When I first started making yogurt I used a cooler to keep the yogurt warm enough to incubate. Yogurt is pretty forgiving, but for GAPS and SCD we want to use up all the lactose in the milk so the temperature needs to be kept at an even 100 degrees for a full 24 hours. The Excalibur dehydrator has a temperature setting that can easily hold this temperature for you. With the trays pulled out, you can fit literally gallons of yogurt in the dehydrator at one time!
How to make Yogurt in the Dehydrator:
½-2 gallons milk (goat or cow, raw or pasteurized. Preferably raw and from cows or goats eating fresh pasture)
1 quart cream (optional)
Yogurt starter. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet requires a yogurt starter with only acidophilus, on the GAPS diet plain high quality yogurt from the health food store can be used as the starter.
In a stock pot, heat milk gently on medium heat, stirring approximately every 10 minutes, until milk is close to a boil. Cover, remove from burner, and allow to cool until the yogurt is comfortable to the touch, 90-110* F.
Make sure the yogurt is not too hot at this stage, or you will kill the good bacteria that are going to make your yogurt into milk. Place yogurt starter in the warm milk and whisk or stir to distribute evenly.
Pour milk with starter into the glass jars, if you’re using quart sized jars, they do fit in the 5-tray dehydrator you just have to tilt them to get them in there.
Cover, and shake to distribute culture even more. Place covered jars in the dehydrator, and turn to 100 degrees for a full 24 hours.
Yogurt is now done and should be kept in the refrigerator.
Miscellaneous yogurt tips:
- Do you miss the grab-and-go yogurt cups from the grocery store? It’s so simple to just pour your milk mixture into small individual size jars before incubating! Then just stack them in the dehydrator. We have both 4 ounce and 8 ounce jars for this purpose- so cute! These, and any size jar (I’ve done half gallons sideways in the dehydrator too) all take 24 hours.
- Whenever you’re concerned about immune function, whether it’s during the winter when sickness is going around or during any stressful time, add just a few dried elderberries to your finished yogurt, the whey in the yogurt will plump them up a little and they’ll turn the yogurt a pretty pink!
- The #1 reason yogurt fails is if it’s too hot when you put the starter in. If the heat kills the starter, it can’t culture! The second thing that gets me is if my fresh (raw) milk is old- then it will separate into curds and whey all too often. I try to use it within 3-4 days of receiving it, knowing that it may have been in the fridge a few days before it was delivered to my milk drop. Fresh milk from healthy cows is safe to drink after that, it just tends to turn to curds and whey for me when I try to make it into yogurt :)
- Raw yogurt (not heated above 115 degrees)- I have never had success with this! If you have, can you leave tips in the comments? Heating the milk on the stove isn’t the same as industrially pasteurizing it, it heats slowly so it doesn’t change the protein structure. Though it does lose the enzymes and friendly bacteria found in raw milk.
- If curds and whey do form, that’s okay, save the curds as yogurt cheese and the whey for your cultured veggies.
- Another way to make yogurt cheese is with a coffee filter.
Do you make yogurt? I love to! It’s a great way to save money too, with the cost of the finished yogurt being virtually just what you paid for milk!