Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yogurt!

I can never really sort out my feelings about dairy. I am somewhat intolerant to milk and ice cream, which is fine since I hate milk and would rather eat a big piece of cake for dessert instead of ice cream. However, I LOVE cheese. Sometimes I don't feel so great after eating it either, but it is totally worth it. It has been around for hundreds of years and comes in so many different types and textures. There are some really honest organic kinds out there, and they aren't a whole mess of ingredients.

Then there is another part of me that thinks: This is COW milk. I am eating a product made from the milk of COWS. How un-natural is that? I'm not a cow, I am a human! The human body was not made to process cow milk...it was made to process breast milk and then be done with it. No wonder so many people have allergies and intolerances to it! I also don't think the whole calcium argument holds any bearing at all. The US has the highest dairy consumption in the whole world, but also the highest incidence of osteoporosis. I just don't think the calcium that is in dairy is absorbed by our bodies. If anything, I think it leaches it from our bodies.

Well, shoot - it is a constant internal battle for me. I can also argue that eating products like cheese is just part of living in the time that I do. My Mom eats dairy, my Grandma ate dairy, and my Great-Grandma who lived to be 102 ate dairy. So for now, I eat dairy. Well, actually at the moment I don't, because I am testing to see if it could be causing some of Alli's congestion and gas issues. After 3 weeks I see no improvement, so if after another week or so I still don't see a change I'll go back to eating my cheese :). Maybe someday I'll quit dairy for good, but for now I'll enjoy my cheese and butter.

Yogurt is a dairy product that is actually very beneficial to eat - not because of its calcium content but because of the beneficial bacteria it contains. This bacteria helps aid in digestion. Yet another fact to add to my mind's never ending debate. My husband takes yogurt for his lunch every day. Until now I have bought the little tubs of yogurt that is a conglomeration of a sad non-fat excuse for yogurt, high fructose corn syrup or sugar, "natural flavors", and gelatin or some sort of thickening agent, amongst other things depending on what kind you get. Well, we thought it was healthy!

So for the first time I made my own yogurt. I requires 2 simple ingredients - Milk and yogurt. You use 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt as a starter for your batch, and then from that batch save 2-3 tablespoons for the next batch and so on. In that bit of yogurt are the bacteria which you are looking for - the bacteria that will eat up the lactose in the milk, mulitply, and make it thick and tangy. It is so easy it is sickening.

These are my supplies to start out with.


This is my first step. EASY.




I heated the milk slowly on the stove. The directions I was using suggested using a double boiler, but with both kids napping I decided I could just keep stirring and maybe zone out a little at the same time. I  heated it to 185 degrees (OK 186, let's not get too OCD about it). I then put the whole pot in the sink with cold water to cook it down to 110 degrees. They suggested using a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot, but I don't have one. So I used my digital meat thermometer and it worked just fine.


Once the milk was down to 110 degrees, I added the 2-3 T yogurt.


I stirred it well, and then put the lid on. I placed it on a heating pad set at the medium setting and covered it all with a kitchen towel to keep it warm.


Then it must sit, undisturbed, for 7 hours. When my husband got home from work I told him he must NOT touch the pot, leading to a night filled with teasing gestures of touching the pot.

At 9:30 pm, I finally got to take a peek, and I knew I had yogurt immediately by the tangy smell! It wasn't very thick, but real yogurt isn't because it doesn't have added thickening agents. It tasted pretty good - a little drizzling of honey is all it needed to be great.

The husband took his first batch to work with him today and I am so proud. It did thicken up a little more in the fridge over night. Not only do I have natural yogurt, but it is so much cheaper! It is about half the amount of money I'd spend on yogurts for the week, AND it is organic. So really I'm saving about 75%!

An added bonus - no waste from containers!

swirled with local honey

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Karla! Oh to be home enough to join you on your adventures. I'll just have to enjoy them from my laptop and hope I can make the time eventually. Great blog!

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    1. It is all about doing it slowly and baby steps! Each little move makes a difference!

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