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How To Make Greek Yogurt Using Raw Milk

Preview: Learn How to Make Greek Yogurt Using Raw Milk. Follow along with this picture tutorial. The instructions are for making regular yogurt and Greek yogurt.

No cows hang out in my backyard or the back forty. Raw milk is not available commercially in my town, but my son and daughter-in-law are in love with yogurt made with raw milk. They encouraged me to try it.

I may be entering treacherous territory. Recently I’ve had several inquiries about making Greek yogurt with raw milk (unpasteurized milk) on my Homemade Greek Yogurt post, so I decided to try it just so I can say I did.

homemade Greek yogurt, raw milk, strained

Please note:  As a home economist, I’m not advocating adding raw milk to your diet. It’s a controversial practice not advised by the USDA. I encourage you to do your own research.

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    Why do I need to heat the milk?

    I have read that some people don’t heat their raw milk to 175 degrees in the beginning either because they want to save time or because they don’t want to kill certain bacteria. After doing side by side experiments, I have concluded that whether raw or pasteurized, milk which has not been heated to 175 degrees results in a rather thin yogurt. (Please see this recent interview with my daughter-in-law for her experience making yogurt without first heating the milk.)

    High heat helps to unravel the proteins which aid the yogurt-making bacteria. I don’t like to drink my yogurt, and I’m not comfortable letting unheated raw milk sit at 100 degrees for 12 hours. So, I stick with the method that calls for high heat, then a cool-down, before adding yogurt starter.

    As it turns out, making Greek yogurt with raw milk is exactly the same process as pasteurized milk. What follows is a condensed tutorial. If you still have questions, check out my original post on making yogurt for more details.

    How to make Greek yogurt with raw milk:

    Heat the milk.

    a clean, microwave-safe bowl and milk
    Use a clean, microwave-safe bowl like this 2-qt Pyrex dish.
    heating raw milk
    cooling milk in a bowl of ice
    Allow the milk to cool on the counter or speed the process by setting in ice.

    Second:

    Allow the milk to cool.

    taking the temperature of the milk

    Third:

    Add a starter.

    adding starter

    Fourth:

    Incubate.

    adding starter
    Whisk well, cover loosely, and set in a warm place. (100-110 degrees)

    Once you prepare your yogurt by heating it, cooling it and adding a starter, find a place in your house to incubate your yogurt.  See this post for more ideas about how to accomplish incubation.

    Now go away!  DO NOT DISTURB!!!!!!

    If you peek, you will let some of the heat escape.  If you move or stir, you will most likely end the incubation process and no more thickening will occur.

    After 10-12 hours, go to the next step. If you are not available at that time, it is OK to let it incubate up to 24 hours based on my own experience.  In general, the longer you incubate, the tangier the yogurt.

    See the pictures below for an example of what your yogurt should look like when it has finished incubating.  We made three batches using different milk in each.  The pasteurized skim milk was the thickest followed by the raw skim milk. The thinnest yogurt was the raw whole milk. 

    comparing yogurt, pasteurized milk was the thickest
    Pasteurized nonfat milk was the thickest.
    comparing thickness of skim raw milk
    Raw skim milk was thinner.
    comparing thickness of raw whole milk
    The raw whole milk was the softest.

    Fifth:

    Strain yogurt.

    You could eat your yogurt at this point– once it has been chilled, but if you prefer Greek yogurt as I do, proceed.

    straining raw whole milk to make Greek yogurt
    whey collected from yogurt
    Whey drained from yogurt
    whisking yogurt
    showing shiny yogurt after whisking
    See how smooth and shiny our yogurt turned out. It will be even thicker when chilled.

    If you chill the yogurt before straining, it’s possible you won’t need to use a cloth to line your strainer if your strainer is fine enough.  After 1-3 hours (your choice, depending on the yogurt itself and how thick you like it),  set the drained whey aside for other purposes and whip the remaining yogurt with a whisk.  Use some muscle behind that whisk, and you will be rewarded with creamy yogurt.

    Add flavorings before or after chilling.  Enjoy!


    Pin the picture below to save for later.

    raw milk, Greek yogurt, How to make, DIY,

    If you run into difficulty, leave your question in the comment section.

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    ben

    Thursday 19th of October 2017

    Assuming raw milk has some good bacteria not normally found in pasteurized milk...

    I'd love to make some yogurt using a mixture of any and all raw milk I can find (goat, cow, sheep, camel, etc), but I wonder if the bugs would play nice together? For example would one type of colony crowd out the rest when heated to make the yogurt?

    Also, Mad Cow disease is so scary, is there any way to lower the number of potentially bad germs?

    Paula

    Thursday 19th of October 2017

    Ben,

    I'm not a food scientist so don't feel qualified to answer your question. So sorry. paula

    Urania

    Friday 4th of September 2015

    You say that you are"not comfortable letting unheated raw milk sit at 100 degrees for 12 hours" but with raw milk to does not go bad. It just gets more and more sour. Raw milk is a living thing. I know someone who left raw milk out for several weeks to see what would happen. It never went bad.

    Andrea

    Saturday 17th of November 2012

    Thanks for the info! A lot of people say that it is a complete waste to use raw milk if you will be pasteurizing it, but here in California the raw milk we can get comes from 100% grass fed cows, which to me is better milk than the stuff from grain fed cows. I think that the fat in the grass fed milk is of better quality.. Opinions?

    Susan Hagen

    Friday 10th of August 2012

    My naturopathic doctor has cautioned me to not use the microwave for any food (now I use it to kill bacteria in a sponge). She says it changes the molecular structure of food and kills any nutritional value to it. Basically the food becomes a stomach filler but has no value to it. If you have not heard this before, research it online. Most of the Real Food websites do not recommend them. I started reheating food on the stove or in the oven, and it really does have more flavor to it.

    jen

    Saturday 28th of July 2012

    wow. thanks for the how-to! i'm a bit confused though - this seems so simple, so why are there 'yogurt makers'? i was going to buy one on amazon, but it looks like it really isn't needed-?