Friday, January 16, 2009

The What and How of Yogurt, Plus a Bonus Recipe!

I received an email earlier today about making yogurt. As I started to type out the information, I decided to share it for every one's benefit. The friendly bacteria found in yogurt is a necessary component of good health. People Groups spanning the entire course of history have included some form of cultured food in their diets. A proper balance of Friendly Bacteria in the colon has been found to control yeasts and other harmful pathogens, produce certain B Vitamins, aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, and establish a strong Immune System. Like I said, it is one very significant part of a healthy body!

Can you make yogurt?
It is actually a lot more simple than most people think. I have friends that even make it without a yogurt maker. You can use the pilot light in your gas oven for the right temperature. Or you can wrap a quart jar in a heating pad. I do use two yogurt makers, which keeps things very convenient. I'm thankful for my appliances!

Here's what I do:
  • Heat two quarts of real milk to 180 degrees.
  • Cool to about 112 degrees.
  • Mix a portion of the warm milk into 1/4 cup of yogurt, either from your previous batch or from store bought plain yogurt. (I use store bought yogurt for a starter about every sixth time. And, usually, I can buy that yogurt on Manager's Special at my grocer's so this is not a significant extra cost.)
  • Mix that mixture into the rest of the warm milk.
  • Culture for 14 hours. (The proper instructions say to culture for about 8 hours, but we like tang! and lots of friendly bacteria.)
One of my children's favorite breakfasts is Orange-y Yogurt with granola sprinkled in. Since our yogurt is a nicely thick consistency, I can mix about 2 cups of it with a cup of Orange Juice. I add in a couple of swirls of honey and stir it until smooth. Yum-O. : )

A word about commercial yogurt. If you do not make your own, use only plain yogurt purchased from the store and add in your own sweeteners and fruit. The amount of sugar or artificial sweeteners in flavored yogurt feeds the unfriendly yeasts and bacteria in your system and negates the benefits of the friendly bacteria.

When eating daily yogurt is not a possibility or when we need extra Immune Support, this is the probiotic we use. It has a triple coating "to protect beneficial microflora during the rigors of shipping, storage, and the acidic journey through your stomach. Other products claim live microflora at the time of manufacture, but [this one] guarantees the delivery of live microflora to your colon." My children are able to swallow this tiny pearl as well.


Andrea Manor said...

When you say "Culture" the yogurt. What does that mean? Do you let it sit out on the counter for 14 hours?

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Andrea,

Once the milk has been mixed with the yogurt culture, it will "sour" as long as you keep the temperature warm. So, by "culture" I mean to keep the yogurt warm enough for the bacteria to grow in it. We like really tart yogurt, so I culture for an entire day. However, most recipes culture for 4-8 hours. When the yogurt is chilled in the fridge, the bacteria will stop "growing" and the yogurt will not continue to "culture". Experiment to see what your family likes.

Hope this helps! Amy Ellen

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

If you're interested, I have an easy post on HM yogurt, basically this way but with NO dishes and photos to help: