Tuesday, December 04, 2012
well its about 4 am and i am sitting here listening to the lovely RAIN that is falling. sorely needed and i would much rather have rain than snow--although i am hoping for a normal winter. the trees need a chance to go dormant and sleep under a nice blanket of snow.
my schedule is all kind of thrown off right now because of rob's work schedule. its really nice for us to have this extra time together now--kind of a quiet way to end the year--and its a good stress reliever for him too.
did two food experiments this weekend--made my own yogurt and made a loaf of bread in a way that is completely new to me--and both WORKED! the yogurt is so nice--and for about half the price you can make some real quality stuff and control everything that's in it. here is how to do it--
you need a 4 qt. saucepan, 2 sterilized qt. jars and lids, and a thermometer that clips on the side of the pan--my therm. doesn't clip, so i took a flat cheese grater (not the box kind) and laid it across the saucepan and slid the probe for the therm. down inside one of the cheese holes, making sure it wasn't touching the sides or bottom of the saucepan. worked fine.
okay--i looked on ehow and sterilized my freshly washed and dried jars in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes. took them out, set them on the counter to cool and covered them with a clean towel. you should let the jars cool--the liquid you pour into them is fairly warm, but you don't want to take a chance on cracking them.
now--you get some organic milk (you can use fat free, 2 percent, whole, whatever you want). i buy stoneyfield farm brand fat free milk. it is delicious for a skim milk, and its organic. take 2 Tablespoons of milk and mix it with 3 Tablespoons of plain organic yogurt that has active live cultures (again--the brand i used is stoneyfield farm--you wouldn't have to use all organic to do this process--but if you are going to the trouble to make something extra healthy--why not?). set this little mixture aside and pour the rest of the milk into the 4 qt. saucepan. turn your range on to medium heat, put your themometer in the milk and begin heating it until it reaches 185 degrees. stir often, and if (like me) the milk scalds a little on the bottom because you didn't stir quite often enough, just don't scrape the "scalded bits" up when you stir. this will take about 30 min. i set my timer in 5 or 10 minute increments and stirred and checked it each time the bell rang. don't be in a hurry--you want the milk to heat up gently and slowly.
when this temp is reached, turn off the heat and now you need to let the milk cool to between 115 and 120 degrees. again--you want to stir every once in awhile--i did the same trick with the timer--this took about 40 minutes. about halfway through this cooling, turn your oven on--the temp you want to preheat it to is 150. my oven is digital and will not go down that low--i set the thermostat to 170 and then shut the oven off when it reached that temp so it would be cooled to 150 when it was time to put the yogurt inside. if your oven will only go down to 225 or near that--just set it to "warm" if you have a warm setting. my plan is to buy one of those hanging thermometers to put in the oven to help me know i am at the right temp. but the way i did it this time worked.
now that your milk is cooled and your oven is warm, mix the yogurt and milk slurry into the saucepan of milk. pour this into your sterile jars and cap them.
put the jars on a cookie sheet in the NOW TURNED OFF oven. cover the jars with a towel, turn on your oven light and close the door. you need to leave the light on in the oven the entire time the yogurt is working. i put a note by the light button so i would remember not to turn it off. i am a fiend for switching lights off. this needs to "work" for a minimum of 7 hours--i just left mine in and went to bed (overnight is fine). i happened to awaken at 2 am and it was ready, so i took it out and put it in the frig. you should chill it before you eat it. we had it for breakfast this morning and it was LOVELY.
now when i run low, i will take some of the yogurt that is left from this batch and use it as my culture to mix with the 2 T. of milk for the next batch.
you could flavor this any way you wanted too--we just eat it straight with strawberries and granola and a pinch of sugar/stevia.
and for the price of what amounts to 1 qt. of good quality yogurt you get 2 qt. instead. we feed our dogs yogurt every day, so they are happy campers too!
if you like a greek style yogurt--take this yogurt and put it in a colander that is lined with cheesecloth or coffee filters. put it in the frig over a bowl and drain off the "whey". voila--greek yogurt!