Monday, March 26, 2012

I am slowly turning into a hippy.

It's true.  The title of this post says it all.  I am gladly turning into a hippy a little more each day.  Maybe it's due to the fact that there is pink slime in some ground beef.  shudder to the max Maybe it's because of memories I have as a child of eating chicken nuggets and chomping down on an unsavory bit.  shudder  Maybe it's because there is unnecessary sugar, fat and salt in almost everything we eat.  rude nazi food scientiests!  Maybe it's due to the fact that oil prices are ridiculous and it doesn't matter because our earth is getting warmer so maybe we should attempt to do something to help slow it down a bit.  And before any conservatives get crazy, I don't necessarily attribute this warming strictly to the use of fossil fuels, it's just a fact that our earth goes through cycles and we are currently in a warming trend.  The fossil fuel thing isn't helping matters though.  This is why I have told The Mister that I want a basket afixed to my bike so I can ride with the girls to the grocery store for our necessities.  Fun, right? there's a brief list of why I am slowly turning into a hippy.  Obviously a lot of it has to do with food. Can we all just say, please no more fussing with our food.  Can't we just eat what we think we are eating without the added junk? 

This is why I am currently making my own yogurt.  Check out the label on a carton of yogurt might be distrubed.  Too much sugar.  Too much added junk, like gelatin.  If yogurt is given enough time to do it's thing naturally, it thickens up quite nicely.  If the manufacturers of yogurt are in too much of a hurry to get it on the shelf they thicken it artificially with gelatin. 

If you read my previous post on homemade yogurt I would like to say thanks.  But, having made yogurt now for several weeks, I have refined and improved my technique.  I now make it by the gallon.  This way I only have to make it twice a week (we eat lots of yogurt in my house).  So here is the new and improved recipe for homemade greek yogurt.

What you need:
Large heavy-bottom sauce pan with a lid
Food thermometer
Wire rack for cooling purposes
1 gallon milk (fat percentage is your choice, I use 1% milkfat)
4 Tbl. yogurt with live active cultures (use your homemade yogurt if you got it.  If not, buy one that you like)
Large glass bowel
Dish towel

Pour all but 4 Tbl. of milk into sauce pan.  Over medium heat bring the milk up to between 180 F to 185 F.  Be very careful that you don't scorch the bottom.  Quite frequently, stir with your spatula to prevent any milk from scorching to the bottom of the pan.  Once you have reached the desired temperature, remove your milk from the stove and put it on a wire rack to speed cooling. 

Turn your oven onto the lowest temperature it has.  150 to 170.  My lowest is 170.

Mix the reserved 4 Tbl of milk with the 4 Tbl of yogurt set aside in fridge.

Let your milk cool to between 105 F and 110 F.  This is the process that takes the longest.  You don't have to do anything but wait.  But, come on, sometimes that's the hardest thing to do.  Patience.  You will be rewarded.  Once it achieves the desired temp, whisk in the milk and yogurt combo thoroughly.  Turn off your oven and turn on the oven light.  Put a lid on your sauce pan, wrap it in a towel and put it in your oven.  Make sure the towel isn't touching the heating element or the light.

Let this sit in the oven for 7-8 hours.

Put dish towel in your colander.  Put colander inside a bowl.  Pour yogurt inside colander and let it sit for several hours.  You are draining the whey right now.  If you prefer a runnier yogurt, you won't want to drain it as much.  If you prefer a thicker yogurt, you will go longer.  Adjust time according to your preferences.  I typically will empty the whey from the bottom of the glass bowel twice.  Beware not to over drain your yogurt.  I like to reserve some of the whey, probably 1 cup or so just in case I do over drain...which I have in fact done.  If you over drain your yogurt, just mix in some of the reserved whey until you get the consistency you desire.  I would say for a Greek-style texture you will want to drain 2-4 hours.

Reserve 4 Tbl. of yogurt from this new batch so that you will be ready for the next time you make yogurt.

Enjoy with jam, honey, granola and in smoothies. 


This is what my yogurt containers look like in my house.  The smaller one holds my 4 Tbl of yogurt for my next batch.  The larger one contains our yogurt for the week.  One gallon of milk will fill it up completely, it is a 61 oz. container.  Taking the time to pre-package the 4 Tbl. just makes it easier for me.  I'd hate to have eaten all the yogurt and then realize that I forgot to save some...then I'd just have to buy a carton at the store.  So, do it ahead!

If you notice the picture of yogurt up at the top, you'll see it's got granola on it.  This was my own recipe that includes Chia seeds.  I'll post it in a few days.  It's super good and Chia seeds are the latest and greatest fad.  I'll tell you more later.

Granny Square Pic of the Day

Thanks for reading!


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