Why goat milk yogurt?
Goat milk is much more digestible than cow’s milk and is often an option if you face a cow’s milk sensitivity/allergy. According to Dr. Natasha in The Gut and Psychology Syndrome:
Goats milk is considered to be more digestible by humans as it contains less casein and different types of fats and proteins.
I believe, in most cases, goats milk is a better choice. But you might consider cow’s milk if autism is an issue:
When is comes to beta-casein, which is supposed to be the problem for autistic and schizophrenic patients, goat’s milk contains more of it compared to cow’s milk
Homemade yogurt plays a key role in the SCD or GAPS diet, flooding the gut with beneficial bacteria. As a matter of fact, the lactic acid bacteria and probiotics in yogurt play a key role in boosting your immune system!
If you aren’t familiar with the Specific Carb diet (SCD) or GAPS diet, it calls for homemade yogurt that has been fermented for a full 24 hours. This ensures that all the lactose has been consumed during the fermenting process, making the yogurt extremely digestible. That’s right… this yogurt is completely lactose free!
What milk can I use?
For this technique, use raw goat milk, raw cow milk or pasteurized cow milk.
I remember reading on the Breaking the Vicious Cycle Website that founder Elaine said that pasteurized goat milk will not make yogurt. I agree – I have tried to make it with pasteurized goat milk and it turned out watery and separated. But Naomi says she has a technique that works!
You have two options when using raw goat milk for yogurt. Heat it to 180 degrees, which will produce basically a low temperature pasteurized yogurt. Or heat it to only 110 degrees to have raw yogurt. There is a risk that the fermenting of raw yogurt will increase any pathogenic bacteria present in the milk, and some say it is more dangerous to eat raw yogurt than raw milk. Also, raw yogurt will be pretty runny. I make my yogurt raw, and I’m still alive. Plus, the raw yogurt is just chock full of the beneficial enzymes… enzymes that are destroyed when the milk is heated over 117 degrees. So it’s your call.
If you are using pasteurized cow’s milk, you must heat it to 180 degrees.
What starter can I use for goat milk yogurt?
If you are following SCD, it is recommended to avoid strains of bifidus. This is not required on the GAPS diet, however. Those with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis often benefit by avoiding bifidus during the healing process.
For yogurt starters, I like the Yogourmet Starter. This one is allowed for SCD because it lacks bifidus, while this one contains bifidus and may be used for the GAPS diet. Use 1 5 gram packet per quart of milk. Know that if you are making goat milk yogurt, the final yogurt will have a tiny amount of cow dairy due to the milk powder in the starter.
Alternatively, you can use a commercial yogurt as a starter. Use 1/4 cup yogurt per 1 quart of milk. Dannon Whole Milk Yogurt and Ervian Yogurt contain only acidophilus and is therefore allowed as a starter for SCD. You can use any type of plain, non-flavored yogurt for the starter, including commercial goat milk yogurt, if you are not on SCD.
- 1 quart to 1 gallon of raw goat milk, raw cow milk or pasteurized cow milk
- 1 packet of Yogourmet yogurt starter per 1 quart of milk
- OR ¼ cup commercial yogurt per 1 quart of milk
- Optionally sterilize materials It is recommended to sterilize all your materials (bowl, whisk, thermometers, and jars) by pouring boiling water over them. I don't do this and I'm still alive. It's your call.
- Warm the milk Heat the milk to 180 degrees or 110 degrees (see above), whisking often. Again, if you are using pasteurized milk, you must heat it to 180 degrees. Keep the meat or candy thermometer in the pot--I tie mine to the handle so it doesn't fall in. Don't use the instant read thermometer now, because you want to constantly monitor the temperature. Also, don't leave the kitchen! The milk boils over quickly if forgotten...
- Don't heat the milk over 180 degrees. When the milk has reached 180 (or 110 if using raw milk) degrees, remove from the heat.
- Let the milk cool to 100-105 degrees--use the instant read thermometer for this. If the milk is too hot, the cultures will die. To speed cooling if you've heated the milk to 180 degrees, transfer it to the fridge when it has stopped steaming. Check the milk every 30-60 minutes with the thermometer. Speaking from experience, turn on a timer to mark these intervals so the milk doesn't get to cold. Don't cool the milk past 64 degrees.
- Mix milk and starter culture Add your starter yogurt or starter culture to a bowl. Add about ½ cup cooled milk (no need to be exact). Whisk for about a minute to fully dissolve starter. Then whisk this mixture into the remaining cool milk. Mix completely--stir vigorously for about 30 seconds.
- Incubate the yogurt Pour the milk/starter mixture into your sterilized glass jars or containers. Incubate in a yogurt maker or dehydrator at 105 to 110 degrees for 24-28 hours. I recommend an Excalibur Dehydrator as a yogurt maker (read below)
- Let yogurt rest Remove the yogurt form the dehydrator/yogurt maker and let rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours before consuming. If using raw cow milk, stir the fresh yogurt gently before transferring it to the fridge. This will help mix the cream and milk together. This step is not necessary if using pasteurized cow milk or if using raw goat milk (goat milk is naturally homogenized).
- The yogurt will be thin. If you wish to thicken the yogurt, drip it through a sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth.
What yogurt maker is best for goat milk yogurt?
The key to SCD/GAPS diet goat milk yogurt is incubating for a full 24 hours. This gives the bacteria enough time to eliminate any lactose in the yogurt. If you do not want lactose-free yogurt, you can ferment this goat milk yogurt for only 8-12 hours.
Only some yogurt makers will run for a full 24 hours. A popular option is the Yogourmet yogurt maker, which I do not recommend for GAPS/SCD yogurt. It usually over heats, which means not all the lactose will be consumed. If, during the fermenting process, the yogurt temperature rises over 115 degrees, there will be some lactose in the finished yogurt, a no-no for SCD/GAPS yogurt.
The Excalibur Dehydrator is the best SCD/GAPS yogurt incubator, in my opinion. First, it holds nine pints of yogurt at a time–so you spend less time in the kitchen tediously heating and cooling milk. Second, it has precise temperature controls. GAPS/SCD yogurt is very finicky, and must be incubated at exactly 105 to 110 degrees to ensure that the lactose is consumed. If you take the temperature of your SCD goat milk yogurt after incubating and it is below 105 or above 115 degrees, it is not SCD legal (since the milk sugars will not be fully consumed by the bacteria).
Making goat milk yogurt for the first time seems intimidating and time consuming. But after a couple of times, you will develop your own rhythm for the process. The incredible health benefits of SCD/GAPS goat milk yogurt greatly outweighs the slight headache of preparing it.