Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yogurt Making Made Simple

Culturing dairy into yogurt or kefir optimizes nutrient density. Cultured dairy is not only a rich source of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria, but they are also rich in B vitamins. The longer you leave your kefir or yogurt to ferment, the richer a source of folate it becomes.

Preparing yogurt at home accomplishes 2 goals. 1) it maximizes the nutritive value of your food, and 2) it saves you money.  A container (500ml) of store bought organic yogurt is $5 while you can prepare 1L of yogurt at home for just over $2.

I've been making yogurt for a few years now. I don't have a fancy yogurt maker, its more like a time machine - it is pretty retro.  Yogurt makers maintain a constant slightly elevated temperature ideal for culturing thermophilic yogurts.  While yogurt makers are undoubtedly an ideal purchase for the tried and true yogurt aficionado for their ease of use, you can also make thermophilic yogurts without a yogurt maker.  The key to making yogurt has little to do with equipment; after all it's simple concept; maintain a constant and elevated temperature.  That goal can be accomplished with the use of a thermos, slow cooker or dehydrator.

I tried the thermos version over the weekend.  Admittedly, I was skeptical.  I have friends who can make yogurt in their ovens, or their bath tub, and every time I tried to go beyond my retro time machine, it was always a royal fail.  But low and behold the thermos yogurt making actually worked!!!

How to Make Yogurt in a Thermos

Equipment:
Thermos
Thermometer
Heavy saucepan
Ingredients:
1/2 cup yogurt starter (I used 1/2 cup of the highest quality yogurt I could purchase at the health food store or grocery store - Pinehedge, Saugeen, or Organic Meadows (in that order)
4 cups of milk (if you are using raw milk, the consistency of the yogurt will be very thin and runny)

Heat milk in a sauce pan until it reaches 110F.  Remove from heat and stir in yogurt starter. Pour into the thermos.  Put the lid on and wrap the thermos in a thick towel.  Leave it on your counter or put on top of your refrigerator.  Let it sit for 12-24 hours.  The longer you leave it the thicker it will be. Transfer to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Go on and give it a try!  It can't get any easier than this.

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