Making your own yogurt is a great thing to take up as a homesteader. This is How to Maintain Your Yogurt Culture.
To start, you can get the starter culture you need in two forms. There is a use it once option and the heirloom option. Now obviously if you live on a homestead, that heirloom option looks the most appealing, especially if you have dairy-producing animals that can keep you flush in fresh yogurt.
However, not unlike a sourdough starter, if you keep heirloom yogurt cultures around, they need a little love and care to keep them viable.
When to Feed Your Yogurt Culture
You generally want to go two weeks in between using your culture to make yogurt. After one week, you will want to feed your culture milk, stir until smooth, and let the culture feed comfortably in your refrigerator.
However, you will want to scald the milk (cooling it after) or at least use pasteurized milk to feed your culture. Using regular raw milk comes with competing bacteria that can ruin a culture.
Using Heirloom Yogurt Cultures
The main issue that can trip up homesteaders when using an heirloom yogurt culture is that, unlike direct set cultures, the set time can vary. Every time you feed and sustain your yogurt culture means that acidification of your next batch of yogurt could happen earlier. To avoid a spoiled batch, always check it early if you are using heirloom yogurt culture.
While you will store your heirloom culture in the refrigerator to slow the bacteria and allow it to keep longer with less food, you will need to create your yogurt at the correct temperature. Cultures come in thermophilic and mesophilic varieties. Thermophilic requires it to be cultured at 110 degrees while mesophilic will want you to culture it in the 70-degree range. If done at the wrong temperature, the whole process won’t work correctly, leaving you with something pretty nasty.
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