Yogurt is one of the most accessible fermented foods you can eat, with a rich history going all the way back 6,000 years ago in Central Asia, most likely in Turkey. During that time, herdsmen preserved the milk harvested from their cattle in animal stomachs that contained probiotics. As a result, the milk became fermented, which provided them a wealth of health benefits.
Eventually, yogurt reached the United States in the 1700s through Turkish immigrants, but it only became widespread during the 1950s when the awareness of consuming organic and fermented foods was on the rise.1
Making your own yogurt is quite easy, but you need to follow the instructions below to the letter to yield high-quality results. The only two things you need are raw, grass fed milk and a yogurt starter culture. Once you have these two items, you can proceed with the fermenting process:
How to Make Fresh Homemade Yogurt
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 6 to 8 hours
- Add the milk in a pot, then heat to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes using a double boiler. Stir frequently.
- Cool the milk to 110 degrees while still stirring occasionally.
- Once cooled, add the packet of Kinetic Culture yogurt starter to the pot and stir well.
- Pour the mixture into the Kinetic Culture yogurt maker glass jars.
- Place the uncovered jars into your yogurt maker and cover the unit with clear lid. Set temperature to 110 degrees and set the timer.
- Let the yogurt culture for six to eight hours.
- Remove the jars from the unit, cover with lids and cool in the refrigerator overnight or at least six hours.
Here’s how to make Greek yogurt from your yogurt, once it’s finished fermenting in the yogurt maker:
- Stretch a piece of cheesecloth or clean tea towel over the top of a bowl and secure it in place with rubber bands to form a strainer.
- Open your cups of yogurt and carefully pour onto the strainer.
- Place the yogurt in the refrigerator and allow it to drain for at least two hours. The longer the draining time, the thicker your yogurt will be.
- Once it reaches your desired thickness, spoon yogurt back into individual serving jars or other storage container and refrigerate.
Fermenting the Milk Brings Out Nutrients That Are Essential for a Healthier Body
Throughout history, various cultures have used fermentation to help prolong the shelf life of their food. Asian cultures fermented vegetables such as cabbage, eggplant, cucumbers and onions, while European cultures consumed fermented dairy beverages such as kefir.
Interestingly, research has showed that these fermented foods can help your health as well. Fermented foods possess certain nutrients that are hard to find in other food sources. One example is vitamin K2, which can help with the proper formation of bones and lower your risk of arterial plaque buildup. These foods are also a good source of B vitamins, which can help your body maximize the energy it gets from the other foods you eat.2
Some of the benefits you can get from consuming fermented foods regularly include:
- Immune system boost — Probiotics actually play an important role in your health by protecting you against pathogens that may overwhelm your immune system. In one study, researchers discovered that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus can help protect against the effects of toxic heavy metals in children and pregnant women.3
- Brain health — Consuming yogurt may have a positive effect on your mental health. According to a study conducted by UCLA researchers, they noticed that those who consumed yogurt regularly exhibited improved emotional response in an emotion-recognition task.4
- Diabetes management — Evidence suggests that probiotics can help manage blood sugar levels. According to a 2016 meta-analysis, probiotic consumption may help lower insulin resistance in people who have type 2 diabetes, especially if the product consumed has multiple beneficial strains.5
Why You Need to Use Raw, Grass Fed Milk When Making Yogurt
Undoubtedly, the star of yogurt is its probiotics, which can provide you with numerous benefits that have been mentioned above. However, it’s important to consider the other equation of yogurt, which is the milk.
It’s important to use high-quality grass fed milk because it provides a good foundation for the healthy bacteria to grow and ferment. Furthermore, it’s simply a safer, healthier choice compared to pasteurized milk and other dairy products from cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Raw milk tends to have a slightly yellow color. That’s because it contains natural antioxidants that are found in the grass that cows consume. These natural carotenoids are actually a precursor to vitamin A. In addition, raw milk has the following benefits:
- Naturally occurring probiotics
- Various enzymes, growth factors and antibodies that can help boost your health in numerous ways
- Rich in healthy fats and proteins that are 100 percent digestible
- Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron
- Omega-3 fatty acids
How to Make Buttermilk from Yogurt
If you’re an avid fan of yogurt, you might be aware that it can be added to various foods or be used as alternatives to common ingredients, such as buttermilk.
While buttermilk is usually made with raw milk and a bacterial culture starter, you can also make your own by combining yogurt and filtered water. If a recipe you’d want to try requires this ingredient and you just can’t get some, here’s a recipe on how to make buttermilk using your own homemade yogurt:
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh homemade yogurt
- 1/2 or 1/4 cup filtered water
- Add 1/4 cup water to your yogurt. Mix.
- If you find that your buttermilk is too thick, add more water until you get your desired consistency.
(Adapted from Epicurious)
Avoid Commercially Manufactured Yogurt
Buying store-bought yogurt is one of the biggest mistakes you can do that can endanger your health. Ironically, many yogurt manufacturers add sugar to their products to make them more appealing and to increase sales, but it basically negates everything that real yogurt is good for.
Again, if you want to maximize the benefits of yogurt, you have to make it at home. It’s the best way to be sure that you’re eating a high-quality product filled with beneficial bacteria. Don’t forget to share this nutritious recipe with your friends and family!
+ Sources and References