It’s Yogurt Making Day!

This is fresh milk from my Jersey cow. I finally cleaned and put my milking machine back together after the dairy shows. 

I pour my milk into this bowl to transport it from the barn to the house. Then I run it through a strainer to be sure there are no contaminants 

Then I transfer the fresh milk to my 6.5 quart enameled cast iron pot. 

Today Autumn gave me a little over 2 gallons of fresh milk. I put 1 gallon in the fridge and the other gallon and 1/4 in the pot for yogurt. 

Going in the fridge. 

Now we have to pasteurize the milk for the yogurt. The idea of yogurt is to grow the bacteria that we want, not bacteria we don’t want. You must slowly heat the milk to 185* F to kill anything living in the milk. If you don’t have access to fresh milk, then at least try to find non-homogenized milk. The less processed, the better. You still need to heat it to 185*F, because of potential contamination. 

I use this thermometer and whisk often to be sure the milk never boils.  It can take 30-45 min to bring it to temp without scorching. 

I add a few things. In the beginning of my yogurt-making days, I wrestled with the problem of consistency. It was always too thin, and my family didn’t eat it. I tried several different things but finally settled on cook & serve jello pudding. 

This box that makes 3 cups of pudding will thicken 1.5 gallons of yogurt to make it super think and rich. I’ve even backed it down to a small, 2-cup package with good results. Is it all natural? Well, there’s a spoonful of sugar, cornstarch, and carrageenan for thickening. But spread out over 1.5 gallons, I think it an acceptable trade-off for store yogurt. 

I also add about a tablespoon of vanilla extract (I make mine with Burbon) and some (about 1 Tbsp) raw, local honey.   I add the pudding pack, the vanilla extract, and the honey right before we reach 185*F. 

Now we have to be patient. The milk mixture must cool to 115*F before we can go any further. 

I’ll end this post here and come back with part 2 once we reach temp. I’m going to get my culture and my ice chest ready. 

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