Today is the first day of fall term and I started it off the same way I begin almost every day.... with homemade yogurt!
After my intestines got trashed by C. diff I had a tremendously difficult time finding food that I could eat without having horrid stomach cramps. Thanks to my fabulous mother-in-law, I was introduced to the wonders of homemade yogurt. What is so special about this yogurt? Well, for one thing, you can ferment it for 24 hours which transforms all the lactose into galactose. This makes it much easier for your body to break down and digest. Second, yogurt has awesome "good" bacteria in it that help restore a healthy balance in your digestive tract. You can find more information about the benefits of homemade yogurt here.
Every week I make a 2 quart batch so I have enough to start each day off with a 1 cup serving.
The directions are pretty simple and most yogurt makers come with instructions regarding the heating and cooling of your milk. In general, this is the process I follow:
2 quarts milk (whichever fat content you prefer)
2 envelopes of starter
1. Slowly heat milk in heavy duty pot until it reaches 180 F (careful not to boil!) while stirring frequently, especially near the end).
2. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool to approximately 115 F, stirring before you take a temperature reading to assure even temperature of milk.
3. Pour yogurt into 2 quart container, seal, and place in yogurt maker or oven heated to 100 F. Allow to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours.
4. Without disturbing, place container in refrigerator until cool, approximately 8 hours.
5. If a thicker yogurt is desired, you can strain the yogurt in cheese cloth or scoop off the liquid on top.
Another thing I love about yogurt is how many ways there are to enjoy it. Use it in your ice cream maker for frozen yogurt, as a base for a healthy version of ranch dressing, or strain longer for for a creamy cheese spread. Over the summer while there is a lot of fresh local produce, I usually mix in some fresh berries or fruit and a bit of honey. The rest of the time I make a yogurt drink to kick off my day.
ABC (Almond Banana Cacao) Yogurt "Smoothie"
1 cup homemade yogurt
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp raw local honey
Place all ingredients in blender or container that permits the use of an immersion blender and mix until smooth. Pour into cup and enjoy!
All this writing about yogurt has me looking forward to tomorrow morning :)