You will be surprised how easy it is to make your own, healthy yogurt! Actually, making yogurt wasn’t even my idea. It was my husband’s.
I LOVE yogurt. Always have. I was never one for the fruit on the bottom yogurts, but vanilla yogurt or blended fruit yogurt I loved. I bought into the whole thing that fat was bad and would eat the low-fat or zero-fat yogurt, even if it tasted awful. I never knew how bad store bought yogurt was for you until I started with my health coach. Yes, lots of stories begin this way. It was totally the turning point for how I look at food and my relationship towards food.
The yogurt you buy in the store, unless you can find a whole milk grass-fed yogurt, is nothing like the yogurt you will make at home. In fact, most of the yogurts sold in the stores are nothing more than sugar laden junk food, not to mention that the commercial yogurts aren’t even incubated for a long enough amount of time to get the probiotics that they claim to contain.
“Standard store yogurt including those squeezable yogurt tubes for kids are not the probiotic filled food that the television commercials and other advertising would lead you to believe.
The problem is that commercial yogurt is fermented for very short periods of time. This includes highly popular Greek yogurt alternatives. Is Greek yogurt better for you than regular? Not if the inoculation time for the probiotics to grow is insufficient!
The length of time for fermentation of commercial yogurt (both regular and Greek) is so short (one person in the dairy industry told me that it is an hour or even less) that thickening agents are sometimes even added to commercial yogurt to give it the look and feel of yogurt that has been fermented for much longer such as would happen with yogurt made on a small dairy farm or in your kitchen.
Another problem with commercial yogurt is that it is usually sweetened with genetically modified (GMO) sweeteners. Many consumers know that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are GMO. However, even health savvy shoppers typically don’t realize that even if the label on commercial yogurt says “sugar” instead of corn syrup, it is virtually certain that sugar is also from a GMO source. Only if the label says “cane sugar” or “organic sugar” does this guarantee that the sugar is GMO free.”
It’s also important to note the following:
“Yogurt can be incredibly healthy, rich in high-quality protein, beneficial probiotics, calcium, B vitamins and, even cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). But the key words are “can be.”
Most yogurts sold in US grocery stores resemble dessert more than a health food. Americans are accustomed to added sugar and flavors in their yogurt, which negates much of its health potential. Around the world, however, yogurt is often enjoyed in its traditional – and far better for you – form.”
I did find a wonderful commercial yogurt that was made here in New York. It was 100% grass-fed and whole milk and tasted wonderful. But, I was literally buying the yogurt like it was going out of style and eventually my husband said to me, “Let’s make our own yogurt.” So we started doing research.
Turns out to be that making homemade yogurt is so easy, I couldn’t even believe it at first. We started experimenting and trust me we had quite a few failed batches of yogurt. There are two ways to make yogurt: 1) using a freeze-dried active yogurt culture or 2) using a cup of already made yogurt to culture your yogurt. We started with option 2 using the 100% grass-fed whole milk yogurt I bought in the store. Most of the time, and this is a problem with using raw milk, the yogurt wouldn’t set properly and would be very runny. It was completely edible, but it just wasn’t the consistency that we wanted. Eventually we decided to try option 1 and use a starter culture.
I finally found Bacillus Bulgaricus which would make a Bulgarian Style Yogurt. I had never had Bulgarian style yogurt, but I really liked what I was reading:
“A mildly sour-tasting yogurt, kiselo mlyako is undoubtedly the best and the healthiest of all dairy products that are available to consumers nowadays. The western world calls it Bulgarian yogurt but in its homeland, Bulgaria, it’s called sour milk. Whatever the name, this wonderful probiotic food has impeccable ancestry – it is believed to have been known for at least 4000 years.
Bulgarian yogurt comes under the general category of yogurts which contain live bacteria. For yogurt to be considered of the Bulgarian variety, it needs to be made with two specific starter bacteria, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus (often simply called Lactobacillus bulgaricus) and Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus (often shortened to Streptococcus thermophilus). Most yogurts contain these two as they are such excellent starters but most “ordinary” yogurt has other good bacteria added as well.
It is the particular combination of bacteria that characterizes the thickness, acidity, taste and aroma of the yogurt. Kiselo mlyako’s uniqueness lies in the peculiarities in the climate of the region and the very specific way in which it is prepared – using a combination of the two strains: Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus. The Streptococcus Thermophilus bacteria goes into action first and prepares the perfect environment for Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, which in turn starts multiplying and slowly turns the milk into yogurt.”
It was EXACTLY the type of yogurt we wanted to make: super healthy and thick. Not to mention tasty. Yogurt is a fermented food and fermented foods are so wonderful for your health!
“You should buy this yogurt starter if you are looking for a no-fuss yogurt starter which is easy to use and makes thick, creamy and absolutely delicious yogurt.
Our starter contains lactic acid bacteria isolated from natural sources in ecologically preserved areas in Bulgaria. It produces yogurt of exceptional quality with smell and taste like nothing you can find in the store or make with any other yogurt starter.
The Bacillus Bulgaricus starter is extremely durable and does not need to be refrigerated during transportation. The freeze-drying process we use guarantees that the live active bacteria is actually live at the time you start making yogurt.
The yogurt starter comes with easy to follow instructions that guarantee success every time. With and without using an yogurt maker.
The Bacillus Bulgaricus yogurt starter is completely natural.
It does not contain sucrose, gmo, gluten, additives. Actually it doesn’t contain anything else but two bacteria strains. And it contains a lot of those, more precisely billions and billions of the right kind of bacteria, compared to the store-brand yogurts and most of the other yogurt starters which only contain bacteria in the millions. This is also the reason why it always works — your yogurt will never be runny when you make it with Bacillus Bulgaricus.”
After reading all of this we placed our order and anxiously awaited the arrival of our freeze-dried active yogurt cultures. I have to tell you, Ivo, who is the owner of this business, is so wonderful. I had accidentally placed my order for the wrong size of yogurt culture. Instead of ordering the Double which makes 1 gallon of yogurt I ordered the Single which makes 64oz of yogurt. I e-mailed Ivo right away when I noticed my mistake and he got right back to me AND upgraded my order to the right size for no extra charge!
Once we got our freeze-dried active yogurt culture in the mail, we crossed our fingers and made our first batch of Bulgarian style yogurt…. AND IT WORKED!!! Thick. Firm. AMAZING!!!!! Finally, we got the yogurt we wanted. Since the first batch of Bulgarian yogurt that we made, we save 8oz of the yogurt from each batch to culture our new batch and it works each and every time!!! As the website states:
“This is a heirloom yogurt starter with live active bacteria, which means that you can reuse yogurt from your previous batch to culture your new batch, for as long as you wish.”
Every two weeks we now make yogurt. And I eat it like it’s going out of style. I love eating a little before I go to the gym in the morning. I love eating it for lunch. I love eating it as a snack. My husband loves mixing fresh fruit in with it.
It tastes nothing like store bought yogurt and I LOVE that. For people who are used to sugar laden yogurts it can take awhile to adjust to because this is what yogurt should taste like. I don’t miss the store bought yogurts. I have a fridge full of my own homemade yogurt that is delicious and nutritious!
So how to make Bulgarian Style Yogurt? Get ready because it is so easy!!!
Bulgarian Style Yogurt Raw Milk Recipe
Note: The raw milk is heated but not for a long period of time. Just enough to kill any bacteria that might react negatively with the yogurt cultures. This does not take away from the nutritiousness of the raw milk since we aren’t heating it at high heat for long a long period of time.
- Heat one gallon of milk at low temperature until it slowly reaches 175°F with candy thermometer.
- Once it reaches 175°F turn off the stove top. Remove from heat and cool on counter till it reaches 135°F.
- Mix freeze-dried active yogurt starter culture or starter yogurt from previous batch into milk.
- Distribute into 8oz mason jars. Lightly screw caps on.
- Set in oven with light on, oven off and leave incubate for 8-12 hours.
- After incubation yogurt should now be thick and firm. Remove from oven, secure lids tightly and place in fridge.
And that’s it!!!! Now just eat and enjoy!
This is my own personal review and I have not received any compensation for it.
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