Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fresh Yogurt - Mmmm

Today the rain began. Everyone has been saying that the rainy (aka monsoon) season was supposed to begin June 17th this year... but there is rain in the forecast for the next ten days straight, so I think we may be there. I'm a little curious.... and a little worried about how the laundry is going to dry! We may have to upgrade to the turbo-powered wringer. ;) (Gordon!)

Yesterday I successfully made yogurt for the first time! We're so happy! "Yogurt" here generally refers to an opaque sugar-water drink, no thicker than milk and much worse tasting, in our humble opinion. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to "yogurt" in other parts of the world. We had found some "real" yogurt in the natural foods store here, however it is very expensive and always very sweet. But, from now on we will be making our own, for the price of a quart of milk - about 1/4 the price!

In case anyone is interested, I'll explain how I did it. All you need is milk, a bit of yogurt, and a way to keep it warm.

First I brought the milk to a boil, as some say this will make the yogurt thicker. Next time perhaps I'll try skipping this step. Then I allowed the milk to cool until just lukewarm - about the right temperature for yeast, or a baby's bottle. The milk is then combined with the "starter" - a bit of yogurt that's already fermented. (I did this in a glass jar, with two or three tablespoons of yogurt to a quart of milk.) Now all that's left is the incubation: the mixture needs to be kept warm for six or eight hours to ferment. I've seen fancy electric yogurt incubators, but this is not necessary. Fill a hot water bottle, place it next to the yogurt container (with as much surface contact as possible) and wrap tightly in several thick clothes - flannel shirts, towels.... I put mine "to bed" at noon, snuggly wrapped and tucked in under the quilt. By supper time, it was beautifully set. Chilled overnight, it was the perfect accompaniment to our Saturday morning pancakes!

No comments: