Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

After more than 12 years of faithful service, my trusty yogurt maker went to the big landfill down the road. It was a sad day, for sure, but after a great deal of research I finally bought a Euro Cuisine YM260 Yogurt Maker, 2-Quart . This one is electric (like my old one) and it keeps the milk at just the right temperature during the fermentation period. What makes it better than my old one is that it makes 1/2 gallon! My old one only made a quart, which we finish off in one morning of smoothies during the summer. Euro Cuisine also makes smaller yogurt makers, including one that has seven small jars, the Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker .

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links to Amazon, so if you buy this yogurt maker, we'll get a very small commission, and you will pay exactly the same price as you would even if you didn't click on our link. 

Feel free to share your inexpensive (or free) yogurt fermentation techniques in the comment section. I write about some of those methods in my book, and some of them work. Since we eat a lot of yogurt, though, I find it easier to use a yogurt maker.

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Now I know what to add to my Christmas list!! I've wanted to try making yogurt for a long time, but have never gotten around to it. I think I would be more apt to give it a go if I had a yogurt maker because that seems like it makes the process SO much easier. Thanks for recommending a good one!

Deborah and Emily,

We got a great yogurt maker here and it is sooooo simple. It is made by a New Zealand company. It only makes a litre at a time but that is about right for us. The makers also sell shatchels of starter culture+powdered milk, including flavoured satchels, but we just make plain yogurt, using milk and some of the previous lot as a starter. We use a single 1 litre box of UHT milk, add a Tbs or two of yogurt, shake and put in the maker. The maker doesn't use electricity, just boiling water and you leave it 8 hours or so, and PRESTO! you have yogurt. I don't know if it is available in the U.S. The maker is Easiyo.

Just to be clear: You do NOT need to use the satchels of powdered milk stuff to use this gizmo. We use plain milk (UHT) and some yogurt from the previous effort. Sometimes we have used powdered milk, but it is easier with the UHT. We have had it for about five years and it is indestructible. I suspect that a 1 quart mason jar would also fit in it. Unfortunately, I don't have one here in Australia to try it out. We use either the plastic pot that came with it or a litre glass jar.


This is a clip about it - scroll down. (bit dopey, but you can see the product)

https://www.easiyo.com/the-easiyo-system/index.html

Our method for making yogurt is crude, but cheap and simple and I have not yet had a failure in 5 years.  I put the warm/hot milk with some yogurt starter of yogurt from my previous batch in to a 1 liter mason jar, cap it, then wrap it up in 2 large towels.  Then I put that whole assembly into the oven - turned off  of course- it is simply a nice draft free place in the house.  In the morning we have delicious plain yogurt.  Yep, that's about it.  The Easiyo and the Euro cuisine both look nice, much more elegant than my method.  When money is not so tight some day maybe soon, I'd love to pick one up.

Judy,

That is how my parents and grandmother made it.

The only difference with the Easiyo is that it is like a thermos bottle and holds the heat of the boiling water so that the towels and oven are not needed. I think the insulation is all styrofoam on the Easiyo because the outer container (the thermos-like gizmo) is very light weight. I think the only real innovation that Easiyo did was to calculate the amount of heat required to warm the milk and not over heat the culture, and then determine how much boiling water contained that amount of heat. Then the thermos was designed to hold just the right amount of water so than it all became pretty fool proof. One just fills the gizmo with boiling water to the fill line and next morning, the milk is yogurt and the water and yogurt are just luke warm. I think it cost us about 20$, maybe 25.

I make my yogurt using some of the previous for starter -which started  from a store bought yogurt that had just the live culture in it.   I used to use a small styrofoam cooler when my children were all at home - with a few inches of warm water and several quart jars of milk with starter.   We made a lot.   Recently I bought a "yogourmet"  electric yogurt machine from costco.com.  Price was pretty good and it makes up to two quarts at a time.   I like to drain it after I make it and get the greek style yogurt.   If I stick it in the fridge to drain and leave it quite a bit longer it is almost cream cheese.    My girls used to call it yogurt cheese and we have made cheese cake from it .    I often have to use store milk and to get it thicker I add a little powdered milk.   Don't know why that help but seems to. 

Buttermilk I make by just adding a little starter from previous batch and leave it on the counter overnight.  I use store milk for that cause I don't have enough goats milk.  I have wondered if yogurt would culture at room temp. that way also.   Must try it and see.    Looking back I see that Judy H  basically does that.  

Yogurt is made with a thermophilic culture, and it does not culture at room temperature. It needs to be around 110 degrees. You might get some action at 100 degrees, but it would take much longer. Judy's yogurt is not culturing at room temperature. She is insulating with towels and her oven -- similar to using something like a Yogotherm or an insulated cooler. Buttermilk cultures at room temperature because it uses a mesophilic culture, which works best when temps are in the 80s. We have made buttermilk here in winter when our house is in the upper 60s, but it takes a couple of days for it to culture.

Also, I want to warn people about using store-bought yogurt as your culture. If it doesn't say "contains live cultures" on the label, it will not work. Even if it does say "contains live cultures" it's not guaranteed to work. Some work; some don't. Feel free to try it, but if it doesn't work, don't be surprised.

Beverly, the reason that your ND yogurt gets so thick is because of the butterfat. Adding some store-bought milk to your ND milk makes it thinner because you are lowering the butterfat. Our yogurt looks pretty normal in the spring and summer, but this time of year, it is as thick as the thickest greek yogurt you've ever seen. Straining it would be  impossible. Here is a pic of a recent batch --

Hi, I'm Linda and I don't think I've commented before. I agree that ND milk is super sweet and creamy.  I think for yogurt and cheese, more than the milk fat is the protein content of the Niggies milk. In composition it is closer to sheep, which has a higher protein content.

I bought the one that uses the small jars, and it works fine. We had two problems, though-- the little jars do leak a bit, so they were causing problems in lunch bags. The second problem was that the yogurt was SO much better than store-bought that the little jars weren't enough. We solved both issues by making a gallon of yogurt at a time, filling all the bitty jars, and then using canning jars in lunch-size coolers. It works *great.* We've got the thermometer out anyway for the yogurt, and we use 115-degree water around the jars. My coolers will hold either 2 quart-size jars or six 6-ounce jars. Water in first (you'll have to fiddle around a bit to figure out how much water will surround the jars without sloshing into them, then use a Sharpie to mark your level), then jars with yogurt & starter, then a sheet of waxed paper, then a folded-up towel to take up the extra space, then latch the cooler and don't move it for 8 hours. The waxed paper keeps lint out of the yogurt, and once you take them out you can use the regular wax-ring jar lid setup to keep them watertight in lunches. I'm re-using the jar lids after a warm water wash, and no problems at all.

Hi Linda! Nice to "meet" you! I admit that until this moment I have pretty much ignored my goat's protein levels. We are on milk test, so I pulled out my reports to see if it changes much. Earlier in the year, their protein levels were in the 3-4% range, and now they are all over 5%. Although it is different, it is nothing compared to how the butterfat changes. Everyone's butterfat is now more than 8%, with some goats at more than 9.9%. Unfortunately my lab only has two columns for reporting butterfat, so I'll never know how high my girls actually go. Sheep milk also has a higher fat content than most goat milk. I've made yogurt with my Shetland sheep milk also, and it was just as thick as the late-season Nigerian milk that is in my picture above. The sheep milk was from sheep that were only two months fresh and in mid-summer when the goats were still at their 6% butterfat and 4% protein levels.

Linda Foley said:

Hi, I'm Linda and I don't think I've commented before. I agree that ND milk is super sweet and creamy.  I think for yogurt and cheese, more than the milk fat is the protein content of the Niggies milk. In composition it is closer to sheep, which has a higher protein content.

I never had my goats milk tested, but I know the butterfat goes up as the lactation continues. The last milking from my little Niggie's milk was half and half. I let it sit for a few days and you could see the cream separation... totally amazing! I don't have goats now, but hope to again in a few months. I only made room temp 'yogurt' so don't really know how they would do with the heated kind. I always made it from raw milk.

Thanks Deborah - of course the culture is different.  I didn't even think about that.    I only use the one store bought yogurt that I have had good results from if I need a starter and don't have any on hand.       Your yogurt looks so good.    I just don't have enough milk right now for the buttermilk and yogurt and have to use store bought.    Spring should change .    

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Yogurt is made with a thermophilic culture, and it does not culture at room temperature. It needs to be around 110 degrees. You might get some action at 100 degrees, but it would take much longer. Judy's yogurt is not culturing at room temperature. She is insulating with towels and her oven -- similar to using something like a Yogotherm or an insulated cooler. Buttermilk cultures at room temperature because it uses a mesophilic culture, which works best when temps are in the 80s. We have made buttermilk here in winter when our house is in the upper 60s, but it takes a couple of days for it to culture.

Also, I want to warn people about using store-bought yogurt as your culture. If it doesn't say "contains live cultures" on the label, it will not work. Even if it does say "contains live cultures" it's not guaranteed to work. Some work; some don't. Feel free to try it, but if it doesn't work, don't be surprised.

Beverly, the reason that your ND yogurt gets so thick is because of the butterfat. Adding some store-bought milk to your ND milk makes it thinner because you are lowering the butterfat. Our yogurt looks pretty normal in the spring and summer, but this time of year, it is as thick as the thickest greek yogurt you've ever seen. Straining it would be  impossible. Here is a pic of a recent batch --

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