Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sprouts, Yogurt, and Sour Cream.

Sprouts sounded good and since we are in a get healthy kick, I pulled some seeds out of the refrigerator and started sprouting.

Why we don't do this all year is beyond me but come spring I get in the mood for sandwiches and salads with this healthy choice. What can be simpler than placing cheese cloth on top of a jar held on by a jar ring and watering down seeds several times a day? So why don't I do this all year is beyond me but I find my food cravings have a seasonal drift.

 Also in spring the does freshen and I get the urge to make yogurt, buttermilk, (oh how I've missed my buttermilk this winter) and cheese. Without the time to get equipment set up and a mesophilic culture going, I opted instead last night to make vinegar cheese. Simple and combined with a little store cottage cheese I have in the fridge I can make lasagna tomorrow.

Besides the vinegar cheese I made a second batch of yogurt. A second batch because I took part of the yogurt I'd made last weekend and used it to culture some more of the yummy stuff. I separated milk and today I've got to do something wonderful with the cream. Last weekend I separated and made cream biscuits for the freezer. You make up the dough and freeze individual dough circles. Then when you want biscuits you pop as many as you want into the oven.

I'm planning on biscuits and gravy one of these nights since we have fresh milk once more. So biscuits are out but I'm thinking of Alfredo sauce. It freezes well too and is a handy quick meal for these busy days where there just isn't enough of you to go around for all the chores needing done.
And since I already had buttermilk in the fridge and I had to stick close to the stove for the yogurt milk to heat, I decided this was a good time to do sour cream. So when I separated, I took a quart of cream from the first time through and heated that for the sour cream. The rest I put through once more for heavy cream.  The culture package called for half and half or light cream. That is my light cream.

Then since my yogurt maker was full of yogurt and I still had a little yogurt left I had to get creative about where to incubate the sour cream and the rest of the yogurt. Here is what I came up with. I have baby chicks under heat lamps in the basement which will soon go outside and why not get double duty from the heat? I thought it was clever but then maybe I'm easily impressed.

 You see I've heard of making yogurt in a thermos and placing it at the bottom of a sleeping bag while camping so the heat of your body keeps it warm. I have put a heavy pot on the stove with water in it and heated the water to the 112 F.  Then turned off the stove and kept the temperature fairly constant turning the stove on and off through the day. Not my favorite way but it works in a pinch. And I've heard of using a pilot light to produce the heat. 

The one method I couldn't seem to get to work was the crockpot one. Maybe I need a better crockpot that has more than off, low, and high.  It's about using what you have and making do. A skill we should all develop more fully. It's good for the brain and the pocket book. How do you incubate your yogurt?

And what was I doing while all this milk and cream was heating to the proper temperatures, watching Netflix and spinning wool, what else. It was evening and I was nearly all done in.

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