Saturday, March 12, 2011

Homemade Crock-pot Yogurt


I got several responses from my last post from people interested in my experiences with crock-pot yogurt. Super easy, definitely cheaper than store-bought yogurt, and so delicious!

1.) A crock pot!
2.) A half gallon of milk (preferably NOT ultra-pasturized)
3.) At least 1/2cup of live culture yogurt - after you've made your first batch you can just save some to use for the next batch.
4.) optional: foodsafe thermometer. This isn't strictly necessary but definitely helpful.

1.) Pour milk into crock-pot and cover with lid. Heat on low setting until milk reaches 180F which will take approximately two and a half hours. My crock pot runs a little warm and so takes only two and quarter hours.

2.) Unplug crock pot and wait until milk cools to about 120 degrees which, depending on the temperature of the room, will take between two and a half and three hours.

3.) Warm the 1/2cup of yogurt slowly by adding a cup or two of the heated milk to the yogurt and stirring well. Slowly add the yogurt milk mix to the crock pot and whisk or stir well to incorporate. Re-cover crock-pot with lid.

4.) Immediately wrap the entire crock-pot, lid, base and all, with a thick towel or blanket to retain as much heat as possible.

5.) Wait at least six or even overnight.

6.) Tada!

You will have yogurt! Warm in the crock pot the yogurt is a little stringier than store-bought yogurt and will be a little runnier.

For best consistency, refrigerate for about 8 hours.

My strategy is to start the yogurt around lunch, turn it off and add the yogurt before dinner and pop it in the fridge before bed, then there is fresh yogurt ready for breakfast. An alternative would be to start it after work, turn it off and add the yogurt before bed and pop it in the fridge the next day before work. When you get back home there will be fresh yogurt waiting and ready!

We use 1/2 pint jars that are easy for a certain someone to grab on his way to work. Excellent with a little honey on top.

Don't forget to save some for the next batch!

To make a delicious active-culture cream cheese simply strain the yogurt through cheese cloth or a fine-weave dish towel for several hours. The yellow liquid that drains out is whey and is extremely useful for all sorts of live culture foods!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Few week wrap up


It's been quite a busy few weeks! Mid-terms are coming up with all the little projects I've had going, I thought I'd do a wrap up. If there's anything you would like me to expand upon just let me know!

Some recipes I follow call for whey to soak grains and make them more easily digestible, the nutrients more readily available, and cut down the various inhibitory components. I tried making crock-pot yogurt. SO easy! Straining yogurt provides us with whey for cooking and fermenting, greek-style (strained) yogurt, and the best cream cheese!

I've been eying preserved lemons for some time. I finally bought a few organic lemons and started a batch. You cover them in salt and lemon juice and let them sit for about a month. After that you can wash off the salt, discard the flesh and use the rind to add a wonderful lemon flavor - think tangine-style stews and so many other things! After preserving they will last six months or more in the fridge.

I also started another batch of lacto-fermented/probiotic ginger-ade. Like a lemonade only ginger. Slurp! Even better diluted with bit of seltzer for fizz.

I received a new addition to our fern family. Thanks mom!

I have deep love of ferns inherited from my grandmother in New Hampshire. In her window she still has a fern I pressed as a child and preserved for her between to pieces of glass edged with copper tape. We now have four different kinds of ferns gracing our radiators.

I finally made a fabric tissue-"box" to hold some boxless tissues leftover from one of my mother's work projects.

I must admit that although we rarely buy tissues and are making the move to cloth handkerchiefs,  I do buy tissues based upon the look of the box. Now I shall never have to make the sacrifice of an ugly tissue box again.

Last, but certainly not least, I started some seeds! Comstock and Ferre in Wethersfield opened up their retail store again (wahoo!) and I headed down. I picked out heirloom tomato, herb, melon, and flower seeds for my gardens this year.

With the help of a grow-light I am starting seeds inside and will be able to put the plants into the ground after the danger of frost is past, sometime in late April.

This picture is from March 1st and already most of the seedlings are a couple of inches tall! It is always so magical to see the growth from day to day. Dreams of blooms and juiciness brighten even the gloomiest of days.