- Start making our own bread again
- Make our own yogurt
Making yogurt was a brand new adventure for me but totally intrigued a kitchen nerd like me. (Who am I kidding, the kitchen is my favorite place to be!) I feel like I've streamlined the process now, six months later and thought I'd put my process to paper...or keyboard. This is what I've found works for my crockpot:
Late afternoon, I begin the process (3 or 4 pm). I put 1 gallon of milk in the crockpot on high. It will take 2-3 hours for my pot to heat the milk to 170-180 degrees. At that point, I cool the milk on ice water to 120 degrees. Then whisk in a heaping tablespoon of old yogurt. (So always save a little bit left from your last batch.) Reassemble the crockpot, and wrap it up in a beach towel or blanket and shove it to the back of the counter. I put my thermometer in the middle of the milk with the digital reader out of the towel wrap so I can easily check on the temperature for the next 8-12ish hours. The aim is to keep the temperature between 110-120 degrees. I've read that if it's below 110, the cultures don't reproduce, if it's above 120, the cultures are being killed. If I'm at the 120 degree range (usually after dinner time) I just leave it wrapped up in the blanket (crockpot NOT on). Then before bed, I plug in the crockpot for 10 minutes while I get ready for bed and then unplug before signing off for the night. In the morning, you have yogurt. It will be runny though. When I wake, I line my strainer with a clean old t-shirt, set it on top of my biggest bowl and pour the yogurt into the strainer. It strains quickly when it's warm, so if you leave it for 15-30 minutes, it might just right. If you leave it for 1 hour, you'll have greek yogurt I guess. (If you don't want that, just stir in more of the whey.)
What's in the tshirt is your yogurt ready to go. What's in the bowl beneath your strainer is whey. I've been tossing that, but just recently thought, there has got to be a use for this. I LOVE google! Mostly, I've been soaking my whole wheat flour in the whey, it makes for awesome wheat bread. Here's the other uses I've googled (I've adapted this list from Salad in a Jar):
- Substitute for other liquids when baking— gives breads and pancakes a nice sourdough-ish taste.
- Use for soaking whole wheat flours. (This is my number one use of the whey.)
- Use whey for boiling noodles or cooking rice. (Haven't tried this yet.)
- Feed it to outdoor plants, tomatoes particularly need and benefit from the extra calcium.
- Mix it half and half with iced tea — sort of an “Arnold Palmer without the lemon-aid.”
- Use it to thin out a batch of homemade hummus or pesto.
- Use it to cook quinoa.
- Boil your oatmeal in whey. Top with dried Montmorency cherries reconstituted in (you guessed it!) whey.
- You can use it as the liquid in pizza dough, and it adds a wonderful flavor to the crust. (Great!!)
- Use whey as clear buttermilk. (I made biscuits.)
So, I guess the sky is the limit, but I won't be throwing the whey out anymore! Your yogurt will need to be sweetened with sugar, honey or artificial sweetener. My favorite is 1/2 a mashed banana, 1/2 a packet of equal and blueberries! I've also just stirred in a spoonful of jam when in a hurry.