Hello blog readers!
First off, a big apology for my slackerly blogging as of late. I have several excuses I could give, but that's not why you read this blog. I'll make it up to you with a recipe instead.
This is actually a sneak recipe from The Bag Lady's book (I can feel you forgiving me already.) Yogurt is a wonder-food. It aides digestion by restoring normal flora, provides calcium and vitamins, is light and refreshing, can be topped with jam, fruit, chocolate, granola, rice crispies, anything really. You can also use it to make parfait. Everybody likes parfait, I mean have you ever been out with a group of friends and said "lets get some parfait!" and they say "I don't like no parfait!" (Name that movie) Of course NOT! That never happens. Everybody, likes parfait.
I've traveled enough that I realize sometimes you don't want to know what you're eating, but when you're at home and you can't even pronounce what's written on your food label... Enough said. So without further ado, I present, drum roll please, The Bag Lady's own yogurt. This yogurt is amazing. It's easy to make, preservative free, smooth on the tongue and the tummy. Besides, there is something deliciously satisfying about popping the top off a pint jar and eating out of it with a spoon.
(Makes 1 gallon)
1 gallon 2% or whole milk*
5 tablespoons powdered milk
1 cup plain yogurt
Sweetener of choice**
Preheat oven on warm setting. Place milk and powdered milk* in a large thick bottomed stainless steel pot and heat milk to 180°F, stirring often. Turn off oven and turn on oven light. Once the milk has reached 180°, cool to 125-110°F. I place the pot in a sink full of ice water; within 5 to 10 minutes the milk cools between 125-110°F. Stir in yogurt and sweetener.** Pour into pint sized canning jars and cover with a canning lid and ring or aluminum foil. Place filled jars in oven and allow ripening in oven to desired consistency. I ripen mine 4-6 hours. Place yogurt in refrigerator.
Yogurt will keep in refrigerator for a good 4 weeks. Remember to save 1 cup of your homemade yogurt as a starter for your next batch
*Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk or yogurt will not set.
**I sweeten my yogurt by adding ¾ cup organic fructose to 1 gallon of milk. You may choose to add more or less sweetener depending on your preferences. I add the fructose with the powdered milk.
Fruit, jam, or other toppings should only be added when the yogurt is served, or it will not set up properly.
If you are interested in adding probiotics to your yogurt, make sure that you add them when the milk has cooled to below 120F. Hotter temperatures will kill the bacteria.
Remember how Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey? Your yogurt will probably develop some whey, it's a yellow tinged liquid that results when the milk separates. If you don't mind your yogurt a bit runny, just mix it back in. If that completely grosses you out, drain it off the top and proceed with breakfast. Personally, I always drain it off, because I like my yogurt thicker, so no shame if you're a drainer too, no shame.