Monday, December 16, 2013
One of the great things about making your own yogurt is you get to control what goes into it. From the milk used (how much fat) to the flavorings added (how much sugar), you know what wholesome ingredients are included.
I also like to invent recipes for my yogurt flavors, and try different things. This is a sequential writeup on some things that I tried that succeeded, and a few that failed too. From mix ins/blended, to fruit on the bottom, to toppings, I really think the opportunities here are amazing.
I make most of these in very small batches (1 or 2 cups at a time) so if I forget to say it, the amount is per cup of yogurt. I make 6 cups of yogurt in a batch for the week, but I make 3 or 4 flavors out of it so I have variety each week.
Of course you can eat your yogurt plain. I personally don't really love plain yogurt that much.
2.) Strained, or 'greek style'
After you make the yogurt, place it in a coffee filter, in a small colander, in a glass/bowl, in the fridge. Let drain for a couple hours. Expect that 1 cup of yogurt will be reduced by about 1/3 to 1/2.
It gets nice and thick. But not sweet enough for me, I drizzle this with a little honey before I eat it, or toss in a few berries.
3.) Coconut/Vanilla flavor (blended)
Stirred in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp of coconut extract per cup of yogurt into the 120 degree milk (after adding the starter).
This one was not great. I think I don't like the vanilla extract I used, or maybe I used too much of it. Conceptually fine, but definitely needs tweaked.
4.) Lovely Lemon
Stir 1 Tbsp Lemon Curd per cup into the 120 degree milk after adding the starter.
I used purchased lemon curd. I know it has some extra calories and ingredients (I picked one that was better, but still). But this yogurt is really lovely, one of my favorites. The lemon flavor is just right, not overpowering, and it is sweet enough for me to eat it directly. it also is mild enough to use it in a recipe.
5.) FAIL - Chocolate
Hard to believe that chocolate would fail, but it did. I added 1 Tbsp Chocolate Syrup to the 120 degree milk after adding the starter. The final consistency was almost stringy, and it did not taste good.
A side note --- I read that you can add gelatin, and I tried that with some of the lemon and some of the chocolate. It did not change the results at all, I don't see that it was beneficial.
6.) Strawberry (fruit on the bottom)
Microwaved about 5 frozen strawberries and placed that in the bottom of the jar before adding the milk mixture.
This one was just okay, a little jam might make it pop.
7.) Blackberry (fruit on the bottom)
5 fresh blackberries put in bottom of jar, and microwaved 30 seconds.
Very good. The fruit didn't really stay on the bottom, it mixed in.
8.) Berry Lemon
2 strawberries, 2 blackberries, and topped with the lemon yogurt mix above.
Very good, the lemon was nice with the berries. Fruit didn't stay on the bottom.
9.) Apple Pie
Peel and dice about 1/3 of a small apple.
Cook in skillet with 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp turbinado (or other) sugar, and a dash of cinnamon.
Place in bottom of jar.
Add 1 tsp apple butter on top of apples (I make my own apple butter too).
Then add the 120 degree milk/yogurt mixture to jar.
This is THE BEST one I have made yet. Perfectly sweet and flavorful, my favorite.
9.) Vanilla Bean
Take 1/2 vanilla bean, and split it open.
Add the bean to the milk and then heat the milk to the 190 degrees.
Remove the bean and scrape and squeeze the tiny seeds from the pod back into the milk.
Continue with the process with the cooling to 120 and the starter as usual.
Subtle but nice. I used 1/2 bean for 4 cups of milk. Next time I will use a whole bean instead, or possibly an additional drop of vanilla extract to bring out the flavor a bit more. Maybe a bit of sugar too.
3 Tbsp pumpkin puree (canned)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Mixed together and put in the bottom of 2 jars.
This was really good, but it was overspiced. I like pumpkin pie and its spices, but I should reduce them each by about half next time.
10.) FAIL -- Fresh Pineapple
I put fresh pineapple on the bottom, and it did not do well at all.
Result had a lot of whey, and tasted bad/sour/inedible.
Either the pineapple was just too acidic and turned the milk, or it was the same problem that fresh pineapple can not be used in Jell-O because it interferes with the gelling process.
11.) Black Raspberry
Put 1 Tbsp homemade Black Raspberry Jam in bottom of jar.
I found some old black raspberry jam in the fridge that I had made sometime. I just put some in the bottom of the jar. This one was really good and simple. And the jam actually even stayed on the bottom. Too bad I only had a little bit of that jam left!
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on yogurt flavors, and I will continue to experiment and try new things. I have ideas to try some other different things such as coffee and tea flavors. I'm pretty sure any kind of jam will work lovely. And whatever fruit I have on hand is likely to get tried as well.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
For the past several months, I have been making my own yogurt. It is actually fun, easy, good, and I think good for the world too (no more little plastic containers!). I have wanted to share this process with my SparkFriends, so last batch I took some pictures.
No excessive equipment required. A pan, a thermometer, and a small cooler. Ingredients are milk and a starter yogurt. Flavor options are endless though, and I will talk about that in my next blog.
I make 6 cups of yogurt each week, usually on Sunday. This is perfect for me to get through the week.
On starter culture, you need either some plain store bought yogurt to start, or a couple tablespoons from your previous batch. Either way it should be plain without additional flavors or additives. When I start a new series from store bought, I use Fage 2% plain. Then I use the previous batch for several generations.
On milk, yogurt is pretty forgiving. I like nice fresh milk, but is doesn't have to be anything special. I use the local common store brand. You can make yogurt with almost any milk. I use fat free, because I want a fat free (or very low fat) yogurt when I am done. It might come out thinner, but I really can't tell.
Ok, lets gather our stuff:
6 little 1 cup jelly jars with lids
5 cups of milk (I have found that 5 cups + addins is enough for 6 jars)
2 Tablespoons of starter yogurt
--- flavoring options, not covered here, but you can see I put some things in the bottom of my jars.
Step 1: Heat the milk to 190 degrees F.
This sterilzes the milk, and kills any bad bacteria; we will add the good yogurt making bacteria back in.
Step 2: Cool the milk in a water bath in the sink to 120 degrees F.
The yogurt bacteria like this temperature.
Step 3: Stir in the yogurt.
I usually mix a little of the milk into the yogurt, and then mix that back into the pan.
Step 4: Pour into the prepared jars, and then put the lids on.
Step 5: Place the jars in a small cooler, and fill around them with 120 degree F water.
My hottest tap water is about 120, so I just use that.
Step 6: Wrap up the cooler with towels or blankets, and let it sit undisturbed for 6 to 8 hours.
The longer it sits, the tangier it will get. I do mine for just 6 hours.
Thick and creamy yogurt.
Put it in the refrigerator to chill, and enjoy your yogurt!
Saturday, August 17, 2013
At the beginning of the season, I set three biking goals:
1.) Ride a metric century day;
2.) Ride an english century weekend;
3.) Ride 1000+ miles total.
I am happy to report that we completed all of these goals already!
We rode a metric century day 5 times.
We did the century weekend twice, both on weekends that started with the metric century on Saturday, and completed with 40+ on Sunday. I had originally intended that this could be done over three consecutive days, but we did it in just the two each time.
The 1000 miles were achieved between March 23 and August 17, with the last 500 being achieved since June 14th. This is a shorter amount of time than I had expected/allowed.
Overall, it was very cool to set such high goals and achieve them. It did however have the price that I often gave up other activities that I wanted to do in order to put in some more miles. We rode most weekends, often both days, as well as some evenings after work. Even on my lovely recumbent seat, after 60+ miles, my butt wants off of the seat. My legs are strong (and stronger than they were) and might be able to go farther, but my butt is done at that point.
We are already thinking about next year, and we have different goals. Instead of 1000 miles on the bike, we are only going to do 1000km. But we are going to add 100km of running, and 10km of swimming. And in one day, we will do a 1/10/100 -- 1 km swimming, 10 km of running, and 100km of biking.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
The CSA boxes have been nice, not too big, not too overwhelming or weird, but packed with summer favorites. Here is this week's:
Corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and peaches.
And the dish of the day:
Protein Peach Crepes
Now the thing about this recipe is, I made it up entirely, without even a guideline to follow. And it worked. I didnt exactly measure while I did it, and I didnt spark track it, but I believe that it is good in protein, and not too bad in carbs or fat.
1 egg, crack it into a 2 cup measure to make things easy.
Splash of milk, probably 2 Tbsp.
teaspoon of sugar (could probably leave this out)
few drops of vanilla
about a teaspoon of oil.
Mix all of that together well.
2 Tbsp of whole wheat flour. Just enough to make a thin batter.
Spray a non-stick pan, and heat well.
Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan, and quickly tilt to spread out then
Cook for a few seconds until set, turn over, and cook a few more seconds.
Remove and set aside, repeat with remaining batter.
On each crepe, put about
a Tbsp of lowfat cottage cheese
a few pecans
chopped a peach and divide among the crepes
I also added a drizzle of honey, which could be omitted.
Roll up, and arrange, and enjoy!
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Ahh, a new week of the CSA goodies!
lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, patty pan squash, cabbage, garlic scapes, also garlic tarragon dressing and farmhouse bread.
I am excited about the patty pan squash, I love those!
Also, I didn't think I would be getting tomatoes, so very excited about that too.
The garlic scapes are destined for some pesto tonight, which will get frozen into ice cube trays for future use.
I did buy a cucumber to round out the salad fare, and some portabello mushrooms that I have an idea for.
So my lunch dish today:
I'm calling this one 'Three Coins Salad'
because it has 'coins' of cucumber, radish, and chicken,
among a bed of leaf lettuce and alfalfa sprouts
with the garlic tarragon dressing.
I misread the label on the dressing, it had a few more calories than I realized. But the salad was tasty!
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