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More on yoghurt

Ever since we got our dairy cow, Bella, I've wanted to make raw milk yoghurt.  My early attempts were unsuccessful, I had problems with the milk splitting into curds and whey.  In the end I gave up and started to pasteurise the milk, which was very disappointing.  I posted a summary of the different ways I use to make yoghurt here.

Pateurising the milk involves heating it to nearly boiling (around 80 degC) in order to kill both pathogenic bacteria, and other beneficial bacteria in the milk that will compete with the yoghurt bacteria.  It also has the effect of denaturing enzymes that can cause the yoghurt to be runny.  As you're starting with more or less sterile milk, it makes the process of yogurt making easier and more repeatable, in fact, I've never had any problems with pasteurised milk yoghurt not working, however if the temperature gets too high during pasteurisation (ie if you get impatient, turn up the heat and turn around to do something else) you end up with solids in the milk, which kind of ruins the texture of the yoghurt (although you can then strain it - more here).  

By killing off the other bacteria and the enzymes in the milk, you get a more reliable yoghurt, but you miss out on those beneficial bacteria and enzymes that would have been good to eat too.  Hence my repeated attempts at making yoghurt from raw milk, especially because I read about it Marja Fitzgerald's "The Healthy House Cow" and she made it sound to easy!).  For some reason at the time I was doing this I couldn't find any advice on the internet, but then recently a couple of useful posts have come to my attention (and they're not new, so I don't know how I missed them before!).
  • Kitchen Stewardship - a method for making raw milk yoghurt using a "cooler" (or esky or chilli bin, see how I speak so many languages!) and a good discussion in the comments section.
  • Nourished Kitchen - a similar method, with more options for starters and ways to keep the yoghurt warm, and another great discussion in the comments section.
Finding these posts gave me another boost of inspiration, especially as many people described exactly the problem that I had and found solutions, found lovely tasty yoghurt even!  This clearly takes more effort to find the method that will work in your kitchen, with the equipment and milk you have access to.  I'll start trying to make raw milk yoghurt again when we have lots of milk to spare, so I can get it right this time!

Do you make yoghurt?  What method do you use?

Getting started with homestead dairy
Interview with myself
Interview with Mark and Kate from Purple Pear Permaculture
Interview with Kim from the Little Black Cow
Interview with Rose Petal
Interview with Marie from Go Milk the Cow
Interview with Ohio Farmgirl

If you want to know more about house cows, my eBook is available for purchase on Scribd.  Its only $4.99, and it includes lots of information about keeping a house cow in Australia.  There's more details about the eBook on my house cow eBook blog.  If you don't want to go through all the Scribd/paypal effort, just send me an email on eight.acres.liz at and I can arrange to email it to you instead.


  1. I think that is the greatest thing about the internet and blogging in general, we can learn so much more these days, I love it!!
    Good luck with your yoghurt making, its something I need to learn,,,not necessarily the raw milk version lol but just generally since I am in suburbia.

  2. oh to have easy access to raw milk. ALL PRAISE BELLA!

  3. although I guess milking every day might not necessarily be always classed as "easy"....... ;-)

  4. I use raw goat's milk with good success. You can see how on my blog. :)

  5. Thanks for the comments! I think it shows that there is a method of yoghurt making to suit every situation. Thanks for the link Mrs Z.

  6. We have been making raw milk yoghurt for about 8 years without any problems.

  7. To minimise effort we usually make about 10-12 litre batches with milk from a local dairy farmer. For the last 2-3 years we have been skimming the cream for butter making and using the skimmed milk for yoghurt. The only difference is a reduction in volume when drained. We use a 15 litre s/s container inside a 25 litre s/s container with water. because of the volume the temperature change is gradual. The starter is from Cheeselinks (CaBY) although some of there other types have been tried CaBY seems to have the maximum number of bacteria. The temperature varies between 39 and 43 C depending on how often someone checks the thermometer. Just don't leave the room once the gas burner is on otherwise you will be looking for a tub of cold water. The time varies from 8-12 hours and usually we just leave it overnight to cool down. My wife likes it thick like Labna while I prefer it not runny. This is achieved by draining through a cloth lined sieve and bottling when the consistency suits. It keeps quite well for about a month. The whey is used to soak grain for the chooks, best left soaking until the grain just germinates to maximise the benefit. The only time we had a problem was when making cheese simultaneously and I used the rennet contaminated ladle to stir the yoghurt.


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