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Friday, June 18, 2010

Food Friday: Yogurt

I found another Lazy Person recipe! Like the One Minute Ciabatta, this is a little something for which the major contribution of the chef is not skill, but patience. Put it in a container and then ignore it? For HOURS? Even OVERNIGHT? Oh, I am so all over that.

What prompted this experiment was twofold. First, Someone Else did a little grocery shopping. Now while in theory I should be ecstatic about the magically-appearing groceries, the reality is that since as the default cook I am the most intimately in-tune with the fridge and pantry around these parts, I become righteously protective of my role of Food Acquirer. And each attempt at kindness by others seems to just support the old adage that a kitchen requires one chef. (Okay, that too many cooks spoil the broth, but grant me some license here...that sounds goofy in context!) We had a full gallon of milk. And someone brought home...another full gallon of milk. Seeing how half of our household doesn't even use the stuff (lactose sensitivities), that's a lot of freaking milk staring at me, daring me to use it before it goes bad.

Also, the last time I purchased yogurt, I picked up a container of "plain". Why? I have no idea. I mean, no one eats the plain! It tastes like...plain yogurt! Maybe I imagined I'd use it in a recipe, who knows.

So one day I was staring at my fridge and thought: milk...yogurt...OMG I can try what my friend Robyn did!!

And so I did.

I followed this tutorial, which is so easy my four-year old could do it (okay, with a little help telling time). My first potential obstacle came up when I realized that I had only 2% milk and not the preferred whole. Never fear! Substitution Woman is here! I also had a half-pint of heavy whipping cream taking up space (overpurchased for a previous recipe).

I replaced one cup of the milk with the cream, crossed my fingers, and started the heating process.

Two and a half hours later, I had what looked like buttermilk.

Rut roh. Is that good or bad? Did I mess up horribly with the cream? Curses! Oh...well...let's keep going and hope for the best. I mixed in my starter (unphotographed, but it was "plain" Stonyfield Farm) and noticed my second potential liability. Although the starter yogurt had live cultures, it was also ultra-pasteurized...a warned no-no with the milk. Bad with the yogurt? We would see.

After an overnight sit, the mix had thickened considerably...but not enough.

It had the consistency of...salad dressing? It was definitely thicker than a beverage-quality liquid, but quite pourable. It barely clung to the spoon at all. The tutorial had warned that the final product would be thinner than store-bought, but this seemed wrong.

So I found a second tutorial and fetched some cheesecloth to strain the batch.

Another few hours, and I had one quart of whey (saved for near-future adventures, let's hope!) and one quart of real, textured yogurt!

It is not at all as thick & sticky as the Greek yogurt pictured at the second tutorial blog. It's precisely what I expect when I peel back a foil lid. Heaven!

This week has been a celebration of black raspberries.

OMG we pick enough from our small patch to make a pie ever day. In fact, I made THREE pies on Tuesday...that's how happy I was. So you can well imagine what my first mix-in was.

The flavor seems a little sour to me...but then, I have a lingering head cold which seems to make most things taste a little "off". All the same, I "cheated" a bit and added a small amount of table sugar. I know, not very authentic of me. But it took just enough of the edge off to make it taste "right" and not too sweet.

Success! And other than the time investment, this is so ridiculously easy. It's definitely going into the permanent recipe file.


  1. :) I have strained the last few batches too. I like it very thick. It is pretty sour, but we've grown to like it that way. Jim was slower to come around, but even he is sold on homemade now.
    The raspberries look delicious!

  2. Yummo! Maybe someday I'll get crazy and try it. Seriously drooling over the raspberries!!!