How to Make Yogurt

yogurtSome research indicates that inflammatory bowel diseases and IBS can be improved through the use of probiotics [1]. Twenty-four hours after starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which calls for daily use of yogurt, all of my diarrhea from Crohn’s stopped after I ate yogurt.

Primitive cultures since 10,000 BC all over the world have drank fermented dairy, such as yogurt, amasi, doogh and kefir [2]. Today we have all of those options, plus fermented vegetables and commercial probiotics. There are lots of ways to get probiotics into your gut, but one of the best ways is to make homemade 24 hour fermented yogurt.

Many people with IBD have concerns about the lactose in the milk. The 24 hour fermentation process allows the bacteria to digest the lactose into simpler sugars that are easier for people to handle. There’s also the possibility that microbes in yogurt and kefir when ingested release enzymes to digest lactose [3].

In theory, the use of fermented dairy can reverse your lactose intolerance if the lactose digesting bacteria colonize your gut. Bacteria also have immune modulating abilities, helping to keep gut inflammation down. Those are two of the many potential health benefits you can enjoy from having yogurt [4].

Experienced fermented diary artisans (ooh-la-la!) will notice I am not calling for the best methods and milks. This is because kefir grains and raw milk are not widely and easily accessible.

I think people will have more motivation and success if they start with easier to access food. The instructions on how to make kefir with raw milk are also very different and will require a different article.

Here is a step by step list of how I have made yogurt in the past.

Buy Supplies
1. I have a Yogourmet Yogurt Maker machine.

2. I use Yogourmet starter cultures.

3. Buy organic pasteurized milk, either goat or cow at either half or 1 gallon amounts. The Yogourmet maker makes half gallon per batch.

Make Yogurt
4. Heat half gallon of milk on the stove to 180 degrees. Increase the heat gradually, starting with medium-low, so that it doesn’t burn as much.

5. Once it reaches 180 degrees (using a thermometer) it will start to sizzle and bubble a little bit. Take it off the stove and put it in the freezer, fridge or on your counter to cool until it reaches 100 degrees.

6. NOTE: The optimal fermentation temperature for yogurt starter from Yogourmet is 100 to 110 degrees.

7. While waiting for it to cool, plug in the Yogourmet Maker and pour in enough water to reach the markings on the inside of the unit, about 1 cup. The unit and water will begin to warm to 100 – 110 degrees.

8. When the temperature is about 100 you are now ready to mix the starter into it. Get a measuring cup or small mixing bowl.

9. Empty one package (with the two pouches) of starter powder into the cup.

10. Add enough tablespoons of milk to the starter powder to make it dissolve into the milk without much lumpiness. Sometimes that’s not possible and it’s OK.

11. Pour the half gallon milk into a Yogourmet batch container.

12. Pour the starter powder and milk mixture into the batch container and stir so its all mixed together.

13. Put the lid on the batch container and put it into the Yogourmet Maker.

14. Wait 24 to 28 hrs for it to ferment.

15. When time is up, unplug the maker, take the container out and open it up.

16. You will see that it should be much thicker by now, maybe even some water on the surface, that’s all OK. The lid can get a lot of water on it so I shake it off in the sink.

17. Put the lid back on, and put into the fridge for at least 8 hours.

18. After time is up, stir the yogurt and enjoy!

NOTE: If you are trying this for your first time, start slow with a low dose. 1/4 teaspoon, once per day until you can tell if it’s safe for you to have or not. If you see symptoms of diarrhea worsen or feel flu symptoms of head and body aches, you may be experiencing what’s called a Herxheimer reaction [5].

You can either back off on the dose, go slower and lower amounts. Or you can try to use activated charcoal along with yogurt to minimize the side effects. The Herxheimer reaction should not last very long, a week or two at most.

As I said, there are many different ways to make yogurt, the goal here wasn’t to give you a long exhaustive post outlining all the various methods, but share what has worked for me and it’s a great place to start if you want to try making your own.

Flavor Ideas
If you don’t like the taste of yogurt, :/ you can flavor it with any or all of the following, be creative:

  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract (SCD legal)
  • banana
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • honey
  • whiskey
  • … just kidding about the whiskey!

My personal favs are cinnamon, vanilla extract and honey.