24 Hour Sugar Free Homemade Yogurt
Yogurt and other cultured milk products date back to at least 6000 BC, when the first animals were domesticated. In those days, all milk was raw, and the natural enzymes and probiotics would culture the milk into a yogurt-like drink if left out in a warm environment. These days, one can still make homemade raw milk yogurt, which is delicious and incredibly nutritious, but that is not the subject of this recipe. Pasteurized milk or cream (in which all live enzymes and probiotic bacteria are destroyed) can be transformed into a live cultured state by the addition of a starter culture, to make yogurt.
Homemade 24-hour yogurt is suitable for those with lactose intolerance, because the long incubation period allows the starter culture time to eat all the lactose (sugar) in the milk.
First, gather your materials:
- Preferred: organic half and half. Acceptable: organic whole milk.
With half and half, the higher cream content provides fat-soluble vitamins crucial to health, and improves satiety with a source of slow-burning energy. It makes a thick yogurt, similar to greek yogurt. Make sure you do not buy ultra-pasteurized milk, as the proteins will be damaged and your body may mount an immune response. Trader Joe’s is the only place I can find organic half and half that is not ultra-pasteurized. More information on ultra-pasteurization here.
- Yogurt Starter or leftover yogurt from previous batch
- Yogurt maker or other incubation technique.
There are many ways to incubate yogurt, but in my experience, a yogurt maker is the least hassle. The procedure detailed below is based on using a yogurt maker – the outer container is an incubator and the yogurt goes in the 1/2 gallon inner container.
Next, make yogurt!
- Step 1: Pour 1/2 and 1/2 into pot
- Step 2: Heat until you reach 180F, stirring frequently. This is to kill any bacteria that can compete with the culture you will add. (Raw milk yogurt is a different process.)
- Step 3: Transfer pan into sink filled with water to cool to 110F (cooling it more does not hurt the yogurt so don’t worry if you forget about it). This takes about 20 min.
- Step 4: While waiting for yogurt to cool, put starter powder in inner container. Remember you only need about a quarter-sized mound.
Also, make sure your incubator has water filled up to the top of the tall indicator line.
- Step 5: Pour cooled yogurt into inner container, and put lid on inner container.
Place it in the incubator. It should float slightly. Plug in and wait 24 hours, give or take. 24 hours is the time it takes to remove almost all the lactose from yogurt, making it suitable for lactose intolerant individuals or those with dairy sensitivities.
- Step 6: After 24 hours, unplug, remove inner container, and portion yogurt into glass jars and refrigerate.
Add any ingredients you wish before eating, and enjoy! Feel free to contact me with questions.