Raw and Pasteurized Yogurt Differences (plus video)

by Sarah Fermented Foods, Raw Milk at Home, VideosComments: 35

bowl of raw yogurt

Yogurt is a favorite food of many Americans.   It is loaded with probiotics and much easier to digest than plain milk even for those with no milk tolerance issues.  As a result, when folks are making the transition to fresh, unpasteurized milk from the farm for the very first time, raw yogurt is a food that most readily wish to try.

After all, if raw milk was truly as dangerous and pathogen ridden as the government would have us believe, it wouldn’t culture into yogurt so easily, would it? Consequently, folks in the process of making the mental paradigm shift to fresh dairy usually feel extremely comfortable with raw yogurt even if raw milk is still a bit too out of the box for them for the time being.

I am fortunate to have a local farm that makes absolutely fabulous raw milk yogurt.    However, I find that I spend quite a bit of time explaining the differences between raw milk yogurt and store bought yogurt to newcomers.

As a result, I thought I would spend a few minutes explaining raw and pasteurized yogurt differences for this week’s video lesson.

Raw and Pasteurized Yogurt Differences

By the way, if you wish to try your hand at making raw milk yogurt yourself as you do not have a local source available, Nourished Kitchen has a great how-to blog on the steps required.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

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Comments (35)

  • K

    Altho this thread is “older” I was searching & came across it….I have 32oz. of Strauss Farms plain yogurt that has gone off….I don’t want to throw it away because I know there HAS to be a use for it….whether baking or SOMETHING. It is just super tar…to tart to eat plain….so if anyone sees this and has any helpful hints…..let me know :) Thanks

    May 13th, 2014 6:07 pm Reply
    • josh’s

      you should be able to use the Strauss as a starter for some home-made raw yogurt – no?

      July 8th, 2016 6:02 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Most Amazing and Simply Delicious Yogurt Parfait | brandyskitchen

  • Beth Christensen

    Sarah, I made the switch to goat milk yogurt based on the recommendation of a nutritionist. Does yogurt from raw milk have the same benefits? I understand that goat’s milk is closer to human’s milk. Also, can I make whey from raw goat’s milk?

    May 10th, 2013 9:49 am Reply
  • Kelly

    two members of my local WPF chapter said that if you add sweetener (ie maple syrup or honey) to yogurt it cancels out the benefit of the probiotics in the yogurt? Do you agree and if so would adding your cold breakfast cereal (which my whole family loves, thank you!) be the same issue?

    February 13th, 2013 2:52 pm Reply
  • Tom

    “if raw milk was truly as dangerous and pathogen ridden as the government would have us believe, it wouldn’t culture into yogurt so easily, would it?”

    That’s awful logic.

    December 18th, 2012 2:15 pm Reply
  • Sherri

    I am a little confused on the digestability of pasturized raw milk yogurt. I’ve been making yogurt the GAPS way for many years now…first because we were doing GAPS, then continued because we loved the texture & taste (GAPS way you do heat milk to simmer stage, then add culture and incubate for 24 hrs for 100-110 degrees). If this heating so denatures the proteins, that would make it harder to digest. Yet this is what GAPS calls for – so why would they do this when the people following the diet have digestion issues to begin with? I know that the GAPS way digests all the lactose, but seems to me they would want a product that was easy to digest. I’ve tried going back and making raw milk yogurt and my family does not like it. Can you comment on the digestability of the GAPS yogurt?

    December 15th, 2012 11:36 pm Reply
  • Mary Orr

    I have my own grass feed jersey cow. I make my own raw yogurt by warming her mlk to 112 degress adding my culture. and incubating in a yogo therm for about 12hrs. then I refrigerate for another 12hrs. or overnight. I then strain the yogurt through butter cloth for about an hr. (stirring/folding from time to time). I end up with that nice thick greek yogurt thickness. 1/2 Gal of milk leaves me with 1qt. yogurt and 1qt. whey (that I give to a friend for her baby formula). I also like making a Quark by warming the milk only to 87degrees and adding buttermilk culture and 1 drop of liquid rennet per gal. The whey I’m unable to use for formula but makes a great energy drink mixed with other things. Great for summer days working hard outside. Blessings, Mary

    March 1st, 2012 12:03 pm Reply
  • Jodi

    I have 2 questions. Is puffed rice cereal as bad as the other cereals? Is it extruded?
    When making whey, can it be done in the frig. or does it have to be left at room temp? What does it taste like? Sour?

    September 21st, 2011 9:49 pm Reply
  • Raine Saunders (@AgriSociety)

    Home-made yogurt is superior to store-bought yogurt. Pasteurized yogurt is not fermented very long and often has… http://t.co/u2KL6seT

    September 19th, 2011 12:06 pm Reply
  • Rebecca in Abu Dhabi

    We have no access to raw milk in this country that I am aware of, so no raw milk yogurt :(
    My family and I are doing the GAPS diet, and until now we have been eating a commercial yogurt. as well as draining it for our source of whey for lacto fermented veggies.
    Now that I realize that commercial yogurt is not GAPS legal, I plan to make my yogurt from milk–pasteurized and homogenized, forage fed milk. What can I say, we do the best we can with what we have available to us…

    September 2nd, 2011 8:27 am Reply
  • Danielle

    How long with raw yogurt last in the refrigerator? I have an opportunity to buy some close to date milk and I was going to make yogurt with it if it will last for several weeks.


    February 25th, 2011 1:19 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Several weeks if not a month or two. I’ve never had mine go bad even after 3 months. Raw yogurt is much longer lasting than pasteurized yogurt.

      February 25th, 2011 2:36 pm Reply
      • Mikki

        I thought the older the yogurt became, the less live active cultures. I’ve read you should make it weekly in smaller batches to ensure you are getting the most of these LAC. No?

        October 15th, 2011 9:56 am Reply
  • Irene

    You can get thick yogurt from raw milk. The GAPS book tells you how (though I don’t think it is raw milk specific.) Anyway, here is what I do – gently heat the milk to 110, I use my digital meat thermometer, add yogurt from the last batch (about 1/4 cup per quart.) I use mason jars. Then it goes in the oven for about 12 hours at 95, my kitchen aid oven has a “hidden” bread rise feature. (You press and hold 2 buttons at the same time.) I bet many newer ovens with an electronic control panel have something like this. Then I leave it on the counter for 12-24 hours. I’ve been making yogurt this way for about a year without a hitch and it comes out as thick as store bought yogurt without any thickeners!! My only complaint is I get almost no whey!!

    February 3rd, 2011 3:00 am Reply

    Yes, you are right. You need to make a “pure” villi culture about every week or so.
    When you get the culture from Cultures for Health, they explain it very well. It really isn’t hard to do at all.

    December 17th, 2010 9:42 pm Reply
  • Lynda Moulton

    Hi SHARI,
    This is VERY helpful – one question though.

    Don’t you have to make a ‘mother with the culture’ every week so that the raw milk doesn’t kill off the yogurt culture?

    December 17th, 2010 6:11 pm Reply

    Cultures for Health

    December 17th, 2010 4:01 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Didn’t know they even had a villi culture!!!! Awesome .. it’s even on my Resources page! LOL

      December 17th, 2010 4:19 pm Reply

    I make raw milk yogurt all time with a villi culture and it is very thick.
    I just mix the culture with raw milk, set it on the counter until thick. It usually takes about 24 hours.

    December 17th, 2010 2:51 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Shari, where do you obtain this culture? Thanks.

      December 17th, 2010 3:41 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    Oh, just noticed Megan’s comment above that gets the raw milk yogurt thick by draining off the whey. Great tip, thanks Megan!! :)

    December 17th, 2010 2:09 pm Reply
    • Rick

      Draining off the whey… isn’t that how Greek yogurt is made?
      I have found that if do a good job thoroughly blending in my starter I get better results in the thickness of the yogurt.

      December 17th, 2010 2:52 pm Reply
      • Rick

        I am answering my own question… http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-greek-yogurt.htm
        Greek yogurt is made by draining off the whey.

        December 17th, 2010 2:55 pm Reply
        • Lauren

          I’m so new at all of this!

          I started raw milk last week and made my first batch of yogurt last night. I’m so excited! But it ended up VERY sour and very loose. So I’m draining off the whey as I type this.

          Question: can I use this whey in the same way as the whey from just milk as another video describes? Could I potentially use this whey to make formula?

          March 8th, 2011 12:12 pm Reply
    • Mikki

      I’ve been making yogurt all kinds of ways for two years now and if you begin with raw milk, no matter how you heat it, you will end up with a superior product. Let me explain. Go to Mother Linda’s site and she will give you much info on the subject. When I make yogurt using raw milk and don’t heat it above 110 it is very, very runny with lots of whey and curds. Cool if you want lots of whey, but at $8.50 for a quart of Organic Pastures Raw Milk, you end up with very little thick yogurt when you strain it. Okay, that’s good if you can afford to spend about $4.00 for an 8 oz jar of yogurt. Mother Linda says that you can heat the raw milk to 180, insuring thickness and still get a better yogurt than any store bought organic yogurt. Hey, if you heat it to 180, sure you kill of some good bacteria, but then you add live active cultures, don’t heat it above 110 and it’s grassfed, so how bad can that be? I think that’s the way to go. If I want to drink my yogurt, then I’ll do it raw and not heat it, but you do drink it.

      October 14th, 2011 11:54 pm Reply
      • Mikki

        PS I’ve done yogurt using pasturized cream at the top, grassfed organic milk and it works too if you heat it to 180. If you heat it to 110, then I’ve gotten a similar result, runny, runny, runny. So you strain the whey, get lots of that, and end up with very little thick enough yogurt to eat with a spoon. Mother Linda is probably correct. Go to her site.

        October 14th, 2011 11:57 pm Reply
  • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    There is no way I know of to make the yogurt thick unless you heat it to 180 or so. Much nutrition and enzymes are lost this way so I recommend raw milk yogurt for the superior digestibility and nutrition. Although .. if you heat it on the stove and the milk is raw,, much less damage is done than if the milk was pasteurized first. Still, raw milk yogurt is superior in every way to yogurt that was made by heating.

    December 17th, 2010 2:07 pm Reply
  • Lisa Douglas

    I had some of the same questions as Lynda. I’ve done the yogurt both totally raw or heated myself. I have to pastuerize some of our milk to feed to the 4 legged offspring since we are trying to eliminate an arthritis disease in our herd that is passed through the colostrum and milk. We absolutely have to keep the raw and pastuerized seperated and marked in the frig, so its easiest to pastuerize it all immediately. My pastuerizer is a waterbath type and heats to 165 degrees. I’m sure that kills a lot of stuff, but is it gentler than flash pastuerization in any way? It sure makes the yogurt thicker and smoother. I keep telling myself that I think its at least better than the stuff you could buy at the conveniance store, and try not to let myself obcess about everything being perfect.

    December 17th, 2010 12:46 pm Reply
  • Lynda Moulton

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks so much for this blog. We’ve been buying raw milk for over three years now, my family loves raw kefir smoothies made with kefir grains so 75% of our milk is cultured into kefir.
    The other 25% I make into yogurt. Because my family likes a very THICK and scoopable yogurt I have been gently heating the raw milk to 180 and then cooling to 110; then stirring in the yogurt culture like Sally Fallon explains in Nourishing Traditions. I am under the impression that unless you heat the milk to 180 the natural enzymes in the raw milk will kill off the new/added yogurt culture.
    For yogurt culture, I initially used the dried yogurt culture sold in packets from Whole Foods. And unless someone eats the last jar, I simply sacrifice one of the yogurts and use it to inoculate the next batch.
    Is there a better way to make yogurt at home and preserve the natural raw enzymes and have it nice and thick?

    December 17th, 2010 12:07 pm Reply
  • Lynn Therrien

    It might also be good to explain the difference between raw yogurt and raw kefir at some point. That is pretty significant as well, though yogurt is something with which folks are far more familiar. The best starting point. :)

    I fantasize about hospitals, prisons and homes for the elderly halving the grains and serving healthy raw dairy products and bone broth. Gosh, that would make such a difference! Just those 3. If I ran the hospital …. sounds like the beginning of a great Dr. Suess book. 😉

    December 17th, 2010 11:57 am Reply
    • Ariel

      Go Dr. Seuss!

      October 13th, 2011 8:23 pm Reply
  • Rick

    Sarah, this is great! We were at a small Christmas get together last night and for our gifts exchange we gave some fresh eggs from our chickens and a half a gal of raw milk. The subject of yogurt came up and what were the benefits of raw milk yogurt over store bought yogurt.

    December 17th, 2010 11:52 am Reply
  • Heather

    Sarah, we make raw yogurt cheese but can’t always eat it in a timely manner. How would freezing effect the enzymes and probiotics?

    December 17th, 2010 10:54 am Reply

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