Friday, February 5, 2010

Raw Milk Yogurt

Full disclosure - I have never made raw milk yogurt myself.  I plan to try it soon.  I understand it is more runny than the yogurt we are used to.  If anyone tries it, let me know.  It would be good if someone worked all the details out for all of us  :)
  • Obtain some raw milk, produced in a clean, healthy environment by healthy cows or goats... grass fed is by far the best.  Ideally, the raw milk for raw milk yogurt should be as fresh as possible.

  • Heat one quart of raw milk to 110 degrees F as the first step to making raw milk yogurt. Remove from heat source after reaching 100 degrees.

  • Add 2 tbsp. of live culture organic yogurt for your starter. Any organic, preferably (but not necessary) yogurt is a very good choice as a culture to make organic raw milk yogurt. Use a whisk to incorporate the yogurt into the heated milk.

  • Pour milk into a quart-size mason jar or other glass container.  I understand that a thermos works really, really well for this. Cover the raw milk yogurt with lid.

  • Leave the raw milk yogurt in a warm (110 degrees F) place for eight hours. (thermos or yogurt maker or maybe a dehydrator or crock pot)
  • Place your raw milk yogurt in the refrigerator to cool.

  • Enjoy your yogurt. Add chopped fruit, homemade fruit preserves or vanilla extract and maple syrup to the raw milk yogurt if desired.
Some links for your reading pleasure.  I know this is a lot of links, but this is a terrific subject to really mull over.  Spend some time, think it over... try one or two recipes, share the experience.... make good decisions for your family.... own it, share it, live it and move on.

The Weston A. Price Foundation

Organic Pastures

Recipes from Weston A Price Foundation

Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Home Cooking

Best of Health

    Links for purchasing assorted cultures

    It is very possible that you can share good milk (and other) cultures with someone in your community, but if that is just not possible, then the best thing is probably to order some.  I have never used these sites, but am listing them for your convenience.

    For the most part, I just try to buy a sample of whatever I am making.  Julie just let me know that they have creme fraiche at Save Mart, so I will go buy some and use it for my starter.  I am looking forward to making some with the raw Organic Dairy cream and using it in various ways.  I love to try new things.  :)  :) :)


    Gem Cultures
    Kefir Lady  (also lists benefits for kefir)

    Also, here are a few sites for cultured milk products and their benefits.  Hope there are not a bunch of pop up ads.  Those are really annoying :(

    Backwoods Home
    Functional Foods

    And a thesauraus of cultured milk products..... gotta love google :)

    Cook's Thesaurus: Cultured Milk

    Best of Health

    Cultured Milk Products

    As a part of gut health, cultured dairy products have a huge role to play.  They will also play a prominent role in Phase 2 Good Fats/Bad Fats, so this is a transitional "Extra Step".  I have already covered some of the benefits of cultured milk products.  I would like to you to try one or more of these yourself.  It is a good way to incorporate raw milk into your life.

    I confess, I might be at my time limit for cultured products, but really, I think I need to just add a block of time mid-week to rotate half of my cultures, then use my regular Saturday morning to rotate the other half.  This way, I can have cultured, raw milk products on hand for snacks and meals.  Thankfully, my counter is big.  Also, I am trying to go with very simple and wholesome meals to help with time management.

    I am finding our nutrient dense meals to be very satisfying, if quite simple.  A soup, made with bone broth, a little meat and some soaked grains... some sourdough whole grain bread with raw butter.... a green salad with oil and vinegar dressing (I have been adding sauerkraut juice to this - it isn't bad).  Simple, filling, easy to prepare and clean up.  What more could you want for a dinner?

    Anyway... on to the cultured milks.  Before refrigeration joined us in our industrialized lives it was a lot more common to culture milk before consuming.  Consuming large amounts of uncultured milk was rare.  Yogurt, cheese, clabber, curds and whey were used to effectively prevent milk from spoiling.  Through the process of lacto fermentation, friendly bacteria breaks down both milk sugars (lactose) and milk protein (casein).  This process effectively inactivates the spoiling bacteria and allows your milk product to be preserved for days, weeks... or in the case of cheese, years.

    The process of lacto-fermentation also predigests these milk products and allows the nutrients to be easily absorbed by your body with less energy.  Also, these live, culture dense foods help colonize good bacteria in your gut.   Although I have listed yogurt in Phase One as a simple and easy way to begin, there is an amazing variety of cultured milk.

    If you are able to study the homogenization and pasteurization process, it might help you understand the benefits and drawback yourself.  I have listed a couple of pages from for you to look over.

    Raw Milk Basic Facts - homogenization = pasteurization

    *note: When dealing with live bacteria, keep in mind that some good bacteria may have names that sound like bad bacteria. Streptococcus, for instance, can be a beneficial bacterium, although most people think of strep throat when they hear the word. Streptococcus refers only to the shape of the bacterium, and has nothing to do with its ability to promote health or cause disease. (Strept means 'twisted" and coccus means "round.") Streptococcus thermophilus has been safely used for centuries to make cultured dairy products such as yogurt, and cheeses such as Mozzarella.

     Some of the various types of cultured milk are:

    Yogurt - which is made by first heating milk and then adding a culture... then allowing the culture to develop.

    Kefir = a slightly effervescent beverage made from milk.  My friend Jamie is going to buy some Kefir grains from the GEMS website and give it a try.  She agreed to take pictures and let us know how it is going and what she learns.  I am looking forward to that.

    Creme Fraiche - a cultured cream product - you can also use it to make a cultured raw butter.  It is apparently wonderful in soups and sauces.  I have not tried this product myself, but plan to soon.

    Cultured raw butter needs no salt and has a high enzyme content which makes it really easy to digest and a flavor that is amazing.

    Cream cheese and cottage cheese are traditionally made by allowing the fermentation process to continue for several days until the curds (the casein containing part of the milk) separates from the whey. 

    Further inoculation and fermentation turns the cream cheese into cheese.

    Whey is a valuable activator used in other fermented foods and beverages.

    I will list recipes for each of these milk products separately.  This way, they are easier to find.  I hope some of you will find the time and energy to acquire some raw milk and try some of these.  If you can't do raw, try the unhomogenized.  If you can't do that, try organic.  Take baby steps and do what you can.  Try one new thing.  Find a recipe and make it a family project.  Most of these are quite easy..... just requires some time and attention.

    I am enjoying the "slow foods" movement, where foods are thought out 2-3 or more days in advance.   Although there is nothing "instant" about these foods, if you have a wide variety of them on hand, they are wonderful, live and right there in your fridge for your use.  To be frank, I find that the actual preparation on a day to day basis requires a lot less time.  It is a process.

    Best of Health

    Cool Bread Bags

    I have been working really hard on a couple of things in our own household.  One is trying to get away from plastic (easier said than done) and the other is making my own sourdough bread.  After you make a beautiful loaf of bread, what do you do with it???  Another problem I have is trying to take bread anywhere. 

    I asked my friend to consider making some kind of cloth bag for me.  Here is what she came up with.  I love them.  You can find them here:  Evelyn Fields: Homemade Bread Bag

    Thanks sweetie.  You are the best.  Problem solved!

    Some further thoughts on gut health

    Hopefully, some of you have made good progress in learning how your gut works, why it is important, how to begin the healing process and how to continue this process as a lifetime project.  I came across a really nice article that does not have a million ads (that I could see) that again spells this process out.

    I would urge you to continue to study and learn as much as you can.  I do not believe you can be healthy if your gut is not working properly.  I do not believe you have to spend a fortune to have a healthy gut.  I do believe you should learn how to do a wide variety of lacto fermented foods to populate your gut with good bacteria.  If you have an overgrowth of candida, yeasts, fungi, or other nasty stuff, you will probably need to weaken them.   Find out what makes bad organisms strong (sugars, simple carbs, processed foods, a pH system out of whack) and what makes good bacteria strong (a neutral pH gut, some good minerals and vitamins, good fats and whole foods, lacto fermented foods).  Focus on the healing aspects.

    This is just a starting point.  There are endless variations on these themes.  Learn different foods from different cultures.  Incorporate foods your great-grandmother would have made.  Learn some forgotten skills.  Spend your money on good food, not doctor visits.

    The following link is a beautiful page that is well laid out and well thought out on gut health and disease.  I think you will find it valuable and non-annoying.  It is one of my new favorites.

    Finally, I found a great quote from a website on raw milk.  It is just so good I wanted to put it into this article on gut health.   From the article:

    A Word About Diet In General

    Use common sense and stick with whole, unprocessed foods, free from genetic tweaking (there's still just too much conflicting information out there on that topic), and you'll likely be ahead of the game.

    Cook your foods minimally, and you'll be even better off. Learn about sprouting and fermentation. Question everything before letting it past your lips. 
    Explore what worked for countless generations before ours, and put it to work for yourself today. You can achieve great health by diet alone. I've done it, and so can you!

    Best of Health

    Sourdough Pizza Party and Recipe

    Sourdough Pizza Dough

    1 cup starter
    1/2 cup warm water
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup barley flour
    1 cup white flour
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 tbsp olive oil

    I used all organic ingredients, and ground the wheat and barley fresh.

    We had homemade pizza at our young couples meeting at Chapel on Wednesday night.  It was a lot of fun to try out different pizza dough recipes, different toppings and learn some new things.

    On Wednesday morning I made some sourdough pizza dough and let it culture.  This breaks the phytic acids in the grain.  Your body has a much easier time digesting a grain product that has been cultured because of this breakdown.  Anyone that is gluten intolerant should give cultured grains a try.

    April showed us all how to knead bread.  Mine was a little sticky for pizza dough, so she kneaded in a little more flour.

    After kneading and separating the dough (I made the above recipe x4) Royce showed us how to toss the dough.  We had so much fun trying it out!  Apryle and Carmen made more dough, but not cultured.  This allowed us to compare the two types of dough.


    One thing I did forget was some parchment paper.  That would have been helpful with multiple pizzas.  After tossing them, we rolled and pushed them to the right size.  We had a round and an oblong pizza stone, so they made pizzas to fit the stones.

    We cut up fresh fruits and vegetables for the toppings.  Then, began to assemble the pizzas.  We brushed olive oil on the dough before putting on the sauce.  Apryle pan fried the organic Turkey bacon and then everything went on top, and into the oven for 10-12 minutes.  We had already preheated the stones at 500 degrees while we were getting everything ready to cook.

    The pizza's turned out really great.  We fed a lot of people for not much money, and had a lot of fun in the process.  Personally, I liked the taste of the sourdough pizza, which is good since I am learning how to soak all of my nuts and grains.  We were able to do everything organic and it didn't cost any one person very much money.  They turned out great!

    The best part of the night is..... when we watched Food, Inc.  we didn't feel at all bad about our dinner!  :)

    Best of Health