Yes, yes, I know this is a blog about Decorating, but part of making your house a home, is filling it with yummy food and fabulous smells…so with that in mind, I’m starting a new tradition of blogging about food on Fridays. Before I do though, you need to know the following…
Disclaimer: It’s true…I am not a food expert. In fact, some may cynically say it’s a miracle my kids somehow survived their teenage years on fast food, boxed entrees and cheesy meat loaf pie. Some may even smirk as I say they grew up to be smart, healthy and charming young adults…yet that’s true too. I will admit…some of the food back then was good, in fact, most of it tasted good – It just wasn’t really good FOR you. And yes, some of it was just plain bad. The good news is I’ve been exploring organic, trying to eat healthy and am actually enjoying my kitchen. This is especially good because although the kids are just about out of the house and on their own, food is the quickest way to get them to visit! Anyway, the point here is…I am not a food expert!
Come visit with me on Fridays and my guess is you’ll do one of two things: 1) shake your head in sad disbelief that anyone could actually be this uneducated about food or 2) find yourself right along with me, saying…”who knew!” or “I can do that too!”.
If you happen to fall in that first category, please don’t be a judge and jury – I’m forty something now and don’t have time for it…but please do join the conversation and share your expertise and helpful ideas. On the other hand, If you’re an explorer like me, feel free to ask any questions (There is no such thing as a stupid question by the way!) and let me know if you’ve tried something I shared! I’d love to hear from all of you 🙂
YOGURT FROM SCRATCH a work in progress 🙂 I was visiting a friend in Florida a few weeks back who was making her own yogurt and I was intrigued. Call me sheltered, I didn’t know people made their own yogurt. It was so delicious and she used it in so many healthy ways, that I decided to try it last weekend! It’s actually quite simple and my first batch turned out simply yummy! I tripled the recipe and made enough to share with my children and friends. You’ll find that different things will work for you, so I’ll share what I did and alternatives that I’ve read about.
Containers to store the yogurt when finished. Ideally, use glass jars that you might normally throw away or recycle, such as those for spaghetti sauce, pickles, baby food etc. You also could use plastic containers from peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, etc… I was impatient and didn’t have any on hand, so I purchased the 16 oz wide mouth ball containers at Meijer’s and really liked them – the wide mouth is easy to clean! Only thing is that unless you are giving them away as a gift, it can get costly if you don’t get them back to use again.
Thermometer that will register 180 degrees. Preferably (but not necessary) with clip for edge of pot. A meat thermometer will also work.
Single Large P0t or Double Pot. Any large pot works well, but if you find that your milk burns on the bottom as it heats to 180 degrees, use a double boiler or simply a smaller pot inside a larger pot filled with water to protect the bottom. Note: if you find that the milk is thickening/burning on the bottom of the pot, do not scrape; simply turn the heat down a bit. Scraping the bottom will cause your yogurt to taste burnt. That’s bad!
½ Gallon of Milk. I used Horizons Organic Reduced Fat Milk with DHA Omega-3 which is supposed to be good for your heart, brain and eyes.
Yogurtmet and/or yogurt with live cultures. Per ½ gallon you’ll need either 2 packets of Yogurtmet, 6 Tablespoons of Yogurt with live cultures (can use yogurt from previous homemade batch once you’ve made some) or 1 packet + 3 TBL of Yogurt with live cultures, which is what I used. Note: Yogurmet can be found in the refrigerator/yogurt section of whole foods or other healthy food co-ops.
- On stovetop, heat milk on high to 180 degrees. Stir whenever you walk by it and remove any film that develops on the top with a paper towel
- Remove from heat and cool to 108-112 degrees It will probably take about 40 minutes or so to cool, so check in 20 minutes and then every 10 minutes or so. (I’ve read that you can place pan in a sink of cool water to quicken process. I did NOT try this)
- Once you get to the cooled temperature, put a cup or two of the milk in a bowl and stir in the yogurtmet/live yogurt until dissolved/blended and then stir back into the pot
- Pour milk mixture into containers and cover with lids
If you have a gas stove (lucky you)…Place the jars into the stove with the pilot light lit.
If you don’t have a gas stove…
- Place the jars on a heating pad (on top of a cutting board to protect counter) and cover jars with towel to keep heat in – just make sure it’s an old fashioned one that doesn’t have an automatic shut off feature, which is what mine had. Unfortunately, I made my yogurt late at night and was going to put it in the fridge in the morning. The automatic shut off was worse than having a newborn. Not a good nights sleep – haha!
I have read that you could do this as well.
- Place in oven with light on. I am trying this next, and will check the temperature after a few hours to see if it is warm enough
- Leave yogurt in pot and place inside larger pot with warm water and change the water occasionally; making sure to cover the pot to keep heat in and protect from dust.
- Place jars on a warming plate.
Regardless of your warming choice above, leave jars for 7 hours and then place in refrigerator. You could do it for as little as 5 hours and as many as 9 hours, but the longer they are left to warm, the thicker the yogurt will get AND the tangier it will get. You want to keep it at a temperature between 95 degrees to 106 degrees. 7 hours is a good starting point and you can adjust the next batch accordingly. Also, yogurt will thicken additionally in the refrigerator.
Tip: Place in the back of refrigerator which is usually the coolest. Yogurt will be ready to eat in 4 hours.
Tips for Eating:
You can sweeten the yogurt with a bit of honey and eat with oatmeal, fruit, granola and more.
- Add a bit of honey and jam for a fruity taste.
- Add finely shaved cucumber (removing as much water as possible before adding to yogurt) to create simple riata sauce that you can eat with spicy foods to calm the heat.
- Mix with hot cheesy potatoes as an alternative to sour cream
- Top butter nut squash or sweet potatoes with yogurt drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
- Put in blender with fruit and a touch of for a smoothie
I’ve heard that it’s best to purchase honey that was made in your region because honey contains natural anti-bodies to help fight illnesses and you want to have anti bodies for your particular area. Just an interesting tidbit that I learned!