Thursday, August 1, 2013

Non-Homogenized Yogurt

A dairy near me was recently licensed to bottle on-farm and sell to the public. So I am able to get local, grass-fed milk from which to make yogurt. Plus, it is milked the day that I buy it. I couldn't wait to get home and make some yogurt with it. Much to my disappointment, it came out really thin, with lots of curds and whey. It was delicious, and I ate it. But it was more like drinkable yogurt.

A Cultural Thing?

I was using a frozen culture from a previous batch, and figured that it must have gone bad. So I started anew with a fresh yogurt culture and another half gallon of the milk. Same result. WTF? Well it turns out that the milk is non-homogenized. I knew this before I bought it, and I shook it up really well before making the yogurt. Silly me thought that the yogurt making processes would somehow cancel out the milk's natural tendency to separate into fat and liquid. It doesn't.

It's Purely Physical

If you are not familiar with how homogenization works, the milk is forced through a series of ever finer sieves, under higher and higher pressure, until the fat is broken down into such fine particles that it will no longer separate. Despite what you might read, there is nothing added to milk in the homogenization process. It's purely a physical process, but one that results in a permanent change. Besides keeping it from separating, it also makes the milk appear whiter, and many people feel it changes the flavor. I would add to that list that you cannot make a thick yogurt that does not separate without it.

If you are opposed to homogenization, the process of yogurt making does not change for making it with non-homogenized milk. But like non-homogenized milk, your yogurt will separate into two parts. And unlike the milk, there really is no way to shake the yogurt to get it to go back together. That only makes it thinner yet. I for one am going back to the homogenized milk I was using before. It's not local, but it is a grass-fed product from a responsible group of farmers. And I like eat my yogurt with a spoon and not a straw.

17 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Michael! I have no access to this and stick to organic fat-free milk from A&P. I use it to make yogurt fruit shakes. The ingredient that turns it into more spoonable than drinkable is psyllium. Learned about it from Dr. Oz. Supposed to be super healthy. Not that anyone is going to add it to milk or yogurt but wanted to share that anyway. Thanks so much for your great website and information!

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  2. Thanks Marge. Non-homogenized milk makes up a very small percentage of the milk market in the US, so I am not surprised that you haven't run across it. But just the other day, I had user of my website write to me about why her yogurt was coming out runny. After a lot of back and forth, she mentioned that it was "cream line" milk; another name for non-homogenized. That's when I realized she was having the same issue I was having.

    Isn't psyllium what Metamucil is made from?

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    1. It is, but Metamucil has sugar and silica added. You can get psyllium husk fiber at health/nutrition stores and also baking supply stores, as it can be used in baking as well as just a dietary supplement.

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  3. Interesting! Something tells me you can still be successful though, because I'm under the impression it's the protein in the milk that lets it become solid, rather than the fat. But reading this makes me wonder if I'm not wrong about that haha.

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  4. I have a ? I want to know if yogurt whey can be substituted for cheese whey in starting homemade sauerkraut. I read it is called acid whey, as opposed to sweet whey.

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    1. I only use salt to make sauerkraut. It takes about a week for the cabbage to ferment.

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  5. Re: non-homogenized milk. I have been using cream-on-top, non-homogenized, organic milk for 5 months now, and never had a problem with it. If you really think about it: in the past, farmers never homogenized their milk. it's the invention of the food industry. I suggest you to try it again , because it DOES taste different , both the milk and the yogurt.

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    1. Piroska: it is true that homogenization is a relative newcomer to the dairy world. But so is refrigeration. So I suspect that "true" yogurt was not only runnier, but also much more tangy, so that it would be acid enough to survive without refrigeration. The yogurt I am going for is one that is relatively thick and smooth, and does not separate. I have never been able to accomplish this with any non-homogenized yogurt. I have done it with milk directly from the cow (raw) as well as pasteurized, but not homogenized. The result is always the same. I do agree the flavor is better, but the consistency is a deal killer for me personally.

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    2. I am really curious where the solution might be! Could it be that "my" non-homogenized milk is different then "yours"? I also do it differently : just heat the milk until it bubbles, then cool it slowly to 115, and mix it with the leftover yogurt in my big yogurt container, wrap it in towel and stick it in the warm (110) oven overnight. Originally started out w/ Yogourmet starter but since the first batch I always use the leftover from the prev. AND my finished yogurt is like the one you describe: smooth, not too acidic and never separated. Next time I will try raw milk the same way, and will let you know how that turns out. Good luck anyway, and thanks so much for all the valuable info on your site!!

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  6. try blending the raw milk first. that is what i did with my vitamix and it seems to have worked

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  7. to answer Phyllis Laage I put yogurt whey in my homemade cultured or fermented vegetables and it was fine. I don't remember how long it took to ferment. It's not necessary to use whey, I just used it to try to see if it made a difference and I don't remember any. It might add to the nutrition of it.
    Carmen

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  8. I have been making wonderful and thick! yogurt with this recipe. I have ONLY used non-homogenized "cream-line" milk from a local farm fresh dairy/processor. Yummy and easy! http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/make-yogurt/heat-to-185

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    1. I am glad to hear that. I have given up on my local source. I'll still drink it, but it does not work for yogurt making for me.

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  9. ....oh and I started with Stonyfield Organic Plain yogurt.

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  10. Is the homemade Greek yogurt supposed to be sour. If not, what did I do wrong, and what can I use it for?

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    1. Greek yogurt is more tart than regular yogurt, but I would not expect it to be sour (as in sour milk). If it is really sour (like bad), don't eat it. If it is simply too tart, put a little sweetener like honey.

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    2. Thanks that's what I thought. But I was a little concerned.

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