Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Yogurt

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. My mom is doing quite well, miraculously in fact. The doctor said they are amazed that an 80 year old woman with severe osteoporosis could have fallen down 15 cement stairs and come out looking so well, very black and blue, scraped, and three fractures in bones connected to the hip. Not a fractured hip as they first thought. That meant she didn't have to have surgery but one of the fractures is on the left side of the sacrum which is an extremely painful break. Pain management and time are the cure along with some blood transfusions for the minor internal bleeding. She will be in the hospital for a few days and then move to a long term care facility until she can get around a little on her own.
Now I really must tell you about my yogurt making experience.
Years ago when our kids were young, I use to make yogurt but not with great success. Every time I mixed up a batch it came out sloshy, not firm. I pretended it was Keefer, a drinkable yogurt like product, but after a while I just quit making it. I used an electric yogurt maker and shifted to making it on the tove top by placing jars in a dutch oven partially filled with water and preheated that was heated to 115 F. But, the stove top method rusted my lovely dutch oven and neither the electric model nor the stove top method was making a firm yogurt. I gave up. Yes, yogurt makers I did try adding powdered milk and about gagged at the taste.
My wounds of failure now healed, I decided with my resolution to use my goat milk to the fullest, I had to make yogurt. Once again I bought an electric yogurt maker. I just don't have time, with three little ones, to fuss with the stove top method working on getting the temperature just right and holding it there. If I have to buy a non cast iron dutch oven I might as well buy a yogurt maker and besides I figured I'd save money since we do eat lots of yogurt.
My first try was a HUGE success. Don't know if it was the fact that I did not use whole goat milk or what but this is firm yogurt. Yes, I'm holding a jar of it upside down and it doesn't show the slightest hint of falling out. That is FIRM yougurt.
Was it really the difference in the milk that made the yogurt firm? Don't know yet but I'll find out in the next day or two as I'm going to try making whole goat milk yogurt. What I did this time was separated milk through the milk separator once saving the lighter cream to make sour cream and then put the rest of the cream through once more to give me some heavy cream for butter making. While creating this, I allowed the lighter cream that went through the separated to divide off into heavy cream and the rest into the milk from the first separation. From this semi-whole milk, I made my yogurt. So yogurt makers tell me, is my guess correct and less cream allows the culture to form a more cohesive product?
You really need the yogurt to be firm since when you add your sweetener and fruit, the yogurt becomes a bit slushy.
After I fuss with trying different levels of cream in the yogurt and testing for firmness and flavor, I want to try making different kinds of yogurt flavors like lemon which I think I'll make a custard like concoction to add to the yogurt to get a lemony flavor since just adding lemon juice would make the yogurt runny. Anyone come up with a variety of flavors of yogurts like the selection at the store?

The above photo is blackberry yogurt and of course just adding fruit and a sweetener is a simple, delightful addition. I'm also going to move beyond just yogurt to using it for ice cream. We decided that drinking JUST whole milk and cream, ice cream was a bit fattening. Not that we won't be having some of the fattening variety too but cutting calories wouldn't hurt us either. Some completely whole milk we will drink since it is higher in vitamin A than its lower fat cousin.
What I'm really excited about in making my own yogurt is that I can skip some more additives. My Yoplait favorites have modified corn starch, nonfat milk which is powdered milk that my book said all store yogurts add (it helps to thicken the yogurt), high fructose corn syrup (which I'll leave to my candies which I know aren't good for me), and the Yoplait label says citric acid, tricalcium phosphate, pectin, and add vitamin A ( that's because it's made with skim milk which is low in Vitamin A), and they throw in, acetate, and Vitamin D3. Commercial milk is also lacking in vitamin D's. So there you have it home-made yogurt gives you less which really means your getting more. Following that? You don't get what you really shouldn't have while getting more of what you really need.

Those of you who haven't made yogurt yet from your goat milk, heat up some milk to near boiling, cool it rapidly by placing the pan in a bowl of cold water decreasing the temperature to 115 F. Then use a yogurt culture. I bought mine from a cheese making supply. You can make yogurt from plain yogurt from the store. Keep in mind you are getting the additives too but for a first try attempt go for it. The pamphlet with the yogurt maker said don't use your yogurt from this batch that you started with store yogurt more than once to try and reculture another yogurt batch. Why? They didn't elaborate on but if your using a powdered culuture from a cheese making supply you can keep going and going.

Now I've got to make some granola. Kirk says what's missing from our home-made yogurt is granola. I use to make lots of that when the kids were little and I guess I'd better scrounge up that old recipe and get to work. He's dreaming of layering home-made yogurt and granola during his morning break at work. I can't argue with that choice of nurtitional snack.

Just in case your wondering why you should be eating yogurt especially home-made I'll let you in on a little tid bit of knowledge I learned from The Yogurt Book which is 117 pages long. Way too long to cover in this post.
Yogurt is digested in an hour while milk takes two or three hours to digest.
The process of making yogurt breaks down the vitamins in the milk to a more assimilable state, meaning your body absorbs more of the nutrients.
Yogurt also kills lots of bad bugs in your stomach like Salmonella typhi, and dysentery.
Yogurt is also a great way to treat diarrhea and in children it can prevent them from developing it.
I'll let you know how the whole milk yogurt turns out. I've made the buttermilk 7 times keeping the culture from the first batch going. The sour cream didn't turn out so well keeping it going but I've some more culuture and I'll get it master yet. Cream cheese making still lurks in my future but I figure I'd best get what I've got going down first.

No comments:

Post a Comment