I call it “super yogurt”, the ultra-probiotic power punch of homemade yogurt that I make twice a week. If you have been intrigued by the benefits of “active probiotic cultures” being touted by the major yogurt brands, this will rock your world! Its got trillions- yes trillions- of active probiotics!
Why probiotics? For me, probiotics- the live part of yogurt and fermented foods!- keep my digestive system balanced. Probiotics have been shown to be benefical in increasing immune system strength, too! This yogurt, my “super” yogurt, is a key part of the Specific Carboyhdrate Diet used my many to control IBD, IBS and many other digestive disorders. It “cooks” for 24-hours to reduce the lactose to near-zero while raising the probiotic count into the sky. Its fairly tart and very richly “active”: you may ony be able to have a few spoons at a time when you start eating it… but I have found that once I start making it, my body craves it in increasing quantity!
It is extremely easy to make your own yogurt, and its also pretty cost effective. You also get more connected to WHERE your food comes from, and you can control what milk you use and what type of yogurt starter you want to use. I use goat milk these days because the proteins are smaller, easier to digest, and I like the tartness. You can use regular cow milk, skim milk, half & half or even cream… just don’t use anything that has additives, including xanthan gum, etc… Its not what you want in the mix, heating up gums and then fermenting milk full of them!
My method of yogurt-making does require a yogurt machine. For me, its a worthwhile investment, and mine from Salton was under $30. I’ve had it for 6 years! For some reason they very hard to find now…and I actually am ready for an upgrade! While my little guy does the trick, now that I am making bigger batches I am going for the bigger , raved-about Yogurmet yogurt-making machine and doubling the yogurt recipe. If you want to try this without a yogurt machine, here are lots of ways to “incubate” yogurt without a machine.
Ready for super-yogurt?!
- one quart of milk of your choice without additive gums/flavors
- a big, very clean pot
- either a yogurt starter (I use this non-dairy yogurt starter, and one jar lasts for about 1 year of extreme yogurt making!) or 1/4 cup of non-additive plain yogurt (easiest: Fage or Dannon without gelatin or flavor or pectin or anything added works well)
- a whisk makes it easier
- a candy thermometer also helps if you are getting started!
- yogurt maker (or method of your choice)
To make: Pour a quart of milk into a big & very clean pot. Turn heat on very low (as illustrated above) and let the milk heat to 185 degrees. When you are getting started, I suggest you use a candy thermometer and take the measurement after stirring the pot and removing from heat before getting the read. The actual “look” of the milk will be foamy and frothy, as though a big boil is starting. That’s my “thermometer” now from years of experience, but a candy thermometer helped me to get it right.
Now, remove the pot from heat. I cover it and move it to a cool burner and let it sit for an hour or so, checking the temperature. You want it to be about 90-100 degrees. Some people suggest putting the pot in ice water. I like to keep it simple and just let it cool off, no ice or water involved. If its too hot, it will kill the probiotics in the starter. If its too cold, it won’t “feed” the starter in the starter, so just keep an eye on it. Set a timer if you need to be reminded to check on it.
To add the starter to the cooled-off milk : grab a whisk (I’ve used a fork just fine) and while whisking either add your store-bought 1/4 cup of yogurt or your 1/16 teaspoon of powdered starter (or as directed, depending on your brand), and keep stirring to incorporate it well. Some say to separate a cup of the milk, add the starter to that, and then pour that milk back into the pot, but I have never done it that way!)
Now, pour the contents of your pot into the container of your yogurt maker, cover it well and turn it on! Do not disturb it- after all, its alive and its growing!)
24 hours later, remove from the machine, unplug the machine (I forget sometimes!) and carefully place in the refrigerator to cool down. Give it a good stir before eating! & Enjoy! xoxo Dana