Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yo.

Despite New Zealand's thriving dairy industry, purchasing quality yogurt can feel like a bit of a luxury, and the cost of organic yogurt here is nearly prohibitive.  Nonetheless, I'm a huge fan of the taste, nutritional value, and health benefits of natural yogurt, so I was game to try out this incredibly straightforward recipe I found in one of my most beloved magazine subscriptions.   (Um, actually my only magazine subscription.  Only and most beloved.)


The above (plus an oven, a saucepan, a towel, and a few extra bowls) is all that this recipe requires.

Preheat oven to about 100 degrees C (200 F)

Heat 1 liter (1 quart) of milk (non-fat or full-fat, depending on your preference) in a saucepan until it reaches the boil.  Keep a close eye on your milk -- it's liable to boil over quickly (as mine did.)  Once it boils, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand until the temperature cools to 43-46 degrees C (110-115 F) -- if you don't have a thermometer, just wait until the milk feels warm, but touchable.  If a skin has formed, try to skim off most of it.

Stir about 1/4 cup of natural yogurt into a bowl with about 1/2 cup of the heated milk, then transfer back into the saucepan and blend.

Turn off oven.

Divide milk/yogurt mixture into two bowls, cover with plastic wrap (or I used re-usable, shower-cap type covers) and then a towel.  Put into oven and allow to sit overnight (6-15 hours - - I erred on the lengthier side.)


I was a bit surprised at how well this worked.  I even fudged all of the particulars (amounts, temperatures, times....) and it still set.  Amazing!  I mean, of course -- yogurt has been around for about 4,500 years.   Long before grocery stores, yogurt makers, or mixes.   


 This yogurt was a bit runnier and milder than store-bought, but apparently, the longer it stays in the fridge, the tangier it gets.  S ate his for morning snack with cinnamon, I put some in the black bean soup I made for lunch, and baby A had hers straight -- the milder taste suited her just fine.

At a fraction of the cost of  ready-made yogurt, we're definitely signing up to be card-carrying members of the culture club.  (Yes, Groan.  Sorry, couldn't help myself.  Yogurt jokes abound!)