Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Made Yogurt!

Why would you do that?, you might ask, don't you know they sell it at the grocery store in handy little cups? I know you're also wondering, are you sure that's safe?

Well I'm certainly alive and well, and people all over the world have been fermenting milk into yogurt for thousands of years. The convenience of processed options causes us to forget how possible it is to make things by hand.

I decided to try making my own yogurt for three reasons:
  1. Cost- Milk, expensive as it may be, is still cheaper than the little cups of yogurt I was buying for convenience.
  2. Waste- All that plastic I was using! I can make it and store it in reusable mason jars (see my earlier post)
  3. Health- I really like to know what I'm putting in my body, and this way I can add the amount of sugar I want and even fresh fruit! I also learned in the book You: On A Diet how good yogurt is for your digestive system and immune system.
The basic recipe for yogurt is:
milk heated up to 185˚F then cooled to 90-110˚F
mix with starter (1 cup per 1/2 gallon milk)
maintain at that temperature for 4-8 hours.
There is much variation in the methods, so you pretty much have to see what works for you.

After some trial and not-too-much error here is what I recommend if you are inclined to try yogurt-making:
  • Make sure your starter is plain and has Live and Active Cultures (it should say on the container)
  • I used 1% milk but add a little powdered milk to make it thicker and creamier
  • To keep the culture at the right temp, I used a small cooler filled with hot water up to the jar lid. You may have to add more hot water every couple hours if it cools.
  • They also sell yogurt makers, but why add more clutter in the kitchen?
  • You can add sweeteners, but I like it plain and add fruit if I need more flavor.
  • A 4 hour batch will be mild and almost sweet yogurt, an 8 hour one will be more tangy. Experiment and see how you like it.
This can be a fun science project to learn about fermentation, with an edible delicious result!

If you still aren't convinced, I would still recommend eating yogurt of some kind (with active cultures), for all the digestive health benefits, and also buy larger sizes to avoid all the extra packaging and plastic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would really like to see a recipe for homemade suet.