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ManyTracks Homesteading 
Sue Robishaw

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Making Yogurt Without a Cow

How-to  ~  Ideas  ~  Inspiration
 From more than thirty years having a good time living a sustainable life
in the northwoods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Ideally you'd  have a nice milking cow for all your milk based desires, but it's few who can handle this route. However, a pretty good yogurt can be made quite easily from good quality powdered milk, and you don't have to deal with all those disposable plastic containers that you get when you buy ready-made yogurt from the store.

We get our powdered milk through the food coop and it is "low heat, spray processed" nonfat instant milk. This dry milk smells "fresh", unlike the typical grocery store varieties. If you don't already belong to a food coop you could check at a health food store for good powdered milk (and check around to find a food coop to join -- it's a great way to get good food in bulk packaging and lower prices).

There are a number of ways to make yogurt but this is how I've done it: Pour 2 cups hot water into a bowl Add 1 3/4 cups instant powdered milk Stir until dissolved Add 2 cups cold water Add a small jar of yogurt starter (half cup or so)

For your first batch buy a container of fresh plain yogurt from the store, a brand such as Dannon that has live cultures. After that you can use your own starter. Shake your starter up well first to "cream" it and it will be easier to stir into the milk.

Wash out your starter jar and other glass containers, pour in the milk mixture, put lids on the containers and set them in a warm place.

The working yogurt needs to stay around 100 degrees so try various spots until you find one in your house that will sustain the yogurt at that temperature. I've found a spot behind the woodstove that works fine for me (I only make yogurt in the winter). A friend puts his jars in a cooler with hot water in it, and that works for him.

Cover your jars with a cloth and leave all day or overnight -- 8 to 14 hours.

When it has yogged store it in a cool spot.

It's recommended to renew your starter every week, and if you use less starter (1/4 cup) it's supposed to take longer to yog but won't run out as fast. I use a little more than 1/2 cup (because that's the size of my starter jar), and I've often waited as long as three weeks between batches, and it always yogged just fine.

The idea of a small jar for your starter is to keep your starter separate, and clean, from the yogurt you'll be dipping your spoons into.

Additions to your yogurt are only limited by your imagination, your desires, and your resources. But remember, this is supposed to be a "healthy" food, so don't trash it with too much junk!

And once you have yogurt you can have Yogurt Cheese. Put the yogurt in a piece of muslin and hang it to drip over a bowl. Use it like you would cream cheese. Add chopped parsley and chives to make a good, mild spread. Or use it as a replacement for ricotta cheese in a Vegetarian Lasagna dish. Your cats won't mind having a bit either.

* * * * * *

Copyright 1997 by Susan Robishaw

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NEW!  "Homesteading Adventures" is now available as an eBook! Click on Book for More Info

updated 04/03/2014
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