MAKING YOGURT - FERMENTATION TIME & TEMPERATURE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Posted on April 11 2016
Yogurt fermentation time and temperature impact the bacterial quality of homemade yogurt. At the right temperature, milk turns to yogurt in 6 - 8 hours. But yogurt is not a food to rush along or be impatient with. Yogurt is a living food, full of active, beneficial bacteria that have a vital job to do.
FERMENTATION TIME IS PARAMOUNT TO BOUNTIFUL BACTERIA
Within milk there is a type of sugar called lactose. (1) Bacteria (the yogurt starter culture added to milk to kick-start yogurt) consume and thrive on the lactose in milk. Even after an 8 hour yogurt fermentation, the milk still has plenty of lactose. It is very simple; the longer the fermentation, the less lactose. 24 hours is an ideal fermentation time and produces a yogurt with less lactose.
WHY IS LACTOSE-FREE YOGURT SO IMPORTANT?
Just as good bacteria (in the starter culture) consume the sugar in milk, bad bacteria (living inside your digestive system) also like to consume sugar. Inside the gut, lactose is a source of food for these guys. THEY LOVE IT! Bad bacteria are the dudes that are a big nuisance to our health.
So a yogurt that has been left to ferment for 24 hours is not only wildly abundant with healthy bacteria, it starves the bad bacteria of their favourite food source. Being almost lactose free means it’s almost sugar free!
This is the basis of the SCD diet; to remove all sugars and heal the gut by depriving bad bacteria of the food they love. Find out more about the SCD diet.
IT MUST BE HOMEMADE!
Natural, unsweetened, Greek yogurt is the nearest thing in the supermarket to homemade 24 hour yogurt, however, even this remains full of lactose. I doubt many natural yogurts are left to ferment longer than 6 hours.
Again, it's pretty simple: commercial yogurt feeds the bad bacteria and 24 hour yogurt feeds the good bacteria.
"These friendly creatures and their by-products keep pathogens at bay, guard against infectious illness and aid in the fullest possible digestion of all food we consume." Nourishing Traditions, page 81
A bowl of fresh, chilled, homemade, 24 hour yogurt has an abundance of good bacteria set in the environment they grew in. By contrast, store bought yogurt has been transported from factory to supermarket and then to your fridge. No wonder preservatives and stabilisers are often added to ensure longevity and shelf life.
AND WHAT ABOUT CASEIN?
Many people worry about casein; the protein found in milk that is well known for causing allergic symptoms and digestive upset. People who have problems digesting casein can often tolerate 24 hour fermented raw milk, goat or sheep milk. Coconut milk or almond milk yogurt are other great alternatives if you prefer to avoid casein altogether.
TEMPERATURE AND BACTERIA
Higher heat will speed up the fermentation process. But that’s not such a good thing if you are aiming for a probiotic rich yogurt. Too much heat will damage or kill off your starter culture. Conversely, if the temperature is too cool, the culture will become dormant and fermentation will not occur.
Homemade 24 hour yogurt requires a stable, continuous heat between 38 – 43 degrees Celsius for (obviously) 24 hours. A Luvele Yoghurt Maker will ensure your yogurt remains at the ideal fermentation temperature for perfect homemade yoghurt goodness. The recipe and instructions can be found here or view an easy, step by step infographic here.