How to make Yogurt at home using Raw Milk

By DK on Jun 03, 2013
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
If you are an Indian, especially a South Indian - then a day does not pass without you having eaten yogurt.  It forms a part of our meal and our typical day to day menu is finished with yogurt (not dessert). When I first came to the US, I couldn't digest the fact that Yogurt was not a part of a meal here, leave alone having a daily presence. It amuses me to see Probiotics capsules and pills adorning the shelves of all the stores (P.S This amusement is not directed to people with specific requirements like No Dairy diet, Vegans etc, but for those who opt for it inspite of being able to afford/digest yogurt).
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
But it also made me realise how I took humble yogurt for granted back in the days in India."Curd" [in Indian English], "Dahi" [in Hindi], "Thayir" [in Tamil], "Perugu" [in Telugu], "da'i [in Bengali], "Mosaru" [in Kannada] enjoys a grand reception in India and no meal is complete without some yogurt preparation. Every family makes their own yogurt and I never heard of store bought yogurt until well into my 20's.  I remember my mother buying yogurt (in small earthen pots) only 2 times and that too 'cos of dire emergencies.  Oh yes, if you don't have enough yogurt at home, its indeed an emergency.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
It took me quite a while to start making my own yogurt in the US and now that I have, I desist the ones from the store.

Points worth knowing
  1. Type of Milk: The type of milk you use [Goat Milk, Full fat milk, Pasteurized Milk, Homogenized Milk, Raw Milk, 2% Milk, 1% Milk, Fat free] will dictate how your yogurt will turn out.  The lower the fat, thinner the yogurt. 
  2. Is Thermometer Required: No. I have never known my mom or grandmothers to ever use one. The heat of the milk should be warm not hot. Feel it on your wrists before adding the yogurt to the milk.
  3. Can you use Slow Cooker (Crockpot) to make Yogurt: Yes, if your slow cooker can keep the milk temperature at 105-110F for around 6-8 hours.
  4. My Yogurt is thin, why?:  See Point 1.
  5. My Yogurt is not set - its still Milk. Help!: You probably used UHT (Ultra High Temperature) processed milk. Though at times, it still makes yogurt, I have had trouble with it.And/or You probably used a yogurt culture that did not have live cultures and/or had loads of additives (that's a norm in the US market). And/or You probably did not keep the milk at 105-110 F temperature or added the culture when the milk was too hot/too cold.
References

my kitchen notes (plus loads of online references)

Basic Information
Prep Time: 4 to 8 hours
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes 8 Servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups Raw Milk, See Tips
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt from the store or previous batch - See Tips
Tips
1. Raw Milk: Once you taste the yogurt made from Unpasteurized and unhomogenized (in other words Raw Milk), you will never buy yogurt from the store again. Extremely nutritious, extremely creamy and extremely delicious. If you think I am going overboard with the word "extremely", have to insist to let this yogurt do the talking for me. If you are not up to using the real deal yet and/or do not get it in your place, I would suggest using Vat Pasteurized Milk with Cream top (which is Unhomogenized Milk) instead. If even that is not available, use any milk of your choosing in this recipe. It will still make a decent yogurt.
2. Yogurt:Make sure to get the yogurt that is plain, unsweetened and addictive free with live cultures. Or ask a friendly Indian neighbor/Indian restaurant that makes its own yogurt for a little amount - most of us are generous with our homemade stuff ;). Or else, look for a Yogurt Starter (freeze dried powder) and use it as per the instructions in the packet.
Method
1
Heat the Raw milk to 110F. When heating it to just 110F, the Milk is still considered to be in its Raw state.

Note: It is not necessary to use Raw Milk for this recipe.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
2
If you are not comfortable using Raw Milk, you can either pasteurize it at home yourself or use an already pasteurized milk from the store. I would suggest using unhomogenized milk but you can still enjoy yogurt either ways (albeit with less fat and creaminess) - Please refer Tip 1 for more details.

Note: If you are using already boiled Milk, then make sure to bring down the temperature to 110F before the next step.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
3
I had some yogurt from my previous batch and hence used the same. Please refer Tip 2 for more details
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
4
Add it to the milk. Usually the amount of starter varies depending on the climate of the region. Back in India (esp. in the South), a wee little amount is only needed for a large batch of milk to make yogurt (which would set in like 5-6 hours before turning sour if you don't refrigerate it soon owing to humidity). If you are in colder regions with little or barely any humidity, you would require more starter. Ideally you would require around 1 tbsp starter to 1 cup raw milk.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
5
Stir and whisk it so that it dissolves and is well distributed  throughout.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
6
Close with a lid and keep it in a place where it's temperature is anywhere between 105F to 110F for it to incubate. I preheat the Oven for couple of minutes, switch it off and leave the pan inside it overnight. It takes around 6-8 hours to set.  [will take less in humid places and more in very cold places]
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
7
See that set yogurt with a yellow layer on top?.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
8
Because this milk is not homogenized, the cream rises to the top and is thick. This is the stuff that we used to fight for, back in home. It tastes -'oh so delicious'. This has chock full of beneficial bacteria to help your system get its act together.
How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Point to consider before making Raw Milk yogurt:
  1. Raw Milk Yogurt will be of thinner consistency when compared to Yogurt made using Pasteurized milk. This is because, pasteurization damages the proteins in the milk and the byproduct  of it leads to thicker yogurt.
  2. If you want thicker yogurt, I would recommend straining the yogurt using a cheesecloth to drain out some of the whey (yes, the liquid is whey) thereby leaving a thicker yogurt. Don't throw that precious precious whey away. Its magical liquid. Refer this link to see  How to use Whey.  Commercial method of thickening yogurt is by adding Dry Milk powder or Agar Agar (China Grass)/Gelatin or Tapioca Starch. I do not personally opt for these.

How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
Next time, you think of popping in some Pro biotic pills, consider making this natural powerhouse a staple in your house (of course, provided you can afford/digest yogurt). Your gut, your immune system - overall your whole being will thank you for it. How to make Yogurt at Home from scratch | Homemade Indian (Dahi ) Yogurt
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62 Responses to “How to make Yogurt at home using Raw Milk”
  1. Adam

    Hi, at what point do u strain it to make the yoghurt thicker when using raw milk?
    How is it best done?

  2. yoghurt.made.by.monks.in.olden.times

  3. Unemaman

    Reply to Liju.I did yogurt from milk powder when I was in Africa. Whatever quantity of powder you have you will need 1 and 1/2 quantity of water regardless of the volume. To make it easier I put the powder in a container, I marked it and then I use the same container to do the 1 and 1/2 measurement.
    Bring that water to boil especially to kill germs.
    Let it cool a little bit and add the powder. Stir until smooth then add culture.
    Then cover it. I use a comforter or a warm sheet to wrap the whole pot. Then I put it on a dry an dark place in the house for 7 to 8 hours.
    ***I use a pot that is used only to heat water or milk.

  4. Liju

    Iam an Indian, now iam in philiphines, here yogurt is not available, and even fresh milk also not available in my city. so kindly advice, how i can make yogurt with milk powder.

  5. uday

    :( hai friends…how to make fresh curd if you dont have old curd(saved from last batch).kindly please help me..

  6. Mechef145

    I prepare my yogurt in a clay pot in just 3 easy steps which I learned form the website where I got my clay pot from. I was so easy that I got it the first time we tried it. More over preparing it in clay pot is much healthier and easy. No need to keep a watch on it and most important no fear of metal getting into your food. The post are 100% natural clay and hand crafted in USA. Here is a link to their website “http://miriamsearthencookware.com/categoryclay-pot-recipeshow-to-make-homemade-yogurt-in-claypots/”

  7. Amanda

    I am from Malaysia. There was once I accidentally left the raw milk, unheated one which I bought from an Indian shop in the kitchen for 3 days. Then, I discovered that a very thick layer formed on top leaving the liquid at the bottom and it tasted exactly like yogurt even without adding any yogurt starter. However, I threw it away as the Indian told me to boil it before consuming it. Now, I just wonder is it safe to consume? Can you please advise me? Thank you.

    Raw milk would not spoil but would get sour. So the next stage would have been that of Kefir and then it would have naturally turned into yogurt. I dont know what stage it was in, but you could easily make “Cream Cheese” with it. You can make cream cheese when the milk turns into a runny yogurt consistency – takes anywhere between 24 hours to 2 days depending on the climate of raw milk left at room temperature. Drain using cheesecloth and that cream is the cream cheese. Don’t throw away the drained liquid – whey is pure gold. –DK

  8. WildCookie

    There are a lot of types of cultures and you can perpetuate any type you like when making homemade yogurt as long as you save some yogurt from one batch to make the next batch (and don’t let it get too old). I make a gallon of yogurt every week with the Brod and Taylor folding proofer. It’s so much better than other small-container yogurt makers and more reliable than other scrabble-together methods (pilot light, crock pot, etc). Their method makes the yogurt come out nice and thick–I use raw milk. It’s sort of an expensive appliance at $148 but it doesn’t take long to pay for itself if you eat a lot of yogurt (plus I use it for making bread). Anyway, I’d recommend this highly. http://brodandtaylor.com/custard-style-yogurt-recipe/

  9. baljit dosanjh

    i make yogurt with i cup full cream milk powder/3 cup water warm water mix powder,then add some yogurt after 4 hour it will be ready,it tasty than to make with milk .must try this. i love it

  10. MC

    I am very excited to make this yogurt! I am American born, but have studied/somewhat practiced Ayurveda and Yoga for more than 10 years. I just moved to a state that allows for Cow-coop and just purchased a share in the herd. First gallon of raw milk is SO SO delicious! I grew next to my aunt’s dairy farm and always had raw milk as a child. It is really true that once you’ve had raw you can never enjoy pasturized. All my adult life I have avoided milk… just doesn’t taste right and is upsetting to my system. This milk has had no ill effects and I’ve been very eager to implement more Ayurvedic principles and a deeper yogic diet.

    Its unfortunate to be in a situation when I have to say it, but isnt the “real thing” just so life giving? Cannot pinpoint a specific reason – but you know that “its just the thing!” :) –DK

  11. helene

    I could only get raw frozen milk…Does it still have the beneficial ‘stuff’ and can I make yoghurt from it?

  12. Hazel

    Hi DK do you know if it’s possible to make yogurt with breastmilk? I’ve have been making yogurt using pasteurized milk and uht milk with the slow cooker. Last night I tried using breastmilk but the yogurt didn’t set. It was still very watery. Is it still safe for my baby to consume? Thank you!

  13. sizie

    I agree with you Radha. And my mom makes “curd” like yogurt with store bought yogurt just fine. If you use milk with more fat, I think that does the work. Greek yogurts are most similar to indian curd you are talking about. So may be you can use greek yogurt with whole milk or even half and half. You will see the result. Also I always use glass container.

  14. Radha

    American yogurt is not like Indian yogurt as one commenter wrote in this thread, Indian yogurt uses a different kind of bacteria. In India we don’t say yogurt but curd because it suggests a how the Indian version is denser and thicker. In America they refer to curd as the solids from cheese making, but in India curd is similar to yogurt but its not yogurt. Its different and we don’t have an accurate word for it. Sliminess is usually due to wrong culture, or unwanted bacteria. It can come from poor quality yogurt, maybe contaminated spoon or vessel, maybe the air, or milk that is to be repasteurized again to remove it. Maybe there is also something wrong with the sugars in the milk, and the bacteria is having trouble converting those sugars, like the lactose sugars perhaps? This is my opinion from what I’ve read.

  15. sizie

    the “slimy” texture is not due to American store bought yogurt that you use for culture. I have made it with store bought yogurt several times, it works just fine.

  16. Radha

    :-P many Indians complain the American yogurt cultures from american store bought yogurt cause this sliminess so they try to get the culture from other Indians. Never use the slimy yogurt throw it out immediately. It could also be something with the brand of milk you used.

  17. :twisted: Dear chef in you, could u pls tell me that why does the curd smtimes becomes slimy and falls like strands of thread frm the spoon?????? :oops:

  18. please can you help me find a yogurt making machine

  19. Sizie

    I love making yogurt! It tastes so good and you can also add/not add sugar, honey or any flavor you like.
    What I do is boil the milk for few minutes and let it cool until I can dip a finger in it. I then mix yogurt and cover the container with blankets for like 6-8 hours. It turns out good every time. You do not want to keep it warm for too long or it will turn little sour.

  20. Hi
    Really enjoyed your inspiring article, i spent 3 months in india last year enjoying indian curd daily made my own last night using raw goats milk Superb.. But i have rather a lot please how long can i store in fridge im a great believer that that nothing need be thrown away :lol:

  21. Radha

    You don’t need starter to make yogurt, it can ferment naturally from the yeast in the air itself. When we make dosa we don’t use starter. the air itself will provide the micro organisms to ferment it. Some know how to make yogurt like this.

  22. mull upon this

    sowmya I believe beers first fermentation was brought about thru egyptians spitting it back out to provide natural yeasts. Perhaps yogurt was the spitting of raw milk back in the day ? What came first the chicken, or the egg ? Foods for thought, no pun intended

  23. zahid

    Is there any good way to stock the yogurt starte for a long period of time? Can I freeze some of my yogurt and then use it to make more yogurt at a later time? Thank you.

  24. mom of many

    (Luban)….my husband can not digest milk, so he puts this yogurt in cereal! our family is of Lebanese decent and couldn’t live without this:-)

  25. sowmya

    Hi..i have a doubt that I have been mulling upon. How do u make yogurt/curd if u dnt hve curd from the previous batch. How was the first ever yogurt made? Any thoughts on that?

  26. radha

    In india which vessel your family uses to ferment the milk? I think it was unglazed clay….not metal. I think the metal is causing it to be like cheese.

    when milk comes out of cow udder it is naturally hot.

  27. Therese

    So “RAW at 110 degrees” to you means which of these: all / many / much / some
    of the good bacteria and enzymes survived the heating?

  28. Therese

    If the milk is raw and you heat it to make the yogurt, are you not killing the beneficial
    ingredients of the raw milk? I am really eager to try your recipe!

    I mention it in the post – milk heated upto 110 (only) is still raw –DK

  29. Beth

    Dear Yogurt Maker, Thank you for the recipe and instructions. My mother used to make all of the yogurt we ate growing up and I remember the oven always being full of her fresh yogurt. She always called the process “yogurting.” lol Anyway, thanks. I am going to try this myself. Best wishes, Beth

  30. candice

    So to be more specific, the yogurt got too hot and has separated into whey and thick cheesy stuff. Is it still usable?

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