Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Home-made Yogurt and Freedom from the Man

The Recipe: Plain Yogurt
  • My cousins also taught me how to make home-made yogurt. They've tried out the oven method and the towel method, but finally decided on the cooler method to insulate the yogurt overnight. Learn from their wisdom.
  • My cousins recommend Brown Cow and Stonyfield plain yogurt over Dannon and Yoplait for the starter yogurt because Brown Cow and Stonyfield put more healthy bacteria in their yogurt.
  • It's easy to make this before going to bed, then wake up in the morning to put the jars in the fridge.
  • Serve with jam, honey, fresh fruit, and/or nuts.
  • Makes 5 Mason jars worth of yogurt. 
gallon of whole milk (grass-fed and organic if possible :) )
1/2 carton of Brown Cow or Stonyfield plain yogurt, or some of the last batch of this yogurt

The Directions:
1. Pour the milk into a large pot and set on med-high heat. Warm the milk up to 180 degrees F, monitoring with a meat thermometer. Continually scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula so the milk doesn't burn. At the same time, set a kettle of water to boil.
2. Fill your sink with really cold water, put the pot of milk into the sink,  and cool the milk to 120 degrees F.
3. Use the boiling water to sterilize 5 glass jars, their lids, and a large spoon. Then pour this water into the cooler. Make another pot of boiling water and pour it into the cooler also.
4. Put a few spoonfuls of starter yogurt in each jar.
5. After cooling down the milk, cool the water in the cooler down to 120 degrees F by adding cold water.
6. Pour the milk into the jars and stir together the milk and starter yogurt, then close the jars and place them in the cooler.
7. Let sit in the cooler with the cooler lid on for 5-8 hours, with 8 hours being ideal. Then put in fridge. Ready to eat when cooled.

The Bedazzling Breakfast

Yep, I treat my plain yogurt as a plain canvas for amazingness!

My Take on the Bake
The yogurt turned out great when we made it with our cousins! They said it takes practice to get it just the right texture, but I'm sure I'll get it right in the future because I plan on practicing this dish a lot. Yogurt is a very healthy and filling breakfast that can be decked out with whatever you feel like - perfect for adding variety to your daily morning routine or for placating a picky family. Don't forget about all of the friendly bacteria this dish is adding to help your gut out :) It's also insanely cheap to make - you can  make 5 Mason jars full of plain yogurt on just one gallon of milk and half a carton of industrial yogurt. Take those 5 jars and multiply by the number of batches you make using your home-made yogurt as starter, and wham! You've got yourself a deal! My cousins called it freedom from the man because cereal is so expensive, and this helped them break "the habit."

*Note on using home-made yogurt as the starter: my cousins have only made batches from their old batches for 2-3 consecutive batches before getting lazy or forgetful and not perpetuating the (practically) free yogurt train. So I don't know if the quality of the yogurt diminishes if you perpetuate the yogurt batch train forever.

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