Dairy and Non-Dairy Recipes

How to Make Goat Milk Yogurt

How to Make Goat or Cow’s Milk Yogurt

I’m so excited to have enough extra goat milk to make a batch of yogurt. I’m getting about two quarts of milk a day from one of the does and it is so delicious! My goal was to have enough milk for my coffee, our cereal, baking, yogurt, and maybe some cheese. Maybe someday I’ll have enough for a batch of homemade soap too. Until then, I’m happy to have enough for fresh use and some goat milk yogurt.

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This milk doesn’t taste as I expected. There’s no ‘goaty’ flavor at all. The cream content is fairly low compared to the raw Jersey milk I was buying from a local farmer, but that’s ok. Since the cream doesn’t rise to the top as readily as cow’s milk, I probably won’t be making butter or whipped cream from goat milk.

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How to Make an Easy Batch of Yogurt

Here are the step-by-step instructions to make a batch of yogurt from cow milk or goat milk:

  • Heat milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Hold milk at 180 F for 10 to 20 minutes for a thicker batch of yogurt
  • Cool milk to 110 to 120 F
  • Add starter culture to a clean bowl and add a few drops of the milk at a time and combine thoroughly to prevent lumps
  • Mix starter culture with the rest of the milk and combine thoroughly
  • Pour into sanitized containers
  • Place in a yogurt maker (or keep at 110 F), do not disturb
  • After 8 hours, tip the container slightly to see if the yogurt is ‘set’
  • Remove from the yogurt maker when it reaches the desired consistency

When Something Goes Wrong:

Sometimes yogurt doesn’t come out perfectly. There are a number of reasons that a batch might not turn out. Here are some of the more common problems that can occur:

  • Yogurt smells bad, tastes off, or is slimy – milk had bad bacteria in it, the starter culture was old, or the equipment was not clean – pasteurize milk, use a new starter, and sterilize equipment.
  • Milk didn’t turn into yogurt – culture was too old or milk was too hot when the culture was added – this will kill the good bacteria.
  • Yogurt is runny – the temperature was not kept stable at 110 F or low-fat milk was used (add powdered milk to low-fat milk before making yogurt to thicken it).

Do you make your own yogurt? Have you ever made goat milk yogurt? Did it taste ‘goaty?’


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20 Comments on “How to Make Goat Milk Yogurt

  1. I got fresh goat milk from a local goat dairy and it tastes great, not goaty, so i thought I would try my hand at yogurt. However as i was heating it up to 180, probably around 140ish it started to SMELL goaty… But we pressed on and made the yogurt. It didn’t turn out quite as thick as we had hoped after 12 hours so we strained it. But it is VERY goaty tasting to me now — not like a little hint. I tried putting it in my smoothie this morning and I could barely get through it.

    I don’t really know what could have made it taste extra goaty other than heating it…. so did I do something wrong? Can you make yogurt without heating it up so high? I just don’t know it makes me sad…

    1. Hi Adrienne,
      Goat milk starts to taste ‘goaty’ as it ages. When it is really fresh it doesn’t have that flavor. I think if you made yogurt with the goat milk right away it will not have as much of the goaty flavor… but you will need to eat it quickly. I haven’t noticed my goat milk yogurt tasting really goaty until the milk gets older, but it is possible that heating it caused the flavor to get stronger. It could also depend on the breed of the goat because some breeds have stronger flavored milk, such as the Oberhalsi.

      I’m sorry that the goat milk yogurt didn’t work out for you. I have made yogurt without heating the milk at all, but if there are bad bacteria in the milk they will multiply so you do need to be careful about that. Also, using unheated milk or milk that isn’t heated enough to kill the bacteria can lead to yogurt that has a strange texture.

  2. Many years ago, I needed to drink goat’s milk, but it was so “goaty” that I had a hard time getting past that. What do you think makes your milk taste so good? Would it be what they eat? How you handle them? I have not tried goat milk since then because of that bad memory.
    Thanks for an interesting blog.

    1. Hi Nell,
      I think that when you buy it, it is older and tastes goaty. When you milk the goat and use the milk in a day or two, it tastes pretty much like cow’s milk. If you pasteurize the milk, my friend Sandra suggested heating the milk slowly to 140 F then chilling. It tastes good for a longer time that way. Best wishes!

  3. Hello Lisa,
    Great post and wonderful comments. I love the idea of putting cheesecloth over the bucket. I have never thought of that.
    I have had goats for over 20 years. I would be glad to answer questions if someone wants to ask. I will check back here often.
    I have had goats that kicked. Since I use a stand, I tie baling twine to the legs of the stand and make a quick loop for attaching to the girl’s legs. Then they can’t make much of a mess when they are kicking. I also make it uncomfortable for them to fight me. And as quick as they are to learn, they get the idea. I just got one that kicked when I started, but she is almost over it.

    1. Hi Janolyn,
      Thanks for the input! I did try tying her legs to keep her from kicking. That’s when she laid down on the bucket, lol! A very stubborn individual! I’m getting ready to share my update today. I hope it is helpful for folks thinking about getting goats.
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

  4. Thanks for this update. I really am on the fence about goats, as you pointed out in one of your comments. I appreciate the honesty here, and sharing just how much work goats really are. I’m not a point yet in my hobby farm to add something of that level to it. Maybe a year from now. But the enticement of milk and all it entails, especially toward self-sufficiency, makes them a tempting add on. Is the work primarily around milking, or are there other areas that you find particularly labor intensive?

    1. Hi Rob,
      Here is a run down of the problems I have with the goats…
      -the previous owner didn’t milk them, so they are not happy with me for milking them
      -my fencing and stall really weren’t in order and I would have to retrofit and spend quite a bit to get it all up to snuff
      -they weren’t in very good condition, so they weren’t producing much milk right off the bat. I’ve been increasing feed, worming, and giving probiotics….which is all helping, but I think they will always be on the thin and piggish side.
      -I wasn’t prepared for how curious and intelligent they are…they are really giving me a run for my money.
      -they are constantly trying to get loose and eat the chicken feed.

      I might do a post with more in depth coverage….I’ll try to get that going soon. Thanks for reading!

      1. Of course! Thanks for taking the time to run down the challenges. I think everything you said is what’s kept me from diving in on the goat front. But of all the “big animals” I’d be tempted to keep, goats are the only ones on my list. Keep up the good work! Lots of us out here are following.

      2. Hi Rob,
        I think that as long as you are prepared ahead of time with the proper housing and pasture, and you know what you are getting into, you will do just fine with goats!

        I’ll be posting and update soon. I really do appreciate that so many folks are reading along and commenting! Keep up the great work on your blog!

    1. Hi Kaye,
      This doe is not a very ‘patient’ milker. She fusses and kicks, getting hair and straw in the milk. At first I wasn’t pasteurizing the milk, but after finding dirt in it, I decided to play it safe and heat the milk slowly to 140 F to kill any bacteria in it. I was thinking about buying a hand powered milking apparatus, but I must confess…I’m not sure I want to continue keeping goats. They are so much work! So I’m on the fence, so to speak. Thanks for asking…good question!

      1. In order to eliminate the same problem with hair and dirt, I started placing cheesecloth over the milk pail, fastened with a rubber band, then milking right through it. It keeps the milk completely clean.

  5. We are not much of yogurt eaters but I use it a lot for cooking and baking. Muffins and Indian dishes, and I marinade chicken for baking and frying. Can’t wait to get milk from my goats!

  6. My husband is the yogurt maker in our house. He tries to make one quart each week. He uses raw cow milk, haven’t tried it with goat.

    1. Hi Katie,
      That’s great that he makes the yogurt! I just tasted our goat yogurt and it is very good…no goat flavor at all. 🙂 I think I will use powdered milk next time because it came out a bit thin. I was using raw cow milk, but it takes an hour for me to drive to the farm to pick up and I thought having my own goats would be convenient. 😉

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