Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I like to make things into different things.  Like I think it is awesome to turn flour, water and yeast into a sticky growing dough.  It is just amazing to me.  My newest conquest: yogurt.  I set little yogurty bacteria loose in some warm milk and they turned the milk into a fermented gooy semi-solid.  Best part is it tastes good.  My yogurt tastes have changed over the years.  I used to only like the custard style.  Now I don't like the feel of it.  I don't like fat free stuff either because they seem gritty. I really have gotten to like the Dannon All Natural Vanilla.  It is a lot less geletin-like in its consistancy.  The cost of yogurt is usually about $1.00 for a 6oz cup.  Or you can get in a quart for $3-$6, depending on the brand and type.  I have now sucessfully made two batches.  I was worried that I wouldn't want to eat it.  That I would miss all the processessing, but I don't. I actually have been looking forward to my yogurt and granola lunches.

I have seen quite a few sites that make the whole process seem very complicated. I didn't find it to be at all.  I got a gallon of whole milk for $2.39.  I poured half of it into my clean crock pot and put the other half in the freezer.  I put the lid on the crock pot and turned it on high for about 3 hours.  You are supposed to heat it to boiling or 180 degrees.  I have a candy thermometer but I cheated and used Justin's laser thermometer that he has for beer making.  I turned it off and let it cool for a few hours.  (One time I took the lid off to help it cool faster and it formed a skin, I don't think I will take the lid off again.) It cools to 110 degrees and I scooped some of the warm milk up and mixed it with about half a container of plain greek yogurt with live cultures.  I then poured the mixture back in to the crock pot and stirred it up.  I put the lid on, wrapped it in a bath towel and put the whole crock in the oven for about 12 hours.  Next thing you know, you have a half gallon of yogurt.  I froze one container of the original batch for a starter for the next round. 

I have eaten the first batch.  I do NOT like plain yogurt and I don't like it with honey, so that is always an option.  I put in about a quarter tsp of natural vanilla extract and half a tsp of agave nectar to one cup of yogurt.  It was perfect.  I have also used organic cain sugar and it was fine.  No chunks, no grit, just creamy goodness.  I am straining the second batch through cheese cloth.  Apparently all the liquid will drip out and make the yogurt thicker.  I am fine with the original thickness so I probably won't do it again unless other people like it more.  I am just taking that step to make more of an experiment.  So far my only hold up is having containers to store it all in.  I thought I had a lot more mason jars than I really do.

As a side note, the more things I have learned to do or make from scratch the more I think of how many "necessities" and skills the city or suburban life has made obsolete.  For some reason a while ago, I was thinking of what would happen if infrastructure as we know it ended and we were forced to fend for ourselves.  Like you couldn't just go to the store and buy clothes.  You couldn't just go buy bread.  You didn't have money for those things or the money you had couldn't even buy it.  We would be in a bad situation.  It isn't like I want to go stock piling or anything like that, but I do like the little bits of knowledge and skills that I have aquired would make us a little bit more ok.  And then I would be sad about the lack of internet where I have stored all the recipes and instructions on how to do everything...