Friday, September 16, 2011

Homemade Yogurt and Kefir

Milly is the dairy specialist but you are stuck with me to describe this process as I’m the one that doesn’t have anything better to do than write posts for your reading enjoyment.

We like homemade yogurt and kefir way better than the fluffy, candy like goop you buy at the store.

What’s the difference between yogurt and kefir?

Kefir is runnier and not as tangy as yogurt and is made by culturing kefir grains in milk. The kefir grains is bacteria’s and yeast (so says Milly).

Yogurt is also started with a bacteria culture. The start can be something you bye like Yogourmet or you can a culture from a previous culture of yogurt. garden 031


Side story:

In our younger days we taught high school in Western Samoa (go Manu Samoa). When we lived in Samoa we cultured yogurt for many months at a time that started from a regular yogurt we bought from the store. We only bought one yogurt as it cost an arm and a leg but it kept up a very nice yogurt we cultured on the top of our refrigerator. We used vanilla flavor to start with but eventually when we neglected the yogurt culture and had to start again we just used whatever flavor they had (cherry, lemon, strawberry all worked). The funny thing was we were only using powdered milk as our milk base. Pretty amazing we survived eating cultured lemon milk powdered yogurt.


I like the yogurt better than kefir but the kids lap either of them up.

Here is the steps to making homemade yogurt

  • Find 4 one quart jars
  • Acquire a gallon of milk. Raw milk with all the cream works great and we just so happen to have scads of it. If you use store bought milk I’d use the more fat versions but like I said above we did it with milk powder so I would assume it would still work.
  • If using raw milk heat up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If using store bought milk you should pasteurize (around 180 degrees) then cool down to 110 degrees.
  • While the milk is cooling, mix culture with a little bit of cooled milk. Stir in culture mix to pot of warmed milk
  • Pour contents into 4 quart glass jars
  • Place jars in a location that can keep the yogurt warm (around 110 degrees). We’ve used the top of a fridge, an oven, the concrete steps on a warm summer day.


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But here’s our big secret to keeping the yogurt warm at a constant temperature. We like to fill up a cooler chest with hot water then leave the yogurt in over night. It seems to keep the yogurt at just the right temperature. I would guess one of those hay box cooker or insulating magic bag would work great as well.

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The longer you leave the culture to do it’s thing the stronger the yogurt gets. We usually leave it for about 12 hours. Depending on how you like the yogurt it can be done in as little as 4 hours. We’ve left yogurt in mistakenly for 24 hours and it tastes fine as well.

Steps to make kefir

1. Find Kefir grains. We got some from our friend Lucy and they have propagated for about 4 months.

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2. Pour in milk. We used to warm the milk up but we got lazy and tried it with cold milk and it works great.

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3. Let sit on cupboard for 24 hours or until it sets up.

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That’s it. Kefir is super easy and tastes pretty good.

So why make yogurt and kefir. The bacteria and microorganisms are super good for your guts. Google kefir and yogurt and you will see a plethora of research on how good both are for you.

We usually don’t eat the yogurt or kefir alone. We usually put a bit of organic sugar in suite our liking and often throw in berries and fruit to add flavor.

Here’s some frozen raspberries Milly was gnawing on tonight.

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So there you have it. Homemade yogurt and kefir. It only took a couple of hours to write this blog. But what else did I have to do anyways?

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