Cultured Dairy Benefits and Recipe

Cultured or fermented dairy plays a large role in my diet and my kitchen. We try to ingest at least one cup of cultured raw dairy per day. This can be done in many forms. Yogurt, cheese, clabber, curds, whey, kefir, creme fraiche and so on.

Earlier in the year I wrote a post about raw milk and many of its benefits. Now I would like to expand that with the cultured dairy. There are great benefits to consuming cultured dairy. The fermentation process breaks down casein (milk protein) which can be difficult for some people to digest. It also helps the body absorbs calcium and other minerals. Vitamins B and C increase during fermentation and are easily absorbed by the body. In addition, these products provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid to the digestive tract to keep pathogens at bay and aid in digestion of all other foods consumed.

Culturing will also restore many of the enzymes destroyed by pasteurization (not ultra pasteurization). So, you can make your own cultured dairy products, even without access to raw milk. Of course there will be more benefits to raw milk from grassfed cows, goats, sheep, etc.

Fermentation is an art and recipes may require tweaking for your environment. Have some patience with yourself when trying new recipes. And remember…practice makes perfect. So if you botch a batch…don’t worry…just try again another day.

I suggest yogurt making as a first step.

Raw Milk Yogurt

1 quart raw whole milk, nonhomogenized
1/2 cup good quality plain yogurt or 1/2 cup yogurt from previous batch

Place milk in double boiler and heat to 110 degrees. I will sometimes put the milk in a mason jar in the dehydrator on 110 for about an hour to heat the milk up to temperature. In a mason jar or mixing bowl, mix 1/2 cup warm milk with 1 tablespoon yogurt. Continue adding another 1/2 cup milk and 1 tablespoon yogurt and mix until warm milk and previous batch yogurt are mixed. Pour into mason jar and cover tightly. Place jar in dehydrator set at 100 degrees for 8-12 hours. Transfer to the fridge. This will make a thin raw milk yogurt.
You may also drain the clear liquid (whey) off for a slightly thicker yogurt. Remember to keep it and use to Lacto-ferment vegetables.

For a thicker yogurt try…

Yogurt

1 quart pasteurized whole milk, not ultra pastuerized
1/2 cup good quality plain yogurt or 1/2 cup yogurt from previous batch

Place milk in double boiler and heat to 180 degrees. Let it cool to 110 degrees. Stir in yogurt and pour in a mason jar. Place jar in dehydrator set at 110 degrees or in an oven with a pilot light on or that was preheated then turned off for 8-12 hours. Remove and transfer to refrigerator.

You may also drain the clear liquid (whey) off for an even thicker Greek style yogurt. Make sure to keep the whey to use for Lacto-fermenting vegetables or to use in smoothies for extra probiotics!


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