If you’ve watched even one of the videos from the 100+ Real Food video library available on this blog, you probably know that I have a microwave in my kitchen.
Do I use it for cooking or heating anything that my family consumes?
No. I haven’t used a microwave to heat or cook anything in many, many years. I much prefer my small countertop convection oven which doesn’t heat food unnaturally and creates carcinogens like a microwave does.
Why don’t I just remove the microwave from my kitchen then? The truth is that the microwave can function as a handy airtight cupboard and proves quite useful for other tasks besides cooking and heating believe it or not.
I mentioned in one of my Real Food videos that I frequently use it for airtight, room temperature storage of freshly baked bread, cookies, and other baked goods.
It also works very well for making homemade raw yogurt. It is, of course, made from unpasteurized milk.
What about Greek yogurt? Is Greek yogurt better? How about the similar German style cheesy yogurt known as Quark? While not necessarily healthier, if you make it yourself allowing sufficient time for probiotic inoculation, these are certainly a nutritious choice! It is ultimately a personal preference as long as the yogurt is fermented properly.
If you don’t have access to raw yogurt, whether regular or Greek, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Pasteurized yogurt even if organic pales in comparison to the digestibility and nutrient value of raw yogurt, so if you are able to snag some raw milk from a local farm, here’s how to make it into raw yogurt.
While the recipe below works fine using the microwave as the incubator, yogurt made in a slow cooker is more dependable in texture.
*This helpful recipe idea was given to me by my friend Cynthia Calisch, who has passed away. May she rest in peace.
Raw Yogurt Recipe
How to make raw yogurt using the microwave as the perfect incubation unit (turned off). When raw, yogurt has a pleasant drinkable style texture compared with scoopable heated yogurt.
- 1/4 cup Plain, whole milk yogurt preferably organic and grass-fed
- 3 3/4 cups Raw cow or goat milk preferably grass-fed
Scoop 1/4 cup of the plain whole milk yogurt into a clean, wide mouth, glass mason jar (I like these). After you've made raw yogurt one time, you can use your own raw yogurt as the starter for subsequent batches.
Warm the raw milk on the stove to between 105 - 117F. No enzymes or nutrition is lost heating to this temperature but the warmed milk enables the yogurt culture to "take" better than room temperature raw milk.
Pour about half a cup of the warmed milk into the mason jar and mix with the yogurt.
Pour the remaining warmed milk into the mason jar, stir and close the lid tightly.
Wrap the mason jar in a thick hand towel, secure with a rubber band and place inside your microwave closing the door. Leave the light in the microwave on to keep a bit of warmth inside.
In 24 hours, open the microwave and voila! You will have yourself a lovely quart of raw yogurt!
How about the oven with light on? Our microwave is too small snd quart jar won’t stand in it. My sister used to use her oven years ago.
That might work. I haven’t tried it.
Since water does a good job of holding heat, I put 115 degree water in my cooler, ( I have one where the handle flips over the top to lock the cover in place and it’s very air tight) just enough to almost cover my canning jars. Put the cover on the cooler and it will hold that temp for many hours. You could check the temp every 8 hours and replace the water if necessary. Or just add enough hot water to bring it back up to temp. The cooler also works for the room temp, air tight storage idea. Pest and pet proof.
Sarah, do you have any estimate on what the temperature inside your microwave is with a light on? And what is the temperature that will kill the enzymes in raw milk? Thank you.
118F is the temperature where enzymes are destroyed. A microwave that is not turned on and has the light on won’t come close to this temperature. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/at-what-temperature-are-food-enzymes-destroyed/
I do mine in the back of my wagon adjust temp by raising or lowering windows
My microwave doesn’t not offer a “leave the light on” option. How much will not having the light on affect the yogurt?
It affects it a great deal, unfortunately! You can try wrapping the mason jars in thick towel and putting it in a small, sturdy cooler with the lid sealed. This works for a friend of mine instead of the microwave with the light on approach.
Surely someone made yogurt before yogurt was “homemade” using yogurt. Can I do this?