It doesn’t matter if you call it strained yogurt, Greek yogurt, or SCD yogurt it is an important and delicious staple in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Many people are intimidated by the fact that yogurt must be made with a living bacterial culture, but this crock-pot method is too easy to ignore.
First I want to explain why this yogurt is so important when trying to heal your gut with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which was best explained by Elaine Gottschall in Breaking the Vicious Cycle.
SCD restricts food for the bad bacteria in the gut to the point that they die off, and allows the good bacteria to flourish again. The problem is that the amount of good bacteria left is often very low. By eating SCD yogurt on a regular basis you are introducing billions of cells of the bacteria that will help your gut heal itself. In fact, according to Elaine one cup of SCD yogurt contains 50 times more good bacteria than a probiotic capsule. And homemade SCD yogurt that has been fermented for 24 hours has significantly more probiotics than store bought yogurt. Not to mention when you make the yogurt yourself the bacteria is alive and active, which might not always be the case in store bought yogurts and probiotics.
I will admit that one of the biggest mistakes that I made when starting SCD was that I didn’t make my own yogurt. I bought Fage with honey, which is SCD legal so it did not cause any problems. Except that it didn’t contain the same density of good bacteria as homemade SCD yogurt that is fresh and fermented for 24 hours. So, I wasn’t healing as fast as I could have been.
That’s what I get for being a lazy know-it-all. But it’s what lead me to come up with this lazy way of making SCD yogurt.
- Milk (whole milk tastes the best)
- yogurt starter without any additives–Fage or Chobani are what I use
I believe that sanitation is key to a good yogurt, so I begin by heating the milk to make sure there are no unwanted bacteria present. Start by pouring your milk into a crock-pot. Place the probe from a digital thermometer in the milk and set the alarm for 160 degrees, and set the crock-pot on high.
When the temperature reaches 160 turn the heat off completely and allow to cool to 110 degrees with the lid on the crock-pot. At this point I mix together some One Step sanitizing solution in a small bowl and allow a spoon to soak in the solution. This is to make sure that the bowl and spoon do not transfer any bacteria to the yogurt. The same can be done with boiling water.
Then use the sanitized spoon to skim off any skin that may have formed. Rinse and re-sanitize the spoon if needed. The One Step does not need to be rinsed off before use. Pour the sanitizer out of the bowl, then scoop one spoonful of your yogurt starter and three spoonfuls of the warm milk into the bowl. Stir until the yogurt starter has thinned to the point that it can be easily incorporated back into the rest of the milk. Place the lid back on and wait 24 hours with the crock-pot turned off.
After 24 hours the yogurt is ready to eat unless you’re like me and you like Greek style strained yogurt. In which case you would line a sieve or colander with a tea towel, cheese cloth, or in a pinch a couple layers of paper towels will work. Place a pan or bowl under the sieve and pour your yogurt into the lined sieve to drain. I like to leave this in my fridge to drip for 24 hours, remove then twist the tea towel to get the last bit of water out.
Add a little local honey, and now you’ve got super easy, and really tasty SCD yogurt.
Edit: Since posting this article I have received questions about how to easily maintain a temperature in the ideal temperature range while the culture grows. The cheap and easy method is to place the pot from your crock-pot in the oven with the interior light on. Another method is to use a yogurt maker, personally I prefer not to have equipment with only one purpose in my kitchen. My favorite option is to use a temperature controller to control the temperature perfectly, I own and love the Johnson Controls Digital Temp Controller, but a redditor on /r/crohnsdisease gave me a link to the Dorkfood Sous-Vide Controller. I often use my Johnson controller for sous-vide cooking as well.