Monday, February 9, 2009

yogurt and kefir

1 gallon whole milk (or whatever kind and however much you have)
1/2 C plain yogurt with live cultures (whatever you have--less milk needs less starter culture)
powdered yogurt start (kitchen and hippie stores have this)

Put the milk in a pan and heat it to 180*, stirring almost constantly. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool to 116*, stirring occasionally. Stir in the plain yogurt or powdered start, cover the pan and put it into your oven, set on "warm," for at least 6 hours. You have yogurt! Flavor it as you wish, or leave it plain and flavor each little container (I use the teensy Gladware containers that hold about 4 oz.) as you eat it. Reserve one of the containers for use in your next batch. If it stops working, buy some more start.

If you want thicker yogurt you can add diluted liquid rennet or powdered milk, but I don't like using powdered milk. The longer it cultures, the thicker and tangier it will get. And if you forget there's yogurt in the oven and start to preheat it for something else, then remember the yogurt after a couple of minutes, then swear both in your thoughts and aloud, then take the yogurt out, it will be very thick, and you can pour off the whey to use in making bread, which you really should try.

Take kefir grains, which can be purchased online, and put them in a mesh bag closed with a rubber band. Put the bag in a non-metallic container (I use those quart-sized Ziploc containers with screw-on lids), pour milk over it and let it culture at room temperature for 24 hours. You have kefir! If you need to, you can add jam to it to make it sweeter, because it is super peppy. It's like club soda if you leave it long enough. Pinga drinks it straight up, because she is hardcore. Don't let the grains touch metal--it makes them sad and not worky.

And the reason I make these inexpensive and widely-available dairy products myself is that I am a control freak. My children seem to think they are agents unto themselves, to act as they see fit, but I can control our food and what goes into it. Some days it's the only thing I can do right, and when I feel ready to sell my children to the nearest passing band of gypsies, I can at least feel good that their healthy diets will help them dig for stones for Mola Ram.


All8 said...

Ambrose loves his yogurt maker. I just don't happen to love cleaning the screen, so that he can turn it into "cream cheese". I use the yogurt as a sour cream substitute, doesn't taste much like cream cheese though.

I bow to the Queen of Curd that is you. Can't wait to see more of your yummy posts.