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SCD Yogurt Tips

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.

Yogurt Starter
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.

Milk
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.

Dripping yogurt
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.

More tips
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.

Kat

I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.

47 Comments

  1. To be honest I haven’t had homemade cow’s milk yogurt. I think SCD yogurt in general tastes different from commercial ones so I’m not sure I could compare them. My mom has had both SCD goat and cow yogurt and says it tastes different. If you’ve had any goat cheese before, it tends to have a certain flavour to it. The yogurt has that a little bit too. I love it, it’s worth trying.

  2. HI Kat,
    Thanks for all of your recipes etc..they’ve been very helpful.
    Has anyone tried making the brownies using sunflower seed butter? Sunbutter makes an organic sunbutter that tastes pretty good. We used it pre SCD with flour and egg replacer to make pb brownies.
    Also, Progressive makes yogurt strainers- come in a pkg of two 16 oz strainers. Item # is lgys-53; said made for Progressive International Corp in Seattle, WA. I got them from a kitchen store a while ago..
    hope that helps

  3. I haven’t seen the Progessive strainer and a search online didn’t show anything either. Do you know of a website that sells them? And do you know if they have bigger ones? I’m using coffee filters that hold about 4-5 cups each right now.

    The sunflower seed butter would probably work great in place of nut butter. Try it carefully though, I think on SCD seed butter is considered a more advanced food than nut butter.

  4. Hi Kat,

    Wanna try yr yogurt recipes. Could you help me to buy yogourmet yogurt
    maker and its starter. I can transfer to your bank account. just give whole detail (price & ship rate using UPS or DHL).
    Actually, i can buy it through online store, but i prefer personally in order to minimize custom fee cause i can treat the package as a gift from friend (not as commercial deal). 🙂

    Fyi, I’m from Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

    Rgds,
    atinurpatriani@bdg.centrin.net.id

  5. Hi Ati,
    Unfortunately I had to order mine online as well and I would suggest doing that. If I ordered it here I would pay shipping, taxes, and duties, so it wouldn’t be worth it for me to order it and ship it to you. It’s only a one-time expense really, so I hope you do consider buying one. It’s so good even my mom (not on SCD) is making her own yogurt.

    Goodluck!
    Kat

  6. Hi Kat, I just finished my first batch of goat yogurt. I also have used the Yogourmet Freeze-Dried starter. It is much runnier than the two batches of cow’s milk yogurt I have made in the past (which I did not tolerate at all). Checking for uniform runniness, i scooped down to the bottom of the container to see how it was down there. I have found slightly more coagulated lumps which looked a tiny bit more promising. The goat yogurt tastes great, I love it. Is it bad to consume the yogurt when it is this runny? Is being runny a real problem and detrimental to the individual with digestive problems? And I’m curious what your goat yogurt consistency is. Thank you.

  7. My goat’s yogurt has always turned out quite runny. I drip mine and get about 2 cups thick goat yogurt/cheese from 4 cups of prepared goat yogurt. If you don’t mind it runny then it’s fine to eat it like that. I just prefer the thick consistency after dripping it.

  8. How about we find out how the Donvier product works, then make something bigger on the same principal to hold 2 quarts.

  9. Hi Bill,
    Can you make one? Lol, I would buy it 😉
    Actually lately I have been using half n’ half cream for my yogurt, so I don’t drip it because it’s already thick. For whole milk or goats milk though, it would still be something I’d invest in.

  10. i use the donvier "yogurt cheese maker" & it works GREAT, and is dishwasher safe, so i just throw it in the dishwasher after scooping out the thickened yogurt & pouring the whey into jars. but i do dislike how small it is. it doesn't even hold an entire quart (it ALMOST holds a quart…close enough to drive me crazy). makes no sense since even commercial yogurt is sold in quart size… but the cleanup is far easier than cheese cloth, so that's what i use. 🙂

  11. Hi Kat – This is a great site. Thanks for all the helpful info. I am just into making my very first batch of yogurt for my Crohn's daughter who is only 9. I hope, after all this effort, that she actually eats it. I guess I will have to play around with add-ins to figure out how to flavor it to her liking. I see you mentioned adding Welch's grape juice to it. She "might" like that. Do you use only the grape juice or do you also add honey to it for additional sweetness?

    Also, what is everyone doing with the liquid whey? Can this be consumed by someone with Crohn's? Is it gross? Does it have any other uses or are most pouring it down the drain?
    Thanks!

  12. I would only add the grape juice, no honey. The juice is more than sweet enough.

    I use whey sometimes when making sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. However a lot of times I just end up pouring it down the drain. If you're just starting with yogurt, start with dripped yogurt which is better tolerated and try the whey later.

    Good luck!

  13. Hey Kat – just wondering why you keep buying starter? Can't you just use a few teaspoons from your previous batch to start the new batch?

    Also, I'm wondering how much it matters if the Yogourmet heats up a little too much (above 110). Do you think it makes that much difference? (My housemate, an ex-GAPSster, is convinced it's not a big deal and he makes yogurt regularly.)

  14. I did try that for a while. It would work for one or two iterations. Then I would start to have symptoms again, mostly bloating and pain. So I stopped trying. I think if you aren't sensitive to milk, it might be ok to use yogurt as a starter. I like the consistency of using a powdered starter.

    Also I tend to run out completely of yogurt before making another batch. I don't know if I would have the will power to not eat the yogurt that was meant to be starter for the next round.

  15. Thank you, Kat! We've just started the SCD and yours is the most clear info I've found about making yogurt! Thank you again for posting this. I look forward to reading some more of your posts.

  16. What is the brand name of the candy thermometer you bought? I’d like to purchase a similar one to make my yogurt with since the ones (including the electronic ones) tend to break easily.

  17. @Chrissy The candy thermometer came with the Yogourmet yogurt maker. You can find them at Walmart too, for under 5$. I don’t think brand would matter much on these, they’re pretty simple so I couldn’t imagine one breaking too easily.

  18. Hello ~

    I just came upon you blog and it is so helpful! Thank you for the detailed post on making yogurt!

    This is my 1st time making SCD Yogurt and I have encountered a few
    problems…While heating the milk it started boiling at 175 but would never
    reach 180. After 8 min I turned it off. (Is this okay? Should I have turned it
    off when it started to boil even though the temp was not 180? ) I let it cool to
    110 and later realized it should have cooled to room temp. ( Did I kill the
    starter? ) I used a freeze dried starter and had a hard time getting it to
    dissolve. I put the milk with starter in the batch container and into the
    yogourmet yogurt maker. I checked the temp after a few hours and it was a little
    too hot so I added the dimmer switch and it became too cool, then too warm then I finally got it right! When it’s done is this batch worth saving or should I just start over?
    Maybe I could use this batch for cooking, baking or freezer foods such as popcicles/ smoothies? Any suggestions would be apprieciated.
    Oh, one more question…If I start out with 1/8 teaspoon when can I move to 1/2 and what is recommened per day? Thank you for your time. ~ Cheyanne

  19. @Cheyanne Boiling or 180F whichever comes first is fine, you can remove it from heat once it gets to that point. I find the freeze-dried starter is best dissolved in a small amount of milk using the back of a spoon to crush it against a bowl. Cooling the milk to any amount below 110F should be fine. Some suggest lower in the 70Fs to ensure all the bacteria survive and are not ‘shocked’ by the temperature change, but I have never had a problem with adding starter to 100-110F milk. First batch is tricky to get the dimmer switch right. Too cold is fine, just let it incubate longer, but too hot and the bacteria might be killed off (over 120F). If you tried it and are doing ok with it I would just continue using it. Increase the amount a little bit each day. Next batch you’ll find it goes much better.

    @Kevin Non-homogenized is always good. I found when I switched from homogenized to non-homogenized I had noticeable positive changes in my digestion. If you can get raw milk (non-pasteurized) that is great.

    @Sal Anything below 110F has worked in my experience. On Pecanbread they are advising lower to ensure absolutely all the starter bacteria survives. I haven’t noticed this ever being a problem at around 100F.

  20. I’ve read hundreds of posts about scd legal yoghurt, and they all recommend NO lid on the individual plastic or glass jars. You are the first I have seen using sealed jars.

  21. @Jasun I followed the original Breaking the Vicious Cycle online recommendations. It was shown covered by foil, but I just used the lids. I guess I got so used to doing that I never noticed others did it differently! It hasn’t seemed to be a problem to have the jars sealed. I’ve gotten consistently tart good yogurt each time.

  22. Kat – great post. About to try to make some 24 hour yogurt – is it necessary (or do you) boil the containers before you make the yogurt? I’m going to use the Yogourmet (have not gotten the glass insert yet) and I’m wondering if I need to run the inner container through the dishwasher or if washing with soap and water is sufficient. Also, did you ever try cracking the lid of the yogourmet instead of using the dimmer switch?

  23. @Amy When I had the Yogourmet I always just washed the plastic container by hand. I never boiled anything. I didn’t try cracking the lid no, I don’t know if that would be as consistent as a dimmer switch.

  24. Love your blog!
    Just came upon it while researching ideas of a friend’s adrenal fatigue issues.

    Regarding yogurt, I’ve been making mine for a couple years now and have found a very cost effective way to incubate the culture.
    After adding in the starter I simply put a lid on the pot and place it in a cooler or the oven with a heating pad on medium. It keeps the temp at 100-110 degrees and produces perfection each time.

    I, too, strain my yogurt to get a thick, creamy product. I use a designated cotton clth, strainer and bowl. I put it in the fridge for several hours and the result is a vey thick, cream cheese type of yogurt. I scoop it into a container and blend it to make it even silkier. I sometimes add a bit of the liquid back in if it needs it.

  25. Great blog – answers a lot of questions. I found that mixing a litre of sheep’s milk with a litre of goat’s milk gives a thicker tasty result than goat’s milk alone. Still not as thick as cow’s milk but thick enough that I don’t feel the need to drip it unless I want yogurt “cheese”. Here, in Toronto, sheep’s milk is often available at Sweet Potato on Dundas St. in the Junction. John

  26. Hi kat,
    thanks for the this very informative and helpful place on the internet. I just finished making scd yogurt for my 22 year old daughter who has struggled for 3 months after having C. diff from taking antibiotics for dental surgery. So…the yogurt is a little runny, not a big deal thought, but the taste is what I wonder about, very tart, is that normal? I used 2% milk and two 5 gram packs of yogourmet with with 5 cups of milk. I followed directions in the yogurt maker book, but increased time to 24 hours. I have been looking for comments on how the yogurt should taste but really haven’t noticed any on these websites.
    what do you think?
    thanks

  27. I’m definitely going to try this! I actually got here by trying to find out if I had broken a golden rule of the SCD by adding half a small pot of unsweetened Greek yogurt to my curry, and while it was store bought I do feel better now. I’m definitely going to try making my own yogurt, for cooking and eating. Do you just add honey/juice on cheat days?

  28. Hi there, just need to get my head around you using honey, even though you say you are sugar free on the SCD. I am new to all of this, can you please help me to understand? I thought honey was sugar. Thanks in advance.

  29. Hi kat, sure hope you havent given on this site. Many, including myself check in for any updates from you

  30. Hi,
    Really love this post. I making my third batch of goat milk yogurt now. Im wondering if you’ve ever used a commercial yogurt as a starter successfully? I cannot find the plain Dannon here in Toronto.
    Diana

  31. Hello. I am BRAND-spanking new to SCD. I am THISCLOSE to purchasing a Yogourmet Maker, but I live in Hawai’i and do not have air conditioning (no one does here, as it is not needed). I am concerned the pot will easily overheat in the summer. But my real question is regarding cottage cheese. I am a cottage cheese addict. I know that SCD eaters may eat DCCC, but is there a way to use the homemade yogurt and the DCCC to make a similar taste/consistency to regular cottage cheese? This is the ONE food item I am having trouble giving up. I’ve googled myself to death and haven’t come up with much. If you have any insight, I sure would appreciate it. 🙂 Mahalo!

  32. Hi just wanted to ask what are my best options for milk when all I can get is the high heat processed.

  33. This inspired me to try it. I used my Blendtec to heat 1 quart of half and half to only about 135F, then cooled it to ~110, pulsed in 1 packet of Yogourmet starter, cultured it in the yogurt maker for 24 hours. No sweetener (I’m a fan of tangy). After it set in the fridge overnight, i literally had thicker and tangier yogurt than I’ve ever seen. I dropped the container on the floor without the lid on, and nothing spilled. Maybe it’s very possibly cream cheese or something, but all I know is that it’s amazing in smoothies.

    • Oh, btw, the only half & half I could find close by was ultrapasteurized, and it still worked. Can’t wait to try this with higher quality h&h and see what happens (though I can’t imagine it really being any better, as far as my taste buds are concerned! 🙂

  34. Hi. I wanted to ask if you’re sure it’s safe to use the dimmer switch. The wattage specified on most dimmer switches are well below the wattage I typically see for the yogurt appliances.

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