Today I’m making yogurt. You see, yesterday I went to Costco to stock up on staples. Among other things, I brought home three 1/2 gallon cartons of organic 1% milk. This morning I went looking for the milk for my cereal, but couldn’t find it in the fridge. Anywhere. Panic set in as I realized that either I’d conjured the entire trip to Costco, or I’d left the milk out. Sure enough, after a few minutes searching I found all three cartons on the dining room table. Apparently, I wasn’t paying attention when I’d put away the food and mistaken the cardboard box for one of the more shelf-stable items. Talk about distracted, sheesh.
I’ve heard that organic milk keeps longer than non-organic, so in a desperate attempt to salvage the milk I poured some into a cup. Smelled ok. Took a tentative sip. Tasted ok. But still. Out all night. Hope the milk had a good time, maybe picked up some new friends? That’s what I was afraid of. Then again, at least someone got a night out.
I decided to make yogurt because it keeps a lot longer than milk, and the process requires boiling, which would take care of any little “friends.” My family eats a lot of yogurt; my husband consumes it like coffee, first thing in the morning and in addition to breakfast. The kids like it as long as you add a little honey. Homemade yogurt is surprisingly easy and can save you a lot of money, especially if it’s a staple like it is for us. It has a long and fascinating Wikipedia page, which describes its history, variations and health benefits far better than I can:
Before continuing, I should mention that I make plain yogurt that is very tart and distinctly yogurt-flavored. You can always add fruit, honey, granola, or other things for flavoring later, but if you don’t like the basic taste of plain yogurt, homemade yogurt is not for you. Start with about half a gallon of milk. Boil it until you see steam and small bubbles on the surface, then take it off the heat and let the temperature come down to 110F-115F. This usually takes about an hour to hour and a half. A meat thermometer works great for monitoring this, and though I don’t have one, I assume a candy thermometer would work too.
Once it reaches the right temperature, add a starter. It doesn’t really matter how much, but I recommend at least a couple of tablespoons. If you have a favorite yogurt brand, use that as your starter and the entire batch will take on its flavor. I like the taste of Stoneyfield best, but we’ve used generics as well. You can also use a bit from your previous batch as a starter, or even a packet or two of Kids Culturelle (disclaimer: my husband, who likes just about everything, doesn’t like the Culturelle starter but I think it’s fine in a pinch). Then you just have to keep the temperature steady at 110F-115F for several hours. This is really easy if you have a yogurt maker but doable if you don’t. We recently discovered a “bread proof” setting on our oven which keeps the temp to 100F, not ideal but it works. I let the yogurt go for about 20 hours to allow maximum culture growth. Be sure to refrigerate when it’s done.
Here are some other things you can do with borderline (not spoiled) milk:
Puddings: Rice, bread, tapioca, or custard
Ricotta cheese: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-diy-rico-23326
Judith is our Active Mama’s Munchie Maven and Yoga Maven. That means she teaches Active Mama’s Cooking Basics Chef classes, and is also our instructor for Active Mama’s Mommy Yoga with Judith.
Judith is refreshingly laid back, exceptional at what she does, and is the able mother of 3 beautiful children.
Judith comes well-accredited. She earned her Masters of Public Health and her passion is helping people find ways to make their lives healthier.
If you have questions for Judith she can be messaged through http://www.meetup.com/Active-Mamas