Tag Archives: Raw Milk

Making Yogurt with Villi and Greek Cultures

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Making Villi and Greek Yogurt

When I got my yogurt cultures in the mail from Cultures for Health, I was really excited, but had to put the project on hold due to my trip to the Raw Milk Symposium that weekend. I wanted to have plenty of time to do it right. So when I got back from Wisconsin, I pulled out the packets and with some very enthusiastic help from 7-year-old Zee, I went to work. We started with the Villi culture. Zee opened the packet for me and measured out the recommended 1/2 tsp of culture, which I mixed into 1/2 cup of raw milk. I left this in a canning jar on my stove top for 24 hours checking it occasionally – OK, so I hovered a little, I’m a little controlling – sorry! – after 24 hours, it was still not setting up, so I checked the instructions and saw that on the back of the page of instructions there was a special section for raw milk! So, I set the first try aside and started over, this time I slowly heated the milk to 160° and then cooling the milk to room temperature before adding the culture, and then began the waiting process all over again. Being a somewhat scientifically minded person, I left the first batch on the stove top along with the second one, and waited (alright – I already said I am not much good at waiting, but I really don’t think I hurt it any.) The next morning, the first batch had gelled up to a kind of slimy runny consistency, while the second batch was still not set up. I left it there and decided I would check it again when I got home from work.

When I got home, the first batch had gelled into a very soft yogurt that held form when first scooped up, but then collapsed into a really runny yogurt, more like kefir. The second one was much more firm and was beginning to separate from the whey. Glad that there was an extra half teaspoon, I used the pure starter and mixed it in to a quart of raw milk that I had mixed in about 1 cup of cream, and set it on the counter again. This batch set up very nicely after 24 hours and had a really nice thick mild flavored yogurt. Yum! I used the 3rd 1/2 tsp to make another pure starter (done right by heating the milk first) and put it in the refrigerator to be used in the next batch – I will make another pint of yogurt by heating the milk and then I can use 2 Tbsp in each quart of raw milk without having to heat it again until I want to make another batch of pure starter. This is done to preserve the integrity of the villi culture, because bacteria from the raw milk can change the culture and yield unpredictable results.

The Greek yogurt was a bit different – it requires very low heat. I started out right this time, warming the milk to 180° this time (as per instructions) and then cooled it to 110° before adding the culture.  With only 1/2 cup of milk, much of the liquid evaporated out. I used my food dehydrator and I am wondering if it may have been a little to warm. I put the starter into a Ziploc baggie and put it in the refrigerator. I think I will bring in the cooler and use the hot water method instead.

To be continued! . . .

The 2nd Annual Raw Milk Symposium

I got up before dawn on Friday, grabbed my bags and my husband drove me to the airport where I boarded the first of three planes, stopping first in Denver, then Chicago, and finally after hurtling through the air at 450+ mph over what looked like a beautiful patchwork quilt in a plane that felt as rickety and made as much noise as I imagine a tin can would at that speed, I landed in Madison WI at 3:55 PM. As I walked out the door the air smelled like grassy farmland and I could see the horizon stretching out for miles – not the usual for a girl who has spent the last 20 years of her life at the foot of the mountains in Utah.

Rosanne Lindsay from the Wisconsin Alliance for Raw Milk (ARM) picked me up and took me to the Hilton where the symposium would be held the next day, and I got to spend some time with some of the folks there for the symposium, caught some really good Italian with Augie Augenstein, the founder of the ARMi, and then Rosanne picked me up from there and I stayed at her home that night.

The next morning, Rosanne made sure I got plenty of raw milk to drink with breakfast and filled our thermoses for the day and then we headed out to the symposium, where we were able to meet Cathy Raymond from the fund, Gene’ Walls and her absolutely DARLING little boy, Michael Schmidt, David Gumpart, Mark McAfee, Scott Trautman, Sally and John Fallon, Max Kane, fund attorney Elizabeth Gamsky, Kathryne Pirtle, Kimberly Hartke, Jackie Stowers from Manna Storehouse, Andrew & Rebekah Sell, Annette Kohn-lau, Micah Taair, and many other great people (I am terrible with names!)

Some of my favorite bits from the symposium:

(Paraphrasing) This isn’t about milk, we are at war! Food can turn you into a perfect slave . . . We have a new form of dictatorship – a dictatorship of our own consent . . . To be silent is to consent . . . and creates a mockery of those who died to establish freedom.  . . we are for the government an unlimited natural resource if we are sick, because when we are sick, they can milk us to death. ~ Michael Schmidt

Real milk and Cod Liver Oil would solve 80% of our health problems. . . . (paraphrasing) This isn’t about milk, it is about freedom and it is about our children. It shows God’s sense of humor in that it’s all coalescing around a glass of milk ~ Sally Fallon

After the panel discussion, there was a wine and cheese tasting bar. I really loved the cheeses – there was a really wonderful gouda, some cheddar and colby, blue cheese, a fantastic chevre, (which I am going to try making myself) and some really yummy herbed cheese with parsley – none of it was labeled so I had to try to figure out what each one was, and since I’m not a cheese maker (maybe when I grow up :) ) so I could possibly be wrong on some of them. One thing is for sure they were all really good!

At the end we wrapped up with a sneak preview to Kristin Canty’s upcoming film documentary Farmageddon. It is a very touching and personal glimpse into farm raids and the trials that many of our small family farms have been experiencing as the FDA is amping up their enforcement of gray areas in the current food safety laws – I strongly encourage everyone to go see it once it comes out!

Sunday morning I was up at 4:30 am, and off to the Madison airport to catch a 6:30 am flight back in to Salt Lake City. Thank you to everyone who made the trip possible for me, so that I could go and represent our group and make connections that will allow me to continue to be an advocate for raw milk!