Homemade Yogurt (GAPS)
Updated: Nov 22
If you've looked through some of my recipes, you'll discover that many of my dishes are allergy-friendly. I have cooked dairy-free and gluten-free for years as this has helped to manage some of the symptoms that I'd had for decades. Some of these symptoms range from skin issues, gas and bloating, inflammation, and so on.
Going dairy-free and gluten-free seemed to help for a time -- until it didn't. When it comes to chronic gut issues, they will not be healed by merely eliminating the offending foods. If you suspect you have leaky gut or gut dysbiosis, 'healing and sealing' the gut lining, as recommended by the GAPS diet, is frequently an effective and appropriate protocol to accomplish this.
Not All Equal
Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride, author of the GAPS diet book, includes dairy at the beginning stages of the protocol because the problem for many people is simply the lactose in the milk. The yogurt recommended in the protocol is a long-fermented yogurt (24 hours) so the lactose is essentially eliminated. The yogurt is filled with beneficial bacteria which is one of the foundational elements of the diet.
Why Homemade Over Conventional?
Many might read about these great benefits of yogurt and think that they can just go to the store, buy a container of yogurt and assume they're covered. That's just not the case. There are several reasons why conventional yogurt is not nearly as beneficial as homemade or home-cultured yogurt.
Conventional yogurt is only fermented between 4 and 12 hours. This does not allow enough time for the lactose to be consumed by the beneficial bacteria. Essentially, there will still be too much sugar in the yogurt making it problematic for people who struggle with dysbiosis and leaky gut. Home-cultured (GAPS style) yogurt has a long fermentation process which ensures there is no longer lactose in the yogurt.
Homemade (GAPS style) Yogurt
1 liter or 4 cups of organic, whole, pasteurized milk
2 tbs of organic yogurt starter (a store-bought plain, organic yogurt)
Pour the milk into the saucepan and heat on medium. Bring the milk slowly up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 degrees Celsius. If you want a thicker yogurt, keep it at 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 82 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or 43 degrees Celsius. Once it has cooled, you can add your yogurt starter and blend well with the wisk. You may have some 'skin' on the milk that has developed. You can remove that and throw it away. Pour the milk carefully into the yogurt maker and incubate for 24 hours if you are preparing GAPS yogurt. If you are not preparing GAPS yogurt, you can incubate for 12 hours. After incubation, allow the yogurt to cool before consuming.
We lived in Bulgaria for 4 years and the yogurt we make at home reminds me of the amazing yogurt there. This yogurt is slightly tangy, thick, and delicious. The best thing about it for me is that I have no adverse reaction to it! Most importantly, it is a healing food. The yogurt is filled with beneficial bacteria needed for healthy gut flora.