Yogurt is an important part of our diet since it is the base of many of the recipes. Besides having calcium and potassium, yogurt has healthy bacteria like lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. We have been taught to avoid all bacteria, thinking they will make you sick, but these bacteria are beneficial, and will help your body fight the bad bacteria. They also help break down the lactose (sugar naturally occurring in milk), making yogurt more digestible than milk, and eliminating cancer’s favorite food – sugar.
We culture it for 24 hours, instead of the customary 6-8 hours usually recommended for yogurt. The extra time allows more of the milk sugars to be consumed. While you could use any whole milk, I use half and half because (1) it has less sugars in the first place, and (2) it has more fat – and don’t forget that fat is good on a ketogenic diet. For an even more high fat yogurt, try the Extra Creamy Yogurt or the Extreme Cream Yogurt.
Make sure NOT to use Ultra-Pasteurized milk or cream, which, unfortunately, is the kind you will find in most “Organic” brands. After you make it the first time, save out enough yogurt to inoculate the next batch. After doing this for awhile, if you find your yogurt isn’t getting thick enough, use a commercial one again. Make sure the yogurt you use says “live” culture on it and does not have additives like gelatin in it. Some people add additional pro-biotics, that you can find at health food stores, to get a variety of bacterias.
To incubate the culture, you need to find a way to keep it at a temperature between 100 and 110 degrees. A yogurt maker works great, but people use plenty of other methods. I use my oven, which will go down to 100 degrees. I used a probe thermometer and checked it through the day the first time. I found that if I set my oven to 115 degrees, the yogurt stayed at 108. Some people use a thermos, or wrap a towel around it and put it on a radiator. If you get it too hot or not hot enough, you will not encourage the right kinds of bacterias.
Creamy Yogurt (24 Hour)
Makes 2 quarts
2 quarts half and half cream
½ cup yogurt (not low-fat)
Bring half and half cream to 180 degrees F. Remove from heat and cool to 80 degrees (or so). Whisk in yogurt starter until smooth (some people skim off the film that builds up on the top. I just whisk it in). Cover and incubate at 100-110 degrees for 24 hours or up to 48 hours. Cool 8 hours. There will be a thicker layer of cream at the top. If you feel the need to stir it, do it gently or you will cause the whey to separate. I like it just as it is.
Extra Creamy Yogurt
Use 1 quart half and half cream and 1 quart heavy whipping cream. Prepare as above.
Extreme Cream Yogurt
Use 2 quarts whipping cream. Prepare as above.