Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yogurt Making

Making yogurt at home is so simple & so cost effective. You really do not need special equipment, it's very inexpensive and although it takes quite a bit of time to turn milk into yogurt, it's only seconds of actual hands-on time.
When I first started making yogurt at home I used a technique Alton Brown (isn't he so dreamy?) demonstrated on an episode of Good Eats (I think). It's been years since I did it this way & I'm certain I will forget details. But his method was basically warming your milk, inoculating it with your starter yogurt and then putting that mixture into a container that fit inside of a second container and keeping it at a steady temp by using a heating pad wrapped around the container holding the milk-yogurt mixture, nestled in the larger container.I did it that way for ages, it's not terribly difficult even if I didn't explain it so great. Google it, watching Alton cook & be smart is never a waste of time.
When you're done watching Alton, do it this way instead.
The Easiest Way to Make Yogurt: In a crockpot!
I won't infringe their copyright & copy the directions here, so you'll have to head over there to get the directions in their entirety. I'll just share a couple little tips to make it even easier. When I am fortunate enough to have access to raw milk, I do remove some of the cream before using. Store bought "whole" milk is 4% milk fat. Raw milk, depending on the season & the breed of cow, is around 16% milk fat. You could leave all the cream in, but raw is illegal & expensive here. You don't need that much milk fat to make yogurt, so it seems wasteful to me to leave it all in. I skim about half of the cream & save that for whipping, coffee or small-batch butter making. Also when I start a batch I take a wipe-off marker & I write the start time right on the lid of the crockpot, then I write the time I need to shut it off, the time I need to inoculate it & the time it will be done. So if I start at 2p, I write "2p-4:30, 7:30, 5:30am" I would never actually start at 2p though, only thing I do at 5:30 AM is keep my pillow warm.
You can make Greek style yogurt from homemade yogurt by simply straining away the the whey. I line a colander with a cloth napkin & nestle it inside of a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the strainer, put it in the fridge & forget about for around 6 hours. The longer you let it sit, the thicker the yogurt will be. The whey will drain down, you can use this for lacto-fermented veggie recipes and the now Greek style yogurt will be left behind in the cloth napkin.
Easy-peasy, frugal & nutritious real food.
Oh & don't forget to save a cup for the next batch you make!

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