From Antivist

Yogurt is one of the most nutritional foods in the world. The stuff you buy in stores has preservatives added to it reducing its health properties and increasing the cost. Yogurt is a bacteria that spreads throughout a suitable culture at the correct temperature. Begin by going to a Turkish or Syrian restaurant and buying some yogurt to go. Some restaurants boast of yogurt that goes back over a hundred years. Put it in the refrigerator.

Now prepare the culture in which the yogurt will multiply. The consistency you want will determine what you use. A milk culture will produce thin yogurt, while sweet cream will make a thicker batch. It's the butter fat content that determines the consistency and also the number of calories. Half milk and half cream combines the best of both worlds.

What you will need to start making your own home made yogurt; 1 quart culture of choice (milk/cream/half & half), and 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. (Either bought or save this much from your first home made batch.)

Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cool the milk until a thermometer inserted in the pan reads from 110 to 95 degrees. Skim off any skin that has formed.

Whisk the yogurt in a fairly large bowl, to return it to a liquid state. Gradually whisk in the milk, mixing very well.

Divide this mixture among 4 one cup jars. Cap the jars and allow the yogurt to incubate until the correct texture is reached. This will usually take about 8 hours (overnight). This incubation period needs to take place at about 100 degrees, so if it is not that hot in your kitchen, here are some alternative methods that you can use to keep your yogurt at 100 degrees.

Place the jars in a warm spot such as on top of a radiator or in a sunny window

Place the jars in a closed gas oven with the pilot light burning. You may want to check your oven temperature first to make sure that it is the correct temperature.

Or, place the jars in a pan of 100 degree water, cover this with a towel and place over the burner pilots on your gas stove or wrap in a heating pad. Make sure to keep checking the temperature.

The yogurt simply grows until the whole jar is yogurt.

It will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks before turning sour, but even then, the bacteria will produce a fresh batch of top quality. Remember when eating it to leave a little to start the next batch. For a neat treat add some honey and cinnamon and mix into the yogurt before serving. Chopped fruit and nuts are also good.

raw yogurt for one

  • Cut up 2-3 dates into blender, cover with water and soak while you prepare seeds – if they're hard dry dates then you need to soak them earlier,
  • Grind in coffee-grinder 2 Tbsp flax seeds, and one each of 2-3 other seeds, so 4-5 Tbsp of seed total – I use 2 flax, 2 sunflower and alternate one pumpkin or one hemp or one chia because flax and sunflower are cheap, I don't use sesame for yogurt because I make raw sesame tahini butter,
  • Blend the dates in their soak water, then
  • Pour ground seeds on top of blended dates, and cover with a little more water,
  • Blend into a smooth cream,
  • Pour into jar, cover with nylon mosquito netting (from hardware store) held in place with elastic band,
  • Leave overnight about 16-24 hrs depending on weather – goes quicker when it's warmer,
  • It ferments into lovely fluffy yogurt, all bubbly and sweety-tart.

raw yogurt recipe

Cashews ferment the best, and make yogurt taste creamier.

  • 1/4 cup cashews,
  • 1/4 cup dates (fresh or dried),
  • 3/4 cup of mixed seeds,

Soak together for 2-3 hours, blend in soak water, and ferment.


First, you will need to buy some plain yogurt to use as a "starter"--it must states "Contains Live Active Cultures" on the container. A small amount of these cultures will enable you to turn plain milk into yogurt.

Put 2 TBSP of the yogurt in a small bowl on the counter to come to room temperature. Put the remainder of the yogurt into an ice cube tray, about 1 TBSP per section. Freeze; you can thaw and use this for later batches (2 TBSP yogurt per quart of milk). After the cubes are frozen, you can put them into a gallon sized ziploc bag to store in your freezer.

To make one quart of yogurt, you will need:

   * A heavy saucepan
   * Candy Thermometer
   * A thermos, at least 1 quart in size
   * 1 quart (4 cups) skim milk
   * 1/2 cup dry instant skim milk
   * 2 TBSP plain yogurt at room temperature (with live active cultures)
   * Other additives as desired (see end of recipe for suggestions)

Mix the milk and dry milk in the saucepan. Over medium low heat and using candy thermometer, bring milk to 180 degrees. Stir frequently, and turn down heat if milk is heating too fast. When milk reaches 180 degrees, remove saucepan from burner--you are waiting for it to cool to 115 degrees.

While it is cooling, you need to preheat the thermos. An easy way to do this is to boil about 12 oz of water in the microwave and pour the water into the thermos. Close tightly. Empty out the water just before filling the thermos with yogurt.

When the milk cools to 115 degrees, remove 1/2 cup of milk from the saucepan and mix thoroughly with the 2 TBSP of yogurt you set out earlier. Then combine the yogurt-milk mixture with the milk in the saucepan thoroughly. Pour mixture into preheated thermos.

Let thermos sit out on counter for 4-8 hours--the longer it sits, the tarter the yogurt will be. After 4-8 hours, open the thermos and you should have *yogurt*! You may have to shake the thermos to get the yogurt out. Put it into a container and refrigerate.

You can use 2 TBSP of your "homemade" yogurt as a starter for your next batch; after 2 or 3 chained batches of yogurt, it may start to get runny, and you will probably want to use your frozen yogurt cubes to start your next batch(thawed and brought to room temperature).

My favorite way to eat it is to blend in wheat germ and dried fruit bits. You can also add sugar to the milk when heating it, and add vanilla flavoring right before putting into the thermos. Other flavorings such as applesauce or jelly can be added right before serving.


Thanks to her instructions, and some help from my family, I've been successfully making yogurt for about 2 years now. You need a yogurt starter, milk, and a way to incubate it for 4-12 hours at about 110 degrees so the bacteria in the starter can grow to take over the whole jar.

Yogurt starter is either store-bought or homemade yogurt, or a freeze-dried starter you can buy at health-food stores. I've never checked into the freeze-dried starter; Amy reported it as expensive. But you can freeze yogurt to use for starter. Just put it in an ice-cube tray and store your 'yogurt cubes' in bags. That should be the 2-tbsp of yogurt you need to make a quart.

Milk: use whatever kind you want. Nonfat dry milk is usually cheapest. If you want thicker yogurt you can stir in a bit extra milk powder (1/3 cup per quart of yogurt).

To make a quart:

   * Stir together a quart of milk with 1/3 cup milk powder, if desired. If using frozen yogurt starter, set yogurt cubes out to thaw.
   * Heat milk to 180 degrees, stirring constantly. Use a candy thermometer to measure temperature.
   * Remove milk from heat; let cool to 115 degrees. This takes about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of the rest of the house.
   * Stir in 2 tbsp of yogurt starter. Mix thoroughly.
   * Pour the milk/yogurt mixture into sterilized jars. (Whenever I do it, it's a bit more than a quart, so have an extra jar ready.) Incubate for 4-12 hours, or until it is set (i.e. looks like yogurt, not milk). The longer you incubate, the more sour the yogurt will be. Refrigerate until cool.

How to incubate: There are lots of methods--see the book. I fill an ice chest with the hottest water the tap will give me, place the jars of yogurt in there, and close the ice chest. This is inexpensive, has worked in all of the rentals I've lived in, and doesn't require much storage space. If the water cools during incubation, as it might if it's cool in your home, refill with hot water.

Is it worth it? Yes, if you're at home for the amount of time required. It only takes about 15 minutes hands-on time, and the savings is considerable.

I've never done drinkable yogurt, so that will require some experimentation. Try not adding extra milk powder--that alone might be thin enough, since homemade yogurt seems thinner than store-bought. If not, try thinning the yogurt with more milk.

To use yogurt, add sugar and fruit to yogurt for a snack. Plain yogurt can be used as a non-fat sour cream substitute--my family enjoys it on burritos and in casseroles. Add 1/3 cup plain yogurt to packaged macaroni and cheese, instead of milk and butter, for a tangy taste. Try adding some yogurt to mashed potatoes in place of some of the butter and milk. By draining the yogurt in cheesecloth through a colander, you can make "yogurt cheese," which has the consistency of cream cheese, and is good as a dip for chips or vegetables.

Not only is making yogurt thrifty, it's a science project about bacteria. Scalding the milk kills the "bad" bacteria that make milk go bad, and the yogurt starter introduces the "good" yogurt bacteria (also known as "active cultures"). The incubation gives the good bacteria the conditions they need to reproduce. The yogurt is done when the bacteria have grown throughout the yogurt.

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