Boy, was I wrong. I've learned so much. If you'd have told me a year ago that I would be making my own mayo, I'd have laughed at you (and said I preferred miracle whip).
Well, nothing drives the need to learn how to do something like not being able to find what you want in the store. I keep reading Mark Sisson explaining how raw milk is ok, and plain full-fat yogurt is delicious and good for you. It is? Wouldn't know. You can't find it here. Sure, Greek Yogurt is all the rage, it's everywhere--in fat-free and 1%, in every flavour you could imagine--except plain and full-fat. I found a 10% fat, organic yogurt at one grocery store, but no one else carries it so I HAVE to go there, and its $10 a carton. That just isn't right. It isn't fair. I wanted plain, full-fat yogurt so badly! The good one I occasionally picked up at the grocery store was thick enough to cut with a butter knife. It was mildly sour, but not sharp, and it tasted dreamy with a tiny drizzle of honey and a spoonful of homemade nut butter--or coconut creme and finely chopped cherries and a handful of pecans. Oh, now I'm drooling about it.
So on a whim, I thought I'd try to make my own; I googled how to make yogurt. There's a lot of info on the internet about this. There are crock-pot versions, slow-simmer versions, no-simmer versions, Greek versions, versions that use a heating blanket, an actual yogurt-making machine version... A whole lot overwhelming, really. I needed simple. I needed to hear that you can't screw it up. So i went to the local pro--my Indian co-worker. As most Indians do, she makes just about everything from scratch, including her own yogurt (you should taste her samosas). And she apologises if she didn't make it from scratch. Here's what she said, loosely translated, and with real measurements added in because we like measurements, don't we?
You will need:
- 1/2 gallon of milk--use regular, homo or organic, but not the super-filtered kind or it might not "ferment" right
- 2-3 tbs yogurt as a "starter"--make sure it's fresh and that it has live, active cultures, it will say active on the ingredient list
- candy thermometer, or some kind of thermometer--I used a meat thermometer and it was fine
- large, heavy pot
- large casserole dish
- a clean towel
- empty containers to put it in when done
You start with a big, heavy-bottomed pot--I used a dutch oven. You could use a double-boiler, I'm told, but mine wasn't nearly big enough for a 1/2 gallon. Measure out all but 2 tbs of the milk (set aside the 2 tbs--I'll get to that in a minute) into the big pot and heat it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches 180 degrees. Try not to burn it. In JP's version, she sais "j'you boil it first." Say it with a thick Indian accent. If you like to forget about it, you want to stick a thermometer into it. And if you're too lazy to hold onto a thermometer, find some rubber bands!
While the milk is heating, mix the 2 tbs milk with the 2 tbs yogurt and let it sit on the counter going warm. it's ok. JP said "And then, not in the pot, j'you mix in a little yogurt".
|So, no candy thermometer, but I have a mini-wisk??|
In the morning, take your yogurt out and upwrap it, uncover it. It will be thick now. Mine was. I like mine thick, so I spooned off the little bit of whey that rose to the surface. Spoon the yogurt into clean, empty containers and refridgerate at least 2 hours.
Traditionally, the greeks ate their yogurt drizzled with honey and crumbled nuts, maybe a bit of chopped dates. For a real treat, try it with honey and nut butters--I used PaleOMG's coco-cashew nutbutter. It's awesome!