Skip to main content

How to Make Organic, Raw Goat's Milk Yogurt

Joy has been a goat lover and cheese lover for 20 years. She enjoys experimenting with making her own cheeses and dairy products.

Learn how to make your own yogurt at home!

Learn how to make your own yogurt at home!

Why Raw?

Making raw yogurt is one of the best things you can do for your health, as well as the health of your family. Raw milk of any kind has many benefits, primarily related to it being easier to digest than processed milk, and raw milk yogurt retains many of these benefits. Eating yogurt daily has been linked to longevity and a high quality of life and health.

These benefits are easy to get by making your own raw milk yogurt.

What You'll Need to Make Raw Goat's Milk Yogurt

I will be demonstrating the process with goats milk, but any kind of raw milk should work.

The tools and ingredients you'll need are simple and few:

  • Yogurt starter, or a good quality, plain yogurt with live cultures - you can buy some from almost any grocery store to get started. Once you've made yogurt, you can save back a little from each batch to use as the starter for the next.
  • Glass jar(s) in which to incubate your yogurt
  • A saucepan in which to warm the milk
  • A thermometer which will read low temperatures accurately. An instant-read thermometer is nice.
  • A spoon (optional)
  • A heat source which will maintain your yogurt at 110* to 115* F. for several hours (unattended).

Stage 1: Warm the Milk and Add Yogurt Culture

Use whatever container(s) you plan to keep your yogurt in to measure how much milk you need. I usually make half a gallon (2 quarts) at a time. You may make less or more.

Use whatever container(s) you plan to keep your yogurt in to measure how much milk you need. I usually make half a gallon (2 quarts) at a time. You may make less or more.

Pour the milk into a pot and warm it to 110 degrees F . . . no more than 115* F. Higher temperatures will kill good bacteria and cook the milk.

Pour the milk into a pot and warm it to 110 degrees F . . . no more than 115* F. Higher temperatures will kill good bacteria and cook the milk.

Measure about 1 tablespoon of yogurt per quart of milk, and pour into the bottom of your container.

Measure about 1 tablespoon of yogurt per quart of milk, and pour into the bottom of your container.

Pour the warm milk in on top of the yogurt culture, making sure the culture gets mixed in thoroughly. Clean utensils are a must!

Pour the warm milk in on top of the yogurt culture, making sure the culture gets mixed in thoroughly. Clean utensils are a must!

Stage 2: Culture the Yogurt for 6-8 Hours

Because I use a big jar on which the lid does not fit very tightly, I cannot lay it down in a cooler. So I rely on hot water, hot cement, and full summer sun. Keep the yogurt at 100* F. or more for it to culture correctly.

Because I use a big jar on which the lid does not fit very tightly, I cannot lay it down in a cooler. So I rely on hot water, hot cement, and full summer sun. Keep the yogurt at 100* F. or more for it to culture correctly.

In winter I use smaller jars, and either a cooler with hot water in the bottom, or a rack on my wood cookstove. Wrapping the jar(s) in a towel and setting them in a warm place should also work. A very low-heat oven is fine, too.

In winter I use smaller jars, and either a cooler with hot water in the bottom, or a rack on my wood cookstove. Wrapping the jar(s) in a towel and setting them in a warm place should also work. A very low-heat oven is fine, too.

Adding hot water to the bottom of a cooler usually maintains temperature long enough.

Adding hot water to the bottom of a cooler usually maintains temperature long enough.

It is usually easy to keep a jar or two of yogurt at the right temperature by setting it on a rack on the "just-warm" side of a wood burning stove.

It is usually easy to keep a jar or two of yogurt at the right temperature by setting it on a rack on the "just-warm" side of a wood burning stove.

The jar can sit close to the stove, but must not touch it or it will break. A baking rack is ideal.

The jar can sit close to the stove, but must not touch it or it will break. A baking rack is ideal.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Delishably

A crock pot on low setting can be used. Put a cloth in the bottom to cushion the jar.

A crock pot on low setting can be used. Put a cloth in the bottom to cushion the jar.

Be sure the lid will fit snugly! This quart jar barely fits.

Be sure the lid will fit snugly! This quart jar barely fits.

A 2-gallon stock pot with a cloth in the bottom works well, if set over very low heat.

A 2-gallon stock pot with a cloth in the bottom works well, if set over very low heat.

Some pressure or insta pots with a slow cooker or "warm" setting may be used. (Of course, so will a regular slow cooker.)

Some pressure or insta pots with a slow cooker or "warm" setting may be used. (Of course, so will a regular slow cooker.)

I help regulate temperature, when necessary, by using a saucepan lid which is the same diameter, but will not lock down.

I help regulate temperature, when necessary, by using a saucepan lid which is the same diameter, but will not lock down.

What If I Don't Have Raw Milk?

It is still possible to make perfectly acceptable yogurt with most any kind of milk. I've even heard of people using soy milk, though I wouldn't try it myself. Regular milk from a store will work fine, it just won't be raw. The yogurt will still be good for you.

The video below shows how to make yogurt using non-raw milk. Also, you may use this woman's method for any batch of raw milk which is "off" or which you're not sure of for any reason. The difference between her method and mine is in the initial heating temperature - she scalds her milk in order to make sure that no undesirable bacteria survive...giving the yogurt culture absolute reign, with no competition from other types of cultures which may have been present in the milk.

This is a good method...but be aware that it's no longer raw.

Benefits of Yogurt on Intestinal Flora

Homemade Yogurt FAQs

At which stage should I add fruit to my yogurt?

Honestly, it doesn't much matter. I suppose the acid or bacterial aspects of various fruits could upset the culture or balance of your yogurt, but many don't. This means you can add fruit to the bottom of your jar(s) before adding the culture and milk, or you may mix it in after the yogurt is cultured, just prior to eating.

My yogurt is stringy and slimy! What happened?

The temperature of your yogurt while incubating was not steady enough. Too cold or too hot can upset the delicate balance of the culture, and ruin the consistency of your yogurt. If you can't stand the consistency of a particular batch, don't despair - just feed it to your pet. Your dog or cat will almost certainly not complain, and yogurt is good for them, too.

My yogurt didn't thicken up . . . it's all runny? Why?

The cultures in yogurt need lots of room to work. Adding too much yogurt starter to a jar of milk can crowd the cultures and cause them to languish. Adding too little culture might delay thickening, but will not harm the final product.

My yogurt is too sour. How can I make milder yogurt?

Incubating yogurt for more than 6 to 8 hours can cause the cultures to overwork, creating a more sour or tart yogurt. Do not incubate yogurt for less than 6 hours, but experiment with how much longer makes the perfect jar of yogurt for you.

How often do I need to use my yogurt starter to keep it fresh?

Using your starter about once a week is best. I've stretched the time to two or three weeks occasionally, but this can allow the starter to develop undesirable bacteria, which will change the nature of your yogurt, or maybe, not even produce yogurt at all. Unless your starter goes really bad, you should be able to use it to produce some kind of cultured dairy product...it just may not be quite like yogurt. If your starter gets contaminated, start over with a fresh commercial starter or fresh commercial yogurt. Keep your yogurt starter in the refrigerator between uses.

How to Make Three Variations of an Indian Yogurt Drink, Lassi

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have tried several time to make goat milk yogurt and I can not to get it to thicken. The first time I started with room temperature milk, all I got was something that resembled a semi thick yogurt drink. The next time I heated the milk, allowed it to cool to 115 degRees, then added the starter and let it go. Again it only thickened a little more that the other batch. I am at a loss on what to do. Can you help?

Answer: I cannot say for sure why your yogurt didn't thicken, but have noticed that, apart from starter quality and milk temperature, goat diet can be to blame on inconsistencies in all cheese/cultured milk products. I believe that GMO grains change the behaviour of proteins during cooking and culturing. If you feed your own goats, avoid all GMO grains and see what happens. Besides this factor, be sure that all measurements are reasonably accurate, and try heating your milk to blood temperature and not much past. Beyond about 115 degrees F., many live organisms begin to die. Be sure your starter hasn't been contaminated by sitting out, changing temperatures, or being subjected to other conditions that could tamper with the desirable cultures. Lastly, yogurt made from other batches of yogurt which are too many "generations" from the original starter may fail to work. To avoid this, you may freeze small batches of a fresh starter so that you can stay with second or third generation yogurt for some while.

Question: What are the amounts of each ingredient necessary for this raw goats milk yogurt?

Answer: You need one tablespoon of plain yogurt, with active (live) cultures, per quart of milk. Keep the temperature at about 110 F. for proper development, keep it for over 6+ hours.

Question: Can I use cow's yogurt as my culture while making yogurt with raw goat milk?

Answer: You sure can! I have had no problems doing that from time to time.

© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen

Related Articles