One of the perks of having your own dairy goats is that you get fresh, raw milk whenever you want. But it doesn’t stop there- you can use your milk to make cheeses (like goat milk mozzarella!), kefir, caramel sauce, buttermilk, and fresh homemade goat milk yogurt!
Like a lot of products made with goat milk, it can be kind of tricky to get your homemade yogurt to turn out just right. But with a few tips you can have the best goat milk yogurt- fresh from your goat to the table!
How to Make Goat Milk Yogurt
The first step to any cheese and yogurt making is sterilization of your utensils and work space. This is very important so that you don’t add in any bad bacteria to your milk before you incubate it. When making yogurt on the stove I simply place a bit of water in my pot and stick all my utensils inside then boil it for a few minutes- or until the water has fully evaporated.
What you will need:
1/2 gallon of goat milk
2-3 T of organic yogurt or Yogurt starter cultures
Glass jars for incubation- pint or quart
For the purpose of this recipe, I will be using store bought yogurt for my cultures. If you use starter cultures, much of the process will be the same, but follow the directions on the packet for the addition of the cultures.
What to do:
Place your milk in a large pot over medium-low heat. Bring it to a temperature of 180F while stirring frequently. (*You can skip this part if you want raw milk yogurt, but the resulting yogurt will be much thinner due to the fact that the cultures will have to compete with the natural occurring bacteria in the raw milk*)
Once the milk has reached 180 F, remove it from the heat and place it in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, until it comes to 110 F. While the milk is cooling, set out your yogurt starter so that it warms up a bit. I use organic, plain whole milk yogurt.
When the milk reaches the correct temperature, gently stir in the yogurt starter and mix well. Pour into 2 quart jars or 4 pints. And allow it to incubate at a steady warm temperature (~110F) for 6-12 hours. I like mine at about a 6-8 hour incubation- the longer you let it sit, the more tart or sour tasting it will be.
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To incubate, you have a couple of options:
- Use a yogurt maker. Such as the Euro Cuisine Yogurt maker. Just follow the instructions for your machine.
- Place it in your dehydrator. My Excalibur works great for this. Just remove the trays and set your jars inside.
- Use a cooler. Fill a couple of jars with boiling or really hot water and set them, and your yogurt jars, inside of the cooler and close it up. Walk away for at least 6 hours before opening up the cooler. I used this method for years. It works well and it takes no extra electricity.
Regardless of which method you use, the key is a steady temperature and an undisturbed incubation period.
Once your incubation is complete, set your jars of homemade yogurt in the fridge to cool and thicken up a bit.
And you are done! My kids like to stir in a bit of maple syrup or honey and just drink it like keifir from a glass. It’s great with granola or mixed with fruit too! Let me know if you give it a try!
Is Thick Goat Milk Yogurt Possible?
Like with many dairy products, goat milk yogurt can be tricky to get to a thick consistency. All goat milk is different so playing around with different cultures, incubation period lengths and incubation methods will help you find the method that gives you the best results.
The normal suggestions are to stir in dry milk powder or gelatin into the goat milk as you heat it. I am not willing to make these additions just for the sake of thickening it up, so I usually settle for somewhat runny goat milk yogurt that is more drinkable than spoonable.
It still tastes great and much is less expensive than the organic store bought varieties and with much less additives!