Archives for posts with tag: yogurt

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A while back I acquired a yogurt maker. I don’t remember how or when or from whom exactly. But about the time I started making my own kimchi and kombucha I started fermenting my milk too. [Insert Brooklyn joke here.]

Making yogurt is almost foolproof. Like making ricotta or almond milk or tempeh. (Ok, making tempeh isn’t really easy at all but you should read this post by Lagusta if you want to learn how.) Herein lies the key: start with good milk. I’m probably not supposed to advocate for raw milk but let’s just say the less pasteurized the more good bacteria and the more tangy and flavorful your yogurt will be. I use Evans’ Farmhouse milk from upstate New York which I can get at my local food coop. They maintain full pasture-based cows and it’s a family owned farm. As Anne Saxelby was quoted as saying in the Times, “This is butter.”

I’ll also just say for all my vegans out there, take heart. You can make non-dairy yogurt at home too. I’ve been making my own yogurt for a while now so I have my own culture to work from. I just save a little from each previous batch I make to mix with the new milk. You can also buy a single-serving container of yogurt and use that as a starter, or use a starter like Belle+Bella. I like theirs because it’s non-gmo and works well with soy, almond, or other kinds of milks.

As with most things I make and document on this blog, I save neither time nor money by going the homemade route. Would it be easier to go into my local grocery store and buy a quart of Stonyfield yogurt? Yes. Cheaper? Probably. But would it taste as good? It’s also about avoiding processed food and additives when I can. I don’t do this religiously nor aspire to (until I become a yoga teacher who lives in Vermont and makes pottery in about twenty years.) Until then, I dabble in the fermenting arts when I can. You should give it a try.

Homemade Yogurt
Makes approx. 1 quart of yogurt

1 quart milk
1 packet (5 g) of yogurt starter like Belle+Bella’s Yogo or 1 c yogurt at room temperature

1. Heat 1 quart or liter of milk to approximately 180 degrees F (82C).
2. Let the milk cool to approx. 108F (42C).
3. Stir either your packet of starter or your cup of yogurt with a small amount of the cooled milk and mix well.
4. Combine this mixture with the rest of the milk and stir well.
5. Keep warm at approx. 112F (44C) for at least five hours and up to about 12. You can do this in your oven but it really is a lot easier to use a yogurt maker.
6. Refrigerate for a few hours before eating.

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Yoğurt Çorbası, or yogurt soup, has become one of my new favorite foods. Eaten hot or cold, the soup combines the creaminess of yogurt with chewy cooked wheat and dried mint. I’m guessing there are numerous variations of this recipe in Turkey–perhaps depending on region, or just a family’s particular preference–but whatever you do, you must constantly stir the yogurt as it comes to a boil (to prevent curdling) and, I’m told emphatically, do so in one direction only! I tried doing this task one-handed, while sipping a cold-brewed decaf coffee with the other and was chided by my Turkish cooking instructor: “focus!”

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Turkish Yogurt Soup with Mint

1 c uncooked hulled wheat
5 c cold water, divided in 3 c + 2 c
1 quart plain yogurt (not Greek-style)
1 egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced finely
2 tbsp dried mint
salt, to taste

1. Cook the wheat: combine the wheat and 3 cups of cold water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the wheat is cooked. Let sit covered for an additional 10 minutes then transfer to a baking sheet to cool completely.

2. Place the yogurt in a large bowl; crack the egg into the yogurt and whisk to combine. Add the 2 cups of water and whisk together. Place the cooled wheat in a medium to large saucepan and add the yogurt-egg mixture and 2 c cold water. You’ll be gradually bringing the mixture to a boil and have to stir the mixture continuously in one direction until it boils. It’s very important not to stop stirring and to stir only in one direction so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Ideally you’d bring the mixture to a slow boil and this could take thirty minutes of stirring. Recently I started doing this a little sped up, on slightly higher heat, and it takes about twelve minutes of continuous stirring. Once the mixture is boiled turn the heat to a low simmer and cover.

3. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a small to medium saute pan on a medium flame. Add the onion and saute until it starts to turn golden, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the mint and cook for one minute then take off the heat. Stir this into the yogurt mixture, take the yogurt off heat. Season with salt to taste and you’re ready to eat. The soup can be served hot or cold.

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