Yogurt, Cheese & Butter


Making your own yogurt, cheese and butter at home is easy!

Here are a few quick recipes to try at home:


Yoghurt is milk that has been soured by the bacteria Bacillus bulgaricum. To make yoghurt you can use a special yoghurt-making machine or a nice heavy earthen-ware crock. Bacteria need a warm environment so the key factor in making yoghurt is in controlling the temperature of the milk at “blood heat” long enough for it to thicken into yoghurt.

The procedure for making the yoghurt is as follows:

- Clean and sterilise the earthenware crock

- Place 1.5 litre of fresh milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the desired temperature is reached

- Pour the warn milk into the crock and stir in 2 tablespoons of live (commercially prepared) yoghurt.

- Add any nuts or fruit flavouring that you might like (optional)

- Cover the mixture with a lid.

- You will need to keep the yoghurt at blood warm temperature for 2-3 days until it thickens. You might wrap it in a thick warm blanket and place it in an airing cupboard over the hot water system if you have one, or keep it warm by burying it in straw.

- When it goes thick you have yoghurt!

- When you take some out to use each day, make sure you put the same amount of fresh milk back, to keep the culture going. Ensure the milk is clean, sterile and fresh to stop the yoghurt from going bad.


Cheese is made from milk whose acidity has been increased either by an additive (i.e. rennet) or by being left in the warm so it curdles naturally. Rennet is enzymes removed from a calf’s stomach. Vegetarian rennet is sold in some specialty stores.

The acid causes the milk to form into curds and whey. Cheese is made from curds and the whey can be fed to the pigs (if you have any!). Milk that is used in cheese-making must have a balanced ratio of butterfat and solids-not-fat (snf).

Types of cheeses include: hard, soft, Cheddar and semi-soft cheeses. The easiest cheese to make is a simple soft cheese (i.e. cottage cheese).

Making Cottage cheese from goat milk:

- Put the milk in a container to “stand”. Don’t use plastic!

- If it does not curdle readily add some cider vinegar or add a rennet tablet (junket)

- When it sets strain it through a cheese cloth until all the liquid is drained out (this may take a couple of days)

- Add salt, pepper herbs etc to flavour

- Refrigerate


Butter is made from cream that is skimmed or separated from the milk, stored and churned. Store the cream in the refrigerator until you have a sufficient amount to use.

The cream needs to “ripen” before it can be made into butter. This means that lactic acid bacteria need to have converted some of the lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. This might require keeping the oldest of the cream for about 24 hours. Make sure the last batch of cream has gone in at least 12 hours before you start churning.

Churn (beat) the mixture in a mixer or butter churn until the butter separates from the buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk to use in scones. Wash the butter with cold water until the water runs clear. Pat the butter dry and store.


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