Monday, September 23, 2013

Fresh & Tangy Goat's Milk Yogurt

The other day I met a friend for tea and naturally we started chit chatting about food and nutrition, two of my favorite topics. The discussion was primarily around how corrupt our food system is and how easy it is to make many things at home, for example yogurt! Susan, my friend, was kind enough to let me try a bite of her homemade soy yogurt and explained how easy it was to make. Making yogurt has been top of mind for a while now; however, there has always been some intimidating aspect of this process. I left her house that day with the intention and motivation to make my very own yogurt…the following weekend. And voila! I did it!

For my first batch I decided on a goat’s milk yogurt using Summerhill Goats Milk from Trader Joes. A client of mine took a cheese-making class at a local goat farm and the farmers suggested using Summerhill because they treat their goats very well, the milk is free from antibiotics and added hormones and it does not undergo ultra pasteurization. Perfect! Now, if you don’t care for the flavor of goat’s milk or cheese, you can always use cow’s milk or any other milk alternative. Next weekend I am going to try cultured almond milk (I’ll keep you posted!).

You may be thinking, but I don’t have one of those fancy yogurt makers. I have great news for you - you do not need one! In fact all you need is a cooking thermometer, saucepan, a stove and a crock-pot, besides the obvious ingredients of course. One thing you will need to decide is whether you would like to use the live bacteria strains from an existing plain yogurt (make sure it lists live bacteria cultures in the ingredients) or the bacteria from a probiotic supplement as your yogurt starter. You can also find yogurt starter packages (by the gelatin) in some stores. I just so happened to have a PLAIN (you’ll want to use plain) organic Greek yogurt in my fridge so I used that for this batch; however, next weekend I plan to use a probiotic supplement for my cultured almond milk. If you choose to use a probiotic supplement it needs to contain live bacteria so it must be one that is kept under refrigeration. You would simply pull the capsule apart and sprinkle the powder in your milk (when the directions tell you to do so).

*Note, due to the length of time the yogurt needs in order to thicken, I suggest starting this process in the late afternoon so it is ready for breakfast the following morning!

1 quart of goat’s milk or 4 cups (cow’s milk, almond, soy, etc.)
½ cup of yogurt starter (or the powder from one probiotic supplement)

Plug in your crock-pot and turn it to high.

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 180°F (or 110°F if using raw milk). The milk will get frothy but should not boil. Remove from heat and let it cool until it reaches 100-110°F. This part should only take about 30 minutes.

While the milk is cooling, remove your yogurt starter from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Remove approximately one cup of milk from the saucepan and mix it with your yogurt starter. Whisk until no lumps remain. Then add it back in with the remaining milk.

*If you are using a probiotic supplement, remove approximately one cup of milk add in the probiotic powder, stir and add it back to the remaining milk.

Turn off your crockpot. Transfer the milk into small jars (that can fit beneath the lid of the crock-pot.

Top the jars with lids and seal them loosely. Place them in the crock-pot.

Put the lid on the crock-pot and wrap the entire crock-pot, including the base, in blankets or towels to create a warm, dark incubating environment. 

Keep it covered overnight for approximately 8-12 hours so the yogurt thickens. In the morning transfer the yogurt cups to the refrigerator and enjoy!

I sprinkled mine with granola, click here for the recipe, cranberries and chia seeds. Yum!!