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Homemade Bulgarian style Yogourt

Posted 12/30/2014 1:38pm by Missy VanWormer.

I love getting fresh milk from a neighboring farm. Being a cheese maker at heart, fresh milk is my canvas and the different molds, bacteria and cultures are my paints. There is a level of milk processing that anyone can do, with almost any kind of milk. Today I'll show you how to make a Bulgarian style yogourt. 

Here's the kicker, one of the only types of milk you can not use is Ultra-pasteurized milk, also known as Organic milk. Because organic dairy products are considered specialty products, they ultra-pasteurize them to increase shelf life and cut down on waste. This process kills all possible bacteria, leaving nothing let to make cheese with. On the flip side of the same coin is Raw Milk, or unprocessed milk as its defined by the state of Michigan. Raw milk is alive with it's own ecosystem of bacterium. The good bugs keep the bad bugs in check, as long as they're not over run, but the good bugs can also keep outsiders from gaining a foot hold in the milk. So if your making something like yogurt with raw milk, like I am here, that requires you to introduce a different type of bacteria into the ecosystem, you may be met with resistance by it's current inhabitants, causing you to end up with runny yogurt. So for consistency, I like to bring the raw milk up to 180°F to kill off some of the bacteria that may try and kill off the bacteria I'm trying to use. If your using store bought milk, I would heat the milk to about 110°.

Heres some step by step instructions for making a basic Bulgarian Yogourt.

Step 1- boil a kettle of water to use for sterilizing pans and utensils. Wash then sterilize anything the milk touches with boiling water. Get your yogurt maker out and do the same to the jars and lids. If you don't have a yogurt maker, you can use clean ball jars and a slow cooker/crockpot.

Step 2- fill a sink 6" or so with cold water, if using raw milk. You'll use this to rapid cool the milk back down to 110°f. Using a double boiler, heat milk to 180°, remove from heat and place pot in cold water until thermometer reads 110°F. 

If using store bought milk, heat to 110° and remove from heat. 

Step 3- while staring add your yogurt culture or two tablespoons of store bought plain yogurt. 

Step 4- add milk to jars, place lids on jars, put filled jars in yogurt maker and turn it on. Leave in maker for 7-12 hours. If using crockpot, place filled balls jars in crock, add lid to crock and use the keep warm feature  Also leave set for 5-10 hours depending on jar size. If you open one of the lids and poor of the whey or mix it into the yogurt, you'll be able to check for consistency. If it's too runny, put it back in the yogurt maker for a few more hours. 

Step 5- 

when finished, place in refrigerator and enjoy with fresh fruit, homemade granola, honey or maple syrup. Be sure to save back at least two tablespoons to inoculate your next batch with.  

 

*important  note. When cleaning up your tools and pans, rinse them with cool water first to get rid of the milk residue. This will help slow down a substance called milk stone from forming on the surfaces, which, over time, can add bad bacteria into your milk.