A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I have now added fresh homemade yogurt to our menu.  It's amazingly easy and healthy for you.  The good part is that after making it once, you now have the culture to continue making it indefinately just by adding the culture to milk.  For those of you who are lactose intolerant, yoghurt is often well-tolerated by adults who cannot drink fresh milk.

The health benefits of yoghurt include: prevents osteoporosis, reduces risk of high blood pressure, helps treat gastrointestinal conditions, discourages vaginal infections and it makes you feel fuller than other more high-caloric foods.

Below is the process for making yoghurt.  I have included recipes for both raw milk and pasteurized (but non-homogenized) milk.  Also, I started my first batch with a yoghurt culture ordered from here:  www.cheesemaking.com. (order Yogurt Y4) culture.  Instructions, similar to below, are included on the package.  I can recommend this culture as producing perfect results!  Other processes may produce thinner yoghurt.

Also, in lieu of using the oven or rehydrator for fermenting, I put the yoghurt in a large (quart-size) thermo coffee mug with lid; wrapped it in a down-insulated jacket hood and put it in a small well-insulated bag overnight.  By morning, I had perfect-consistency, mildly-tang fresh yoghurt.  Delicious!

Yoghurt from Pasteurized, Non-homogenized, whole milk
1/2 cup good-quality commercial plain yoghurt, or
  1/2 cup yoghurt from previous batch
1 quart pasteurized whole milk, non-homogenized
candy thermometer
-Slowly heat the milk to 180 degrees and allow to cool to about 110 degrees.
Stir in yoghurt and place in a glass, enamel or stainless container.  Cover container and place in a warm oven overnight (150 degrees, or gas oven with pilot).  Put in the refrigerator in the morning to chill for eating.  Mop up any whey that appears on top of the yoghurt.

Yoghurt from raw milk
1 quart raw milk
1/4 cup yoghurt (commercial or from previous batch)
-Warm 1 quart of raw milk in double-boiler to 110 degrees.  Remove 2 Tblsp of the warm milk and add 1 TB of yoghurt.  Put in wide-mouth mason jar.  Add 3 TB yoghurt to jar and stir well.  Cover tightly and place in dehydrator at 95 degrees for 8 hours.**  Transfer to refrigerator to chill.
**If your dehydrator isn't tall enough for pint or quart jars, you can make a tagboard cylinder to increase height of the dehydrator.

Enjoy with fresh fruit and/or granola for breakfast or swirl in a little jam for a great snack.

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