Homemade Yogurt & Real Food Challenge Week #3

This is my third week round up for Jenny’s Real Food Challenge from The Nourished Kitchen. I have continued with only some of the things Jenny has suggested, but I feel good about the changes I have made. Today I bought keifer, a fermented milk drink, for the first time. I haven’t even tried it yet, so I guess I should have held that off for another post. I also promised pictures & a post about my liver experience, but that is not going to be today either. I did upload the pictures though, one step closer. There are just not enough hours in the day!

One of the challenges of the week was to make homemade yogurt. I had been already thinking about it, as I talked about here, but this week I finally did it using Kitchen Stewardship’s directions. It was very easy and the end result was WONDERFUL! I would highly recommend everyone to try it. Here is what I did:

I used local, whole milk. Why whole? Read this; but if you don’t have the time, here are the highlights. 1. when the fat is removed from the milk, so are the fat-soluble vitamins. 2. dry powered milk is added to low fat milk as a thickener. They don’t have to list this on the ingredient list as this is a standard practice for the industry (leaving you wonder what other things we don’t know about that are “standard practice”) Dry milk is made by blowing liquid milk thru tiny holes at high pressure. This leads to nitrates being formed and the cholesterol oxidizing. Nitrates are carcinogens & the oxidized cholesterol is a huge factor in heart disease! Not to mention the disproportionately large percentage of protein that is in the milk. 3. historically, skim milk was the junk that the farmers would feed to the pigs!

Anyway- back to the yogurt….

Rhody Fresh Milk

Put a washcloth in the bottom of a pan to prevent the jars from wobbling in the boiling water. Put in sterilized jars (pre washed in the dishwasher) into the pot and fill with milk to within an inch of the top. Fill the pot with tap water. Heat the water until boiling. I put my thermometer and a spoon into the water, so they would sterilize. You can use any kind of milk- skim to whole, organic to conventional- what ever you prefer.

After the water boils, turn it down until the water is just boiling and heat the milk to 185 degrees. Since the milk is in a water bath, it won’t burn! No worries!!

When it reaches 185, cover the jars with sterilized lids (I ran those thru the dishwasher too) and cool. Here is where I got into trouble. The directions suggested putting them into an ice bath in the sink, which I did. But when I noticed the water getting cloudy, I knew I was in trouble and sure enough, one of the jars had cracked. BUMMER! So next time I will put the jars into cool water in the sink and gradually add the ice. Then the glass will not have such a dramatic temp change and hopefully stay intact.

Cover the pot with the hot water and place inside a cooler lined with a beach towel. Take out your starter from the fridge and let it come to room temp. This time, I used pain yogurt from the store. Just make sure it has active & live cultures. Next time I will use this yogurt as my starter.

When the milk cools down to 100 degrees gently stir in 2 tbsp starter into each quart. I let mine cool down a bit too much- I just put them back into the hot water for a couple minutes and heated it back up. To keep the thermometer and spoon sterile, I had ran an extra jar thru the dishwasher and I kept them in there.

Re-cover the jars and put them into the cooler. Wrap the towel around the jars, remove the cover to the pot and close the cooler tight. Let sit until your desired time anywhere from 4-24 hours. I let mine sit for about 11 hours. The end result was a less tangy yogurt than what you buy in the store. The shorter the incubation period, the less tangy. Next time I will try about 6 hours and see what that is like. A full 24 hours will eliminate most of the lactose making the yogurt easily digestible.

If you are going to incubate for overnight, boil some water in the teapot and add to the pot in the cooler. I did not do this and mine was fine at the 11 hours. After you take the jars out of the cooler, put them into the freezer for an hour. This will help improve the texture. I skipped this step and put them right into the fridge as I was going to bed. My yogurt was still very creamy.

End result:

Please try this, you will be so happy with the results! When you do, come back here and let me know what you thought. If I seem to have missed anything, please see the link to Kitchen Stewardship- she did a wonderful job making it so simple.