Electric or not, I still had to heat the milk, pour it in small, individual yogurt jars, wait for it to cook, make sure I would be home to turn it off and refrigerate it, and then wash out each little jar only to do it again the next day because we ate the yogurt so fast. Ugh.
Did. Not. Like. It. There’s something to be said for eating healthy without driving yourself insane.
Then I discovered viili yogurt (also known as viila).
Let me tell you, viili yogurt has got to be the easiest yogurt in the world to make. You add milk to a bit of yogurt starter, let it sit on your counter at room temperature, and before you can say Bob’s-your-uncle, you’ve got yogurt.
I can live with that.
Not only is viili yogurt easy to make, it also lives ‘forever’ with proper care. Most yogurt starters only live for a few generations. That means eventually you’d have to buy another starter. With viili yogurt you use a small amount of yogurt to inoculate new batches over and over again.
Ohh, that made me sound smart, didn’t it. Inoculate. I should use that word more often. “Travis, dear, we’re having inoculated yogurt at dinner tonight . . .” Okay, maybe not.)
By using your yogurt to start new batches, you’ll never have to buy yogurt starter again. It’s like the Energizer Bunny. It keeps going and going. . . and I just aged myself, didn’t I? Ahem.
What Kind of Milk Should I Use?
I use pasteurized, store-bought whole milk (without RsBT or growth hormones) whenever I make yogurt. This milk does not need to be heated and the yogurt adds beneficial bacteria to pasteurized milk – therefore making store-bought milk a bit better in the end.
Raw milk, on the other hand, needs to be heated otherwise the bacteria in the milk will slowly kill the yogurt. To me, raw milk is like gold. I don’t use it in anything I would have to heat because I want all the health benefits and beneficial bacteria raw milk offers.
However, store bought milk is still pasturized. This is one of those areas I’ve been going back and forth on. Right now I’m using store-bought, but raw milk is just plain better for you, even if you do have to heat it. So don’t be surprised if I change my mind down the road. . .:)
Can I Use an Alternative Milk to Make Viili?
Viili starter can be used with coconut milk but it isn’t likely to last for more than a few generations. It’s recommend to keep a back-up dairy-based culture on hand if you want to experiment with other milks. You can make it with goat milk, however it will not be as thick as yogurt made with whole cow milk.
Does This Yogurt Contain Sugar?
Although I wouldn’t really count this as a this-contains-sugar recipe, technically, I should tell you that there is a small amount of sugar from the natural lactose in milk. Lactose is consumed by the yogurt bacteria to produce lactic acid (yogurt’s tanginess and natural preservative). With that said though, there isn’t much lactose left in the finished yogurt.
Homemade Viili Yogurt (egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, yeast-free)
you will need:
viili yogurt starter
a pint jar (I’m using a half gallon in the pics)
1 c. milk
1. If you’re starting with a new viili starter from Cultures for Health, detailed directions will be included. (The new starter is freeze dried.) However, the concept is the same. With a freeze dried starter you’ll want to add about 1/8th teaspoon to 1 cup of milk. With established yogurt, you’ll want to use about 1 Tablespoon per cup of milk.
2. After you’ve added the milk, simply stir well and cover loosely with a paper towel so air can still get to it, but the flies can’t.
3. Let it sit at room temp (70-75 degrees) for about 24 hrs or until it becomes thick enough that you can gently tip the jar and see that it isn’t runny. You should be able to see a few bubbles through the glass on the side of the jar and the yogurt should be the consistency of a loose jelly.
4. Once it’s done I like to refrigerate it before I eat it. Cold yogurt tastes better to me and it seems to thicken just a tad more after being refrigerated.
I LOVE yogurt and homemade granola sprinkled with a bit of stevia to help with the tanginess. The kids love to add frozen blueberries or strawberries. You can also use yogurt to make homemade whey, sour cream, or cream cheese.
There’s so much you can do with it, and it’s so good for you that living without homemade yogurt would be absolutely. . .crazy!
There’s apparently been a lot of controversy about the carb count of homemade yogurt. Because I make whole milk yogurt I’ve simply used the carb count stated in Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution for the same.
1 cup = 11.4g carbs
Don’t know where to purchase some of these ingredients? Visit our Whole Food Sources page.
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