We started milking a few of our ewes this year and have been blown away by the quality and flavor of the milk. Lily is lactose intolerant and the sheep's milk has been a great alternative. We have made cheese and yogurt with goat's milk in the past and she found the flavor off-putting ("Mama, this tastes like goat nipples") but the sheep's milk is much more mild. In addition to the mild flavor it is incredibly creamy and higher in almost every nutritional category than goat's or cow's milk. Another advantage is the yield on products like yogurt. With goat's milk we strained the yogurt to make it the thickness we desired and lost about half the volume. This sheep's milk yogurt is as thick as greek yogurt without any straining! Win win win. We make this in an instant pot because it is just so easy and we were fortunate to be given one last year. An alternative method is also provided below.
1quart sheep milk
2T live culture yogurt
Pour the milk into the instant pot, close lid, press "yogurt" and "adjust" until the display reads "boil".
The instant pot will beep when it has finished heating (pasteurizing) the milk and it usually takes up to an hour.
Remove the inner pot and allow it to cool naturally to 110-115F or speed the process in an ice bath. Once the milk has cooled, skim off the "skin" that has likely formed on the surface of the milk.
Stir in 2T of live cultured yogurt (plain is best but any kind with live cultures will work*).
Place the inner pot back into the instant pot, close the lid, and press "yogurt" again. Press "adjust" until the display reads "8:00"
After 8 hours, give your yogurt a stir (or a whisk to get it really smooth) and place in the refrigerator.
Non-Instant pot method (you will need a small cooler):
Heat milk slowly on the stovetop until it reaches 180F. Let cool naturally, or speed up process in an ice bath.
When the milk cools to 110-115F, stir in the 2T of live cultured yogurt.
Place mixture in a clean qt size mason jar and screw the lid on.
Fill cooler with 120F water (the water level should come about half way up the mason jar).
Place jar in cooler, close the lid, and cover with towels or blankets to help insulate it.
Incubate for 8-12 hours, checking the temperature of the water after 8 hours and adding more hot water if the temperature has dipped below 110F.
Once your yogurt has cultured for the desired length, move to the refrigerator.
Enjoy this yogurt plain, or get creative with toppings and mix-ins. Our favorite is a dollop of homemade jam!
*If you are unsure whether or not your store bought yogurt has live cultures, you can check the label. They are usually listed next to the nutrition information.