Yogurt is one of my favorite parts of the SCDiet. So creamy and rich. If you have some already made, it’s a very quick snack. Making the SCD yogurt becomes a ritual repeated every few days. It’s easy to eat 2 cups per day of this wonderful food, which means you end up making more every 2-3 days. I decided to include here some tips and advice on making yogurt.
How to make SCD yogurt
Over at Pecanbread there is a great step-by-step tutorial with pictures included on how to make goat milk yogurt using the Progurt starter.
Over at Breaking the Vicious Cycle there is a step-by-step tutorial on making yogurt with a heating pad.
Here is what I do (click on images for larger size):
1. Pour 2 liters of whole milk into a large pot on the stove. Insert a food thermometer (or candy thermometer) and cover pot.
2. Heat milk to 180F over medium heat and stir at the end to ensure the milk is heated evenly.
3. Set the pot aside uncovered and let the milk cool to 100F. You can cover with a clean cloth or paper towels if you wish but I find it unnecessary.
4. When milk has cooled to 100F, skim off the top layer of cream scum and discard. I used to mix this in, but noticed I had more cases of spoiled yogurt. I think it’s safer to discard.
5. Put your starter in a bowl.
6. Spoon a bit of milk into the bowl and mix.
7. Add more milk to the bowl and mix.
8. Add the starter + milk mix back into the large pot of milk and mix thoroughly.
9. Pour milk + starter into jars using a ladle.
10. Place sealed jars in a yogurt maker. Leave for 24 hours.
Note: You want the yogurt to be between 105-115 during the entire 24 hour period. Some yogurt makers heat too much, so be sure the first few times you are making it to check on the yogurt with a thermometer. Check after 3 hours then again another 8 hours later. If it is getting too hot, you can buy a dimmer switch (Walmart, Canadian Tire, anywhere that sells light switches) and reduce the power to the yogurt maker. Play around with it until you get the perfect setting.
Equipment I use to make SCD yogurt
I used to use a Yogourmet yogurt maker which holds up to 2 liters. You pour some water into the outer container, place your milk + starter in the inner container, put the lids on and plug it in. I highly recommend getting the glass jug insert for this yogurt maker instead of using the plastic one. I could never find the glass insert so I ended up buying a different yogurt maker altogether.
I now use the Yolife Yogurt Maker that I bought online. It’s a fair price compared to the Yogourmet and comes with individual jars that only hold about 1.5 quarts. The Yolife comes with two plastic dome covers, one for use with the Yolife jars, and a taller one so you can use your own jars. I end up using my own 1 litre glass jars in this to make 2-3 liters at a time. You might need a dimmer switch with this one as it tends to heat up more than the Yogourmet did for me.
I don’t recommend 1 liter yogurt makers simply because they will not make enough in one batch. It may be fine to start out with but you will quickly ‘out grow’ it and want something larger. I have used a very old Braun 1 liter yogurt maker from my grandparents (my mom is now using that) and it works well but just isn’t big enough.
The Excalibur dehydrator is another great option for making big batches of yogurt (and other delicious snacks like dried fruit, beef jerky etc). If I’m making a big batch (more than 3 liters) I will use my 9-tray dehydrator with the bottom 7 racks removed. I use the 2 top racks for dehydrating food at the same time. I put three 1 liter jars with my milk + yogurt starter on the bottom of the dehydrator. I set the dehydrator to just under 105F which keeps the yogurt at a perfect 108F. This method kept my yogurt at the most consistent temperature compared to the two yogurt makers I have used. You could easily fit four 1 liter mason jars in there to make a gallon at a time.
Other things you’ll need are a thermometer (co
mes with Yogourmet package), a big pot to heat the milk on the stove, and a 24-hour timer is great.
For starter I use Yogourmet Freeze-Dried Yogurt Starter which comes in little packets separated into 1/2 batches so you can make 1 or 2 liters at a time.
I used whole (3.25%) goat’s milk for a long time. This turns out runnier than whole cow’s milk, however I do believe that goat’s milk is healthier and easier to digest. If you can find a good quality organic goat milk that is not extra-homogenized then it might be better than organic cows milk. What I found is that the goat milk I was using was actually more processed than a different brand of organic cow milk so I switched back to cow. If you’ve ever had problems with the SCD yogurt using cow’s milk, give goat’s milk a try.
I always suggest using whole milk instead of skim or 2% for the taste and health benefits of the fat. I highly recommend organic non-homogenized and raw if possible. Non-homogenized (and raw) milk will make a creamier, thicker, and tastier yogurt. The least processed milk, the best.
I can’t believe no one has come up with some sort of contraption to drip yogurt easily, with an easy clean-up. There are a few options when dripping yogurt, but it’s like choosing the least worst of them!
Currently the best method I have found is using large coffee filters from a kitchen store (in the commercial section, these are large coffee filters that coffee shops use). Regular sized coffee filters only fit about 2 cups maximum of yogurt. A large one will fit at least 4 cups. Place the large coffee filter in a strainer and set over a bowl. Dump the yogurt in the filter and leave it. If you want it very thick, leave it 8 hours or more. If you’re using cow’s milk, a couple hours should be sufficient. When I make 2 liters of yogurt, I can drip it all at once using 2 coffee filters and strainers. Getting the yogurt out of the filter is pretty easy. If it’s thick enough you can simply scrape it off the filter. If it’s not thick, you can scoop most of it out with a spoon and then scrape down the sides. Clean-up is minimal. I remove the coffee filters and lightly wash the strainers and bowls.
There’s also a yogurt cheese maker by Donvier which will make very thick yogurt. However, it is quite small and you’ll have to drip it in many batches. I have never used one so I’m not sure how you get the yogurt out of it when it’s dripped and what clean-up would be like.
The Yogourmet maker comes with a nut milk bag for dripping the yogurt. This worked very well and dripped it until thick (plus you can speed up the process by squeezing the bag every now and then) but getting the yogurt out of the bag is quite messy. Also, I wasn’t convinced the bag would last long, as cleaning it thoroughly seemed to wear down the fabric and it just felt grungy.
There’s also cheesecloth available at most grocery stores. You can line a strainer with that instead of coffee filters. Make sure to use many many layers of cheesecloth or the yogurt will run through. You can also use a clean cotton cloth. If I used cloth I would replace it every now and then to make sure you’re using a clean one.
When dripping goat yogurt, expect to get a lot of liquid out. For 1 liter of goat yogurt, I would get 2 cups of whey liquid and 2 cups of thick yogurt after leaving it drip overnight (in the fridge). You can leave it dripping for less time and have a slightly less thick yogurt.
Fow whole cow’s milk yogurt, I usually don’t bother dripping unless I’m making my Tzatziki sauce. Then I will drip about 2 1/2 cups of yogurt down to 2 thick cups of yogurt.
Flavours to add to the Yogurt
Honey! This is your first friend. Homemade yogurt is quite tart. Honey will sweeten it and cut the tartness. This is one reason why I like to drip my yogurt. When you add honey and mix it up, it will get slightly more liquid. Starting with a thick yogurt is best.
Berries are an obvious choice since that’s what we’re used to from commercial yogurts. However, on the early stages of the SCDiet you may not be able to tolerate having raw fruit. One way around this is to add a small amount of 100% fruit juices. I drip my yogurt until very very thick and then add honey and a tablespoon of fruit juice. This will add tons of flavour and give the texture of yogurt. Knudsen’s Just Juice line is great and Welch’s Grape Juice is quite sweet. Juicing your own fruit is an option as well.
Banana and avocado are good options early on in the diet if you’re going to add whole raw fruit. You can do a smoothie using these fruits, dripped yogurt and a bit of honey.
More advanced SCDers can try some dried fruit. Place dried fruit in the yogurt at night. In the morning, the dried fruit will have absorbed some of the liquid and become plumped up. I have tried this with dried blueberries and raisins. It was delicious!
Some people add vanilla or cinnamon to their yogurt as well to add more flavour. I’m a bit lazy and haven’t tried this yet, but maybe someday soon I will. Make sure you’re using SCD legal vanilla.
My SCD Truffles Recipe made with dates instead of honey is a good unbaked crumble to have on top of yogurt, pictured here with some blueberries.
When using goat milk, be patient and heat it slowly. A few times I have rushed the heating process (putting the stove element on max) and ended up heating the milk too high (above 185F). This makes the goat milk separate and you end up with the texture of sand in water. It’s very gross, so be patient with the first step of yogurt making.
Make more yogurt than you think you will need. Yogurt keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge with all the good probiotics, 3 weeks without as much probiotic effect. Chances are once you are eating 1 or more cups per day you will be going through yogurt quickly. Just
make a lot and get on a schedule of picking up milk and yogurt starter.
Keep (or buy) glass jars of various sizes. 1 liter jars are great for keeping the yogurt. 1 or 2 cup jars are great for transporting yogurt to work. I bought nut butter in 1 and 2 cup glass jars for a while and kept all the jars.
If you want to freeze the yogurt, it will lose some of it’s probiotic effect, but is not completely wasted. All I can suggest here though, is to freeze dripped yogurt, not liquidy yogurt. I froze my yogurt when liquid and it turned out even more watery and separated into yogurt specks suspended in water. I think dripped yogurt would hold together better when thawing out.