There is a lot of talk in the media and amongst health conscious consumers about probiotics and the benefits of cultured foods. The beneficial flora found in cultured foods help to improve digestion and strengthen the immune system and even contribute to the manufacturing of essential vitamins. Our bodies are naturally filled with trillions of these flora microorganisms but they are constantly being diminished and put off balance in battle with fungi, bacteria, viruses and protozoans leading to a wide array of diseases ranging from skin disorders and digestive problems to allergies and asthma and even more acute and chronic debilitating diseases like cancer. Daily supplementing with probiotic products and probiotic containing foods can help to ensure that you and your animal family can live a long healthy life. One sure fire way to ensure that you and your animals are getting the beneficial bacteria required for a healthy digestive system is with freshly made Yogurt right from your own kitchen.
Why Goat Milk ?
After experimenting with different kinds of milk, low fat, no fat, cow and goat, we have settled on regular goats milk as our dairy product of choice to be cultured for many reasons. First of all, the fat molecules in goats milk are one-fifth the size of cows milk making it more tolerable for those with digestive issues and damaged livers. Because of the smaller fat molecules, those who can not tolerate cows milk often do not have the same issues with goats milk. Goat’s milk does not form mucous and is therefore better tolerated by those with asthma and allergies. Its flavor is comparable to, but milder then cow’s milk and it has an alkaline reaction in the body like “mother’s milk” where as milk from a cow has an acidic reaction. Many people and dogs have a lactose intolerance and do not digest cows milk all that well. Goats milk does have lactose, but it is of a different make up that is easier to assimilate. As yogurt, the goats milk is cultured and even easier to digest making it a wonderful immune boosting treat that you can feel good about eating and sharing with your animal companion.
Where Do I get Goat Milk?
Living in the heart of a major metropolis like we do, there is not a lot of access to “fresh” goat milk unless the goats are raised at home in your own back yard. Unfortunately, this is not an option for us, so we scoured the healthy grocery stores for the most affordable pasteurized goats milk and came up with Meyenburg brand bought at Wild Oats grocery as the most affordable. There are other brands available and the milk is sold in several other outlets so you will need to find out what is available in your area. If you can find a local farm to get raw milk from that would be even better. However, there would be extra steps in pasteurizing the milk before making the yogurt. Because our milk is “store bought” and already pasteurized, I have left that step out of our instructions.
There are several ways to inoculate the milk with live culture. Because we believe the best probiotic products on the market are produced by the Nature’s Sunshine
vitamin and herb company, we use 1 capsule each of their Acidophilus
and Probiotic 11
products as our starter. Nature Sunshine is a company that we know we can trust to provide us with a high quality active product and we have found with our experiments that these products work great for our purposes and in using the three different types we are assured several different strains that you would not otherwise find commercially in “manufactured” yogurt.
There are lots of different methods of preparing yogurt. This is what we have found works best for us but don’t be afraid to play around and do your own experimenting to find out what works best for you.
What you will need...
Large Pot w/ Lid
Sterilized 1/2 gallon Mason Jars w/ Lids (adjust as needed)
Preparing the Jars
First you will need to sterilize the jars and lids. Fill the bottom third of the large pot with water with the mason jars inside. Cover and Bring to boil for several minutes allowing the heated steam to sterilize the jars. At the same time boil the lids. Either in the same pot with the jars or separate. Remove the jars from the water being careful not to touch the inside or top of the jar. Empty any water inside and cover with the sterilized lid until the jars come down to a temperature cool to the touch.
Once the jar is cooled, fill halfway with goats milk, add the inoculant by emptying the powdered content of 1 capsule of each different probiotic, fill the rest of the jar with milk, shake vigorously and set aside. Empty any water leftover in large pot (too hot!) and refill with warm water. (eventually you will want the water to be 110°F ) Place Jar of inoculated goat milk in large pot with water about to the jars neck level on stove top. Gently heat the water to 110°F using thermometer to measure and monitor. Cover and let sit for 24 hrs at that 110°F temp. It is very low maintenance keeping the temperature constant by leaving the pot over the pilot lights of a gas oven and using the ovens heat to warm.
Approx. 24 hrs later, remove jars from water to cool on the countertop for a few minutes and then place in Refrigerator to cool for 6 to 8 hours. (Or as long as you can wait!)