Last night we had some pretty wild thunderstorms here in the middle of Oklahoma. Mike, the kids, and I had just started enjoying a movie “Hoodwinked 2” at our local dollar movie theater since it was $1 Tuesday night. The storms started just after 7pm and the theater lost power about 15 minutes into the film and so we headed home. We made it home during a break in the rain as there were even more storms to come last night. We never really lost power, it just flickered a bit. But, big sections of town lost it for hours and some areas are still without power.
Anyway, breakfast today was the last five of our local pastured eggs and the last of our plain yogurt along with some OK, but not great, store-bought peaches. So, this morning it was time to visit the Farmer’s Market. I got my eggs there…they didn’t have power and were selling in the semi-darkness inside with the doors open. I also got lots of yummy fruits and veggies… peaches, cherry tomatoes, salad greens, potatoes, mustard greens, beets, blackberries; all local.
Then I tried to get yogurt at both Target (no power still and thus not selling any “temperature-sensitive” items at all) and then Homeland (had lost power most of the night, but they had packed dry ice around the milk). So, no yogurt, but did get some milk. Since my girls are yogurt addicts, this means I have to make yogurt for them from scratch. Not a lot of work, but since I am feeding four yogurt addicts, I only get enough for a couple of days at our rate of consumption. 🙂
I do not have a yogurt maker and trying to heat/cool/maintain the milk at the right temp is a hassle, so I use the crockpot yogurt recipe at “A Year of Slow Cooking”. Basically, you:
- Put a half-gallon of milk in your 4 quart crockpot. ( I use either whole or 2%, skim makes a thin yogurt) (Note: if you only have a bigger crockpot, you can double the recipe)
- Heat it on low for 2.5 to 3 hours with crockpot lid on.
- Turn crockpot off, unplug, and let cool for about 3 hours or until the milk temp is about 110ºF.
- Scoop out about 2 cups of the warm milk and add 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (either Dannon or other quality brand of UNFLAVORED and UNSWEETENED real live yogurt) or 1/2 cup from your last batch. It must have live cultures. Or you can use a yogurt starter such as “Yogourmet” freeze-dried yogurt starter. You can get that or something equivalent at a local natural foods store or from many vendors on Amazon.
- Mix well and then pour it all back into the crockpot with the rest of the warm milk. Give it a good stir.
- Put lid back on crockpot, wrap the whole thing with 1 or 2 thick bath towels and let sit for 8-12 hours until it thickens to your preference.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Then, you can blend in vanilla, honey, fresh or frozen fruit, no-sugar added jam, etc. to your liking. Or you can strain the yogurt in a colander lined with cheesecloth in the fridge for several hours to get “Greek yogurt”. If you do that, be sure and save the whey that you drain off to use later to soak oats or beans. I use mine when I make oatmeal…I soak the oats in a mixture of water and whey overnight.
Our girls favorite way to enjoy yogurt is with just a little honey on top. But, my new favorite is PB&J yogurt. Take 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (either regular or greek), top with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter (or other nut butter) and 1 tsp of fruit-only jelly or jam such as Simply Fruit brand. Stir and enjoy.