Monday, May 24, 2010

Speaking of Dairy, You've Got to Try Making Yogurt

I believe God gives each mother exactly the talents and traits needed for her to properly raise the specific children He gives her. However, I'm still not sure what He was insinuating by giving me a momma who can only cook two items: french toast and cereal. I grew up in the most spotless house, thanks to her, but if it weren't for my father, we all would've starved.

And my dad cooks "manly" things like country fried steak and the best ribs on earth. Canning and making yogurt aren't part of his repertoire. These things I had to teach myself.

I attempted water-bath canning first as it seemed the least dangerous. If the seal failed, I would likely know in a month or two when the mold started to grow. Yogurt, however, was MUCH scarier. I could poison my kids with live bacteria! I was always raised that dairy products are to remain cold all the time. Any exception to this and you'll wind up doubled over in your bathroom...or worse.

Turns out, that's not quite right. If it were, we wouldn't have sour cream, buttermilk or yogurt.

Thanks to Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship, I no longer live in fear of "live and active cultures". Her simple, failproof instructions for making yogurt are here. The only thing I do differently is that when I put the jars of milk into the fridge to cool, I do NOT put the lids on. I make 4, quart-sized jars at a time and they last my family 2 weeks. None of us have even gotten sick.

One beauty of homemade yogurt is that if you incubate it for about 6 hours, it is not nearly as tart as store bought. My kids will gladly eat it with fresh fruit and no additional sugar or sweetner (although they won't turn down honey if it's offered!).

Try it. For the cost of a gallon of milk and a cup or so of Dannon plain yogurt you might surprise yourself. Although she's never tried, I bet my mom could make it, too.

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