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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

YOGURT!



Oh my god/ess(s), you guys. I am sitting here in front of the computer, drinking my morning tea and eating my breakfast, part of which happens to be...

YOGURT THAT I MADE ALL BY MYSELF!!!!!!!

It bears some resemblance to conventional store-bought yogurt but it's MUCH runnier (like pretty much drinkable) and it's got about a third of the tanginess of normal plain yogurt, but damn is it good. I thought about experimenting with honey and dried fruit and granola and things, but for the first one I just added a couple drops of vanilla extract - just enough to almost taste it, to just get a good waft of vanilla right before I put the spoon in my mouth - and it is HEAVENLY. (summerland-y? whatevs. it's fucking awesome.)

HOW I DID IT:
When I was a young'un my mom used to make her own yogurt, and still has the electric yogurt maker she used to use. It's basically a device for keeping 5 little jars of yogurt at the correct temperature for all the good bacteria to grow for as long as is needed to "set" the yogurt after adding the starter. I've seen recipes where people just pour everything into one large Mason jar and keep it warm by putting it into a cooler with jars of hot water, but I figured if I had the equipment on hand, I might as well use it.




  • I started with 4 cups of Organic Valley whole milk (I s aw they'd been given a rating of 4/5 on a recent survey of milks that pertain to be organic and happy; Horizon got 1/5 btw) and heated it slowly to about 185 F slowly, stirring a lot with a whisk so a skin didn't form on top and checking the temp about every 5 minutes till it got close. This is called scalding the milk (heating it quite high without actually boiling it) and is supposed to kill all and any nasty bacteria that might be floating around in it before adding the good bacteria, which is the next step.


  • Once it got to 185, I took it off the heat to cool down to 110-115 F (any lower or higher and the bacteria in the starter would not be happy) The " starter" is just a heaping tablespoon (like waaay heaping) of plain lowfat Stonyfield yogurt, but according to my mom (who used Dannon when she made hers) you could probably use pretty much any brand, as long as it's plain.


  • Once the starter is COMPLETELY mixed in to the hot milk, I poured it into the jars (which had been pre-heated by filling them with boiling water and letting them sit for a while, then dumping the water out and drying them off before I poured the mixture in), set a timer for 12 hours and went about my daily routine. When the timer went off, I moved the jars from the machine to the fridge to let them chill overnight.
And, wonder of wonders, everything worked pretty much ok. I'd like to figure out why it's so runny - in one of the recipes I saw, the woman said she liked to let her yogurt "brew" for 14-24 hours instead of just 12, so maybe that would do the trick - but it is absolutely delicious as is (I don't even want to spare the two-or-so tablespoons I need to save for the next batch's starter!), and I think I'm going to go crack another jar open right now!

Dairyful blessings,

-N