Raw milk is truly one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world and has a nutritional profile unlike any other food. It is even called a traditional super-food. When you combine this super food with live probiotics ( like yogurt cultures and kefir )- you get a nutritional powerhouse that not only feeds your brain and body, but it also feeds your gut with beneficial organisms that keeps pathogens at bay and heals the digestive system. If you are unsure about whether raw milk is safe, check out this article by Dr. Axe on 5 reasons raw milk benefits are out of this world!
The best way to include probiotics in your diet is in their most natural state, which includes raw milk products such as cheese, kefir and yogurt. Yogurt and Kefir are my top choices in adding a healthy daily dose of these good guys. And both are super easy to make at home. I’ll show you how below.
In North Carolina, we don’t have access to raw milk. However, South Carolina is just a few miles away and it is for sale there. I buy mine from Milky Way Farm every other week. I grab my cooler and get fresh nutrient dense whole milk and cream to make my yogurt, kefir and butter. But what if you don’t want to drive to SC? There are other choices of milk that you CAN use. It won’t have the same nutritional profile that raw milk does- BUT it can come close. The next best option is buying a milk that is pasteurized but NOT ultra- pasteurized. The ultra pasteurization kills ALL the beneficial enzymes and yogurt and kefir will not culture well with this type of milk. When I run out of my raw milk and the pic up day has not come around yet, I buy Homeland dairy from The Bradford Store right down the road in Huntersville.
Your first step is to grab your supplies. You will need:
1/2 gallon Raw whole milk
2 quart size mason jars– make sure they are clean and sterile (you can run them through your dishwasher or place upside down in boiling water for 2 minutes)
1/4 cup plain yogurt or 1/4 cup from your last batch of homemade yogurt (you can buy a small 8 oz container of organic plain yogurt at the store for this)
A candy thermometer – (See the picture below)
A spoon or rubber spatula
Step one: Heat your milk to 110 degrees
Once your milk is heated- Let it cool to 86 degrees
Step 2: Pour milk into your Mason jars
Step 3: Add 1/4 cup of your plain yogurt to each jar and stir
Step 4: Let time do the work- Put a cap on each jar and place in your oven with the oven light on. Let it sit overnight or 12-24 hours.
I use a Yogotherm. It keeps the milk at a more consistent temperature to allow the milk to culture. But it’s not mandatory.
And that’s it! Seriously simple right?! In the morning you have fresh homemade yogurt that is a fraction of the cost that you have to pay at the store.
I serve my yogurt with fresh berries and some local raw honey. Or you can use it in smoothies, as a dip or to make yogurt cheese.
Want to learn more about how to make traditional foods at home? Join me in the upcoming workshop. I’ll teach your how to make homemade sourdough bread, butter, fermented veggies and how to soak/ sprout your grains and turn them into your own nutrient dense flour. To learn more – Click here.
In Peace and Wellness,