumption. Fortunately for gut-loving foodies, there is another option. Made by Cow, is a new, world first method of producing raw milk that is cold pressed and completely safe to drink and it makes awesome, thick and creamy yogurt with a layer of cream on top!
If you have gut issues, 24–hour fermented raw milk is more tolerable than regular dairy. In fact, gut healing diets such as GAPS and SCD don't allow any dairy at all unless it is fermented. The process of fermentation makes raw milk more digestible, and increases the array of enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Feel the benefits - make real yogurt at home.
Raw milk yogurt is full of beneficial enzymes that will be destroyed if the milk is heated above 110° Fahrenheit (about 43° Celsius). According to Natasha Campbell McBride, founder of the GAPS diet, if you don’t heat the milk the innate bacteria of the raw milk are preserved.
"If you make yoghurt from raw milk, then do not heat it, just add the starter and ferment. Only pasteurised milk needs heating, as pasteurisation makes milk vulnerable to contamination by pathogenic microbes. Raw milk is usually well protected by its own probiotic bacteria and other factors."
The ideal temperature range for homemade yoghurt is 38-43° Celsius. If you want to ‘kick start’ your yogurt fermentation process, you can gently heat the milk to 40° Celsius. This is within the temperature range of GAPS and SCD legal yoghurt.
Raw enzymes in the milk can compete with the yoghurt starter culture and alter the consistency. So be warned, raw milk yoghurt may not look like the firm set commercial yogurt you are used to. Depending on what the cows ate that day, yoghurt made from raw milk can also vary from batch to batch.
If you are using raw milk straight from a dairy and the consistency is too runny here are some healthy tricks to thicken it up.
1. Combine a tub of fresh pure cream with the raw milk. Read about culturing cream here.
2. Strain the yoghurt through a cheese cloth for approximately 30 minutes to reduce the whey content. (If you do this overnight then you have produced cream cheese).
3. Heat the raw milk to 40° Celsius and dissolve 1 level tablespoon of premium powdered gelatin.
It is recommended you sterilise the yoghurt making bowl and whisk before-hand. I have always found it is enough to wash in hot soapy water, then rinse in boiling water. The main danger with not sterilising is that other bacteria can overpower your starter culture and affect the quality of your precious yoghurt.
Yoghurt starter culture
1. Pour the milk straight into the yogurt making glass jar.
2. Add your starter culture and gently whisk it in.
3. Put the lid firmly on the yogurt making jar and place into the yogurt maker.
Pour water slowly into the base. The water must not be filled over the ‘tall line’ indicated on the inside wall of the maker. Place the cover lid on top. The milk is now ready to begin fermentation.
4. Use the digital control panel to set the temperature to 38° C (100° F), the time to 12 - 24 hours and then press ‘confirm’ to begin incubation. See the post "Fermentation time and temperature" for more information.
5. Condensation will collect under the cover lid during fermentation. Please take care removing it and allow the water to drip into the water bath, instead of your bench.
6. Switch the yogurt maker off and remove the yogurt jar. Straight from the maker the yogurt will be runny and warm. There will be a layer of yellow cream on top of the yogurt. Be gentle with the warm yogurt and don’t stir it or else it won’t set in a perfect white mass.
7. Place the yogurt in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set.
Note: raw milk straight from a dairy will produce thin yogurt. Made by Cow milk will be thick.
You can set the yogurt maker to ferment for a further 5 hours if you want your yogurt to have even less lactose. See the post Fermentation time & temperature makes all the difference for more information.