B) Horrible and to be avoided.
D) Easy to make at home and DELICIOUS.
E) All but D.
F) All of the above, but D is the best.
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.
No, wait. That was a different question. The answer to this one is F, and F is for ferment, in this case.That’s right, people. I’m talking about… yogurt. Yogurt is delicious to everyone except Joshilyn, who finds yogurt slimy and vile, so perhaps I should’ve titled this post “Joshilyn, because I love you, I suggest you don’t read this one.”
But even Joshilyn knows that yogurt is really, really good for you, because despite her personal abhorrence of it, I happen to know she continues to buy it for her children. And she does that because yogurt is packed with all kinds of awesome stuff. Calcium. Vitamins. Good fats (if you get the kind with fat in it). And perhaps most importantly: Probiotics, or so-called “good bacteria.” Probiotics have been credited with everything from regulating the digestive tract to reducing general inflammation, but everyone agrees that those invisible buggers are just plain healthy to have around.I’ve been on the yogurt bandwagon for-freakin’-ever, and because I’m frugal I rarely buy the little cups—opting most of the time for larger containers, which are cheaper per ounce—but even then, if I stick to organics? Expensive. So one of the things I wanted to learn how to do was an easy way to make my own yogurt. Because I know lots of people who do it, and every time I throw yogurt in my cart at the store a niggling little voice in the back of my head tells me I could be saving a boatload of money if I would just get on with it.
Just to give you an idea: My kids drink smoothies for breakfast about five days a week; those are made with yogurt. My husband has yogurt with his cereal. And while I’m not always good about remembering breakfast, when I do? It’s yogurt. We eat a lot of it, is my point.
And thanks to my friend Stephanie, I remembered that you can make yogurt in a crock pot.Steph’s directions are almost criminally simple:
1) Dump milk into the crock.
2) Heat on low for two hours.
3) Cool for three hours.
4) Fish out some milk and whisk either some yogurt starter or actual yogurt into it.
5) Pour that back into the crock with the rest of the warm milk.
6) Wrap the crock in a towel and… leave it there for eight hours.
My optional 7th step:
7) Periodically peer at the crock skeptically.
Stephanie does a great job of explaining all the different options; some people thicken theirs with the addition of either pectin or powdered milk, to make it more like industrial yogurt, but as I wanted this to be simple and I primarily wanted the yogurt for smoothies, I just went ahead and scooped out the pure-milk yogurt and put it into a container and stuck it in the fridge.
The taste is fantastic; fresh and tangy. My children balked at the thinness of it when offered a bowl, so the next morning I took half of it and strained it through a coffee filter set in a sieve,and then fed them the thicker yogurt that was the result. (And because when I go crunchy I go all the way, baby, I saved the whey that dripped off for baking.)
The only part of this process that I found onerous was the straining at the end. It turns out that it’s rather hard to manipulate a coffee filter filled with yogurt. Who knew? But even the additional mess there could probably be mitigated with better planning and/or different equipment. And like I said before, for smoothies I really don’t care, anyway. I may experiment with thickeners, next time, to see how that goes.
Will I make yogurt from now on? Absolutely. In fact, I’m sort of embarrassed that I both baked my own bread and made my own granola on a regular basis before it ever even occurred to me to try this.
But now I know, and so do you.
Go make your own bacteria. And enjoy it.