Lactose free milk often has a thinner, runny texture. You can avoid this by heating the milk to a higher temperature (200 degrees F.) than other yogurt recipes in order to denature more protein, which makes it thicker. No need to culture the yogurt for the full 24 hours that is typically recommended, tests show that acidity stops increasing at about 19 hours, meaning all of the available lactose has been consumed.
The resulting yogurt will be thick and creamy like commercial yogurt but quite tart. If you have trouble with the sour flavor you can add 1/4 tsp of baking soda per cup of yogurt and allow it to sit for a few minutes to neutralize some of the acid before eating. Although baking soda has been listed on the illegal list for GAPS, I find that it is safe to use in this way and should not aggravate symptoms. If you prefer to be safe, stick with the more sour version.
Don't use your lactose-free yogurt as a starter for your next batch. Without the lactose, the probiotic bacteria will quickly die off before you are ready to make your next batch. Remove a portion of the yogurt after about 3-4 hours of culturing to use as a starting culture for your next batch. Just remember it still contains lactose so don't eat it.
1 quart milk (raw or pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized)
2 Tb Yogurt with live cultures
1. Heat the milk to about 200F. Stir frequently to avoid scorching the bottom and watch carefully to avoid having it boil over. Boiling will not affect the end product but should be avoided if possible as the pot may boil over. Once you have reached the right temperature, cover and keep it hot for ten minutes.
2. Cool the milk slowly to 170F to allow for the maximum denaturing of proteins. Then you can place the pan in cold water to speed the cooling down to 110F.
3. When the milk drops below 118F in a separate bowl add a small amount of hot milk to your yogurt culture. Stir well and then add the liquid back to the larger container of milk and stir gently to combine.
4. Culture the milk for one hour at 120F and then 86F for the remainder of the time (18 hours) or keep at 86F for the entire 19 hours. Be sure to remove some after 3-4 hours of culturing to use for your next batch.
5. When the culturing is complete, chill the yogurt thoroughly in the refrigerator.
If you are on the Full GAPS diet following the slow dairy introduction, try the lactose-free yogurt first before attempting yogurt that is cultured at the typical 4-8 hours. Remember when introducing any new food, start at just a teaspoon per day to see how your body handles it.
To Your Health!