But I can hear you across the internet … “Why would you?”
Especially when it’s available in your grocer’s refrigerator.
It’s not overly expensive (We found great quality organic whole milk yogurt on sale for about $0.50 per 6 oz serving at Whole Foods in Vegas last week, although it’s usually closer to $1 or $1.50.) And it tastes pretty good.
But here’s the simple truth.
A lot of the yogurt you find in the store was made with milk from cows who were treated with rBST hormones (and who needs more hormones … don’t we have enough already?), have high fructose corn syrup in them (and regardless of the lame commercials trying to tell us otherwise, we all know that HFCS is an undigestible form of sugar that just leads
to weight gain and unhappiness), and that if it’s got HFCS, it’s likely made from genetically modified corn … and I don’t care what Dr. Oz says, I don’t want my fruits and veggies to contain frog genes so they can be doused in pesticides that could lead to scary neurological disorders and the like).
Sure, you can buy organic yogurt.
But most of the dairy products we find in the store these days are either pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized. Pasteurizing
dairy basically heats it up until the bacteria in it is killed. But there are two types of pasteurization … low-temperature
pasteurizing slowly heats the milk to 145 degrees and then cooling it quickly to destroy the “bad” bacteria that occur in factory farming environments. Generally speaking, dairy products that are pasteurized in this way are labeled “pasteurized.”
Ultra-pasteurizing actually boils the milk, killing ALL of the bacteria in the milk and making it much more difficult to digest. It kills not only the dangerous pathogens, but also wipes out the lactase (which helps digest lactose or milk sugar) and the enzymes which help thebody absorb calcium and other nutrients found in the milk. And then the milk is often homogenized … which basically means it’s forced through a series of screens at high pressure, breaking down the fat or cream particles so they are the same size as the rest of the milk. The “problem” with homogenized milk is that breaking the fat particles down like that make them way harder to digest.
Anyway … I don’t want to go all fringe on you … but when I think about this whole process I’m not surprised how many people now have issues with dairy. I’m not anti-science … I recognize that by instituting the pasteurization process into
factory farming has likely saved thousands of lives from things like Typhoid and Tuberculosis. But I also think we’re stripping the nutrition out of our food.
And if we can use a simple process to restore the good enzymes into our store-bought milk so our bodies can better digest them … well … it’s sort of worth the effort. You know?
Plus, we eat a lot of yogurt at the Cottage.
For breakfast (with musli or on its own). The kiddos love it with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup.
As a snack. (Add a dollop of really good preserves and you’ll never go back to that Dannon’s fruit on the bottom nonsense. Seriously.)
We use it to cool spicy sauces for the littles. (Every once in a while, my heirloom tomato sauce has too much of
a kick for their little tongues, so I add a spoonful of yogurt … voila … mellow and delicious… and even the most fragile taste buds can enjoy it.)
So … we make yogurt.
Rich. Creamy. Whole milk yogurt.
It takes a while (12-18 hours), but there’s only really about 10 minutes of active work involved.
NOTE: This makes a little more than a quart of yogurt plus a pint of whey (which deserves it’s own post,
so I’ll save all the uses of whey for another time … I’ll say this though … a bit of whey in a green smoothie can make yourgreens more digestible.)
1/2 cup Yogurt (you can use a high quality store-bought yogurt, or you can use yogurt leftover from
your last batch)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Stainless steel saucepan
Shallow glass bowl
Fine mesh strainer
Unbleached coffee filters or cheese cloth
WHAT TO DO:
Heat the milk to about 180-190 degrees. Don’t let the milk come to a rolling boil … but if you see
a few bubbles, that’s a good thing.
Pour the milk into a shallow glass bowl and let it cool to 110 degrees. Then add the yogurt and
whisk to combine.
Cover with a clean dishtowel and let it rest (I put it in the oven to rest … it’s a gas oven with a pilot light, so it stays a little warmer than the rest of the kitchen. If you have an electric oven, you could set it on warm, let it get to about 100 degrees and then turn it off.)
Then, after about 12 hours, it’s time to strain the yogurt, which will give you a more familiar texture. Also, it separates the yogurt from the whey (which you can use for countless other things, so be sure to reserve it in it’s own glass jar and refrigerate). The longer you strain it, the thicker the yogurt. So if you like Greek-Style yogurt? Strain for at least 30 minutes. Generally, I’m pretty happy with the consistency after about 10-15 minutes. Not too thick, not too runny. And it yields about a pint of whey that we later use to soak grains, add to smoothies, boost digestion after super heavy meals … whey is a pretty awesome by-product of this process.
Craving some fruit on the bottom store-bought yogurt? Top your luscious homemade great tasting and better for you version with a dollop of high quality preserves … you’ll probably stop craving Dannon’s.