We make yogurt the old fashioned way, using only milk and yogurt culture. We prefer to use a culture that includes not just basic yogurt cultures like Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, but also pro biotic cultures like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. We never even considered using thickeners. A perfect product is a perfect product. You will be surprised at how many yogurts on the market have thickeners. Read the labels. Real yogurt is made using only fluid milk and culture. Nothing else is needed. There are many varieties of yogurt cultures available, and what makes one yogurt different from another is the combination of yogurt culture and the milk that is used. The milk reflects the terroir (flavor indicative of the soil where the grasses grow, where the cows graze). Therefore each farm can have a different kind of yogurt.
Yogurt is pasteurized. One can make cultured milk at many different temperatures but yogurt is made by heating the milk to 180 F then cooling it down to just above body temperature, adding culture. Then we keep it warm for 18hours during which time the yogurt culture bacteria eats the milk sugars and turns them into lactic acid.
Our Yogurt Flavor:
We experimented with many different yogurt cultures. Our community members here in Independence Valley were our testing grounds. Every week Selma would make a batch of yogurt and bring it to the neighbors, who in turn filled out survey forms and voted on the yogurt quality, taste and texture. After trying many cultures and culture combinations, the Independence Valley community voted the one we use, as the winner.
Yogurt is a live product, derived from live milk. That in turn reflects what the cows are eating. They do not eat the same thing all year round. In the summer they consume mostly the green grass right off the fields and in winter, mostly hay and silage. They are offered some No GMO grain in the milking parlor. Therefore there is and will be some seasonal variation in our products.
The Glass Containers:
We felt very strongly about using glass containers. Yogurt is incubated in the container. Warm milk, with yogurt cultures, is poured into the containers and then kept warm overnight, and then cooled down. There was no way we were going to do that using plastic containers, not with the knowledge we have today about chemical leaching from plastic into our food. We also felt very strongly about using American made glass containers. This proved more complicated then one would think. Selma researched glass containers off and on for many months. There no longer is very much glass manufactured in America. It seems the majority of the glass used in this country comes from China. Glass containers made in China are three times less expensive than American made containers, but we felt that if we (producers of American made products) did not support American industry, who would.
The American made glass selection is not huge, but we were finally able to find a glass jar that fit our purpose and a distribution center right in our area. The silk screening on the jars is done by BJ Silkscreen in Kent. They are a small mom and pop shop in Auburn, Washington. The lid label coaster and the silk screen design was done by Jami at the Sherwood Press in Olympia. Our neighbor and friend Vreni designed the logo. There are also many friends and family that helped with constructive criticism on everything.