Update! I rewrote my yogurt tutorial in 2016 with tips and tricks to make your yogurt even thicker. You can find it here.
Did you try the butter or tortilla tutorial I recently posted? If not, maybe this one is more your pace. Yogurt. One of the easiest and most common fermented foods. And the cost is about half that of store-bought yogurt.
This recipe is nearly foolproof yogurt every time. No special equipment needed. Making yogurt is ridiculously easy. We make it three times a week.
Homemade Yogurt Tutorial
1 Quart milk (raw is awesome but store-bought works great, too)
1 Tb yogurt culture (details on lively yogurt cultures are below)
Cooler, oven, heating pad or yogurt maker
Kitchen thermometer (optional)
Step 1: Heat
Warm 1 Qt of milk over medium-low heat until it is about to simmer. A skin will form on the top. Stir it in (my method) or lift it off (Pete's choice). If you are using a thermometer heat to 180 F/82 C.
Why heat? Heating the milk to nearly boiling kills anything living in your milk and gives the yogurt an unpopulated place to grow and thrive.
Remove from heat.
Step 2: Cool
Transfer your still hot (but not jar-breakingly hot) milk to a clean wide mouth quart jar. I do this little by little to ensure I don't crack my jar. Pour, swirl, wait. Pour, swirl, wait. Then pour the rest in.
Allow to cool until it feels warm but not hot to the touch (if you are using a thermometer it will be between 108 F - 110 F (42 - 43 C).) Cool adequately so that you don't kill your culture.
Step 3: Culture
Add 1 Tb of unflavored live yogurt.
How do you source good yogurt? Look local. Do you have a friend who makes yogurt? Ask for a bit. Is there a local or regional brand at your coop or grocery store? Try a small cup. Always choose unflavored yogurt because the sugars in sweetened yogurt weakens the culture and doesn't result in thick yogurt.
Blend the yogurt into a small bowl of milk or add to the jar and shake well (really well) to incorporate. Don't add extra. In yogurt making less is definitely more. I've experimented with different quantities for years, but only after reading Wild Fermentation did I find this perfect quantity. Our yogurt is now amazingly thick thanks to this minimal quantity of culture.
Step 4: Insulate
Place your quart jar in one of three places:
A. A cooler filled half way with very warm water. This method requires a bit of monitoring. Check the water temp a couple of times. Is it still warm? If not carefully scoop some out and replace with hot water.
B. A warm oven. Turn on your pilot light and place jar inside. This is our preferred method. We make yogurt in 1/2 gallon jars this way frequently.
C. A yogurt maker. There are styles with little glass cups that you can find second hand, or newer versions like the one above. I bought this one on Ebay for $8 including shipping. Score. In essence a yogurt maker adds heat and insulates to keep your yogurt warm while it cultures.
D. Heating pad on low heat. This can be tricky if your heating pad gets too hot, but can work beautifully. Place heating pat in the bottom of a cooler and cover with a thick towel. Set to low and place yogurt on top. Cover.
Step 5: Wait
Let your yogurt culture undisturbed for 4 - 12 hours. Four makes for mild, thick yogurt and the full 12 hours creates a more sour yogurt with no residual milk sugars - great for people sensitive to such things. Don't jostle your yogurt while it cultures or it will be thin and disappointing.
Step 6: Chill
Cool your yogurt before you scoop it out or it will separate a bit. My kids love warm yogurt and we use whey for lots of other things, so we sometimes scoop while warm, but if you want your yogurt to not separate pop it in the fridge for an hour.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Fill a bowl with your homemade yogurt, some fresh fruit, granola, or a drizzle of maple syrup. This yogurt is so good that I ate two bowls while writing this. Really.
Three words: Bulk. Frozen. Blueberries.
I'm not sure how its possible but my life continues to get more and more beautiful. Sure, we have our grouchy-fussy-snarly days, but then a moment like this bubbles to the surface and we see beauty instead of a mess.
These are the gifts that my children share every day.
I originally wrote this post last winter. I was inspired to repost it today since it describes well why I come here everyday and why I suspect you come here too. Enjoy!
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February 26, 2009
I really love sitting here and putting down words and pictures for you. Maybe it is more for me. Regardless, it brings me joy (and from your emails and comments it brings you joy too). I have been thinking about this teeny blog lately and wondering what it is for. Why do it?
This question frequently pops up in my life in different versions. You could call it intention or over-thinking, depending on your angle. Why eat the food we do? Why choose the toys we have for our children? Why live without television?
There is intention in how we have chosen to work, partner, and live, and in how we parent, school, and engage our children. Heck, we have intention in the crayons we buy, how we diaper (or not) our babies, and the holidays we celebrate. But those are conversations for another day.
The big question this morning is: why blog?
So here is my blog Manifesto, my Mission, Intention, or Over-Thought-Moment-of-Misplaced-Seriousness:
Our world is brimming with hidden beauty and inspiration. I strive to inspire you through the moments and thoughts that I share through words and pictures.
2. Be Inspired
I will seek inspiration and beauty each day. There is so much around me that is magical. I will touch it, photograph it, and share it.
Our words shape our world and I choose to work for good. May my message lift your heart and make your soul sing.
I challenge myself to try new things, to post with regularity, to be present each day. I challenge you with ideas that may be new, unusual, non-conformist.
I welcome your participation here in the form of comments and emails. Thank you for joining me on this adventure and sharing in these moments of our lives.
Jammie Craft struck again on Sunday. We were getting our day started and thinking about the upcoming birthday party. And we though, "Hmm... wrapping paper."
Since we've been crafting our birthday gifts out of totally free materials it has raised our wrapping paper budget a bit. So the kids and I decided to dye some white play silks we've had around and wrap our friend's gift in them.
Do your kids have play silks? They might be our favorite toy around. Simple and open-ended, they are cornerstone of creative play and a Waldorf standard. We love them for costumes, doll slings, play bandages, capes, dresses, landscapes, and so much more. Truly. Their usefulness is endless. (Thinking ahead to Spring celebrations? Replace icky plastic Easter grass in your child's basket.)
You can buy beautiful dyed play silks or simply (and frugally) make your own. Sources are at the bottom of the post.
There are dozens of different ways to dye play silks. We've dyed them with wild indigo and matter root, Easter egg dyes, and Kool Aid. This is the accessible-for-everyone Kool Aid Method. Your house will smell freakishly like fruit punch all day. Simultaneously awesome and disturbing.
Stainless steel and/or glass mixing bowls, one per color plus one more
Kool Aid (three packets per color)
Since I find it unlikely that you have a Kool Aid stash in your pantry, start this project at the grocery store. No, not the coop. The grocery. Choose your favorite colors or your most nostalgic scents. Blue, red, purple, orange, and green are all excellent choices and the colors take well. Purchase three packets of each color.
Fill a large pot or bowl with a gallon of hot water. Add 2 C white vinegar. Submerge your white silks into the vinegar bath and allow to soak for 10 - 30 minutes.
Time to add your silks! You can add a whole silk to a single color or do some simple multicolor variations and tie-dyes. Since my first "business" was selling tie-dies at Dead Shows when I was 17 (embarrassing but true) we tied some up with string or rubber bands, but for everyday play I prefer the simplicity of single-color silks.
Allow the silks to thoroughly saturate with color, then remove from dye bath and rinse.
Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. It takes surprisingly long, but is good tactile work for kids and adults alike.
You can also rinse in a large bowl of water if that's easier for little hands.
Then simply hang your silks to dry. (If not on your three year old then on a clothesline).
There you have it. A gorgeous plaything in under an hour. (Or at the least some sweet wrapping paper.) Let me know how your silks turn out and what your kids enjoy using them for.
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A note: If you found your way here through Whip Up, Crafty Crow, Progressive Pioneer, or other crafty wonderlands, welcome! Check back with us often - we get inspired and do magical kid crafting every week, plus I post about simplification, gentle parenting, and all manner of organic, joyful living.
Blank Play silks of all sizes (as well as fancy dyes) are available here. (Worth mentioning is that silks are made in China. Because they are silk. As in China silk. This is the exception to my Made in China rule. If you find any domestic silks please let me know.)
Hello there! I am Rachel Wolf. Lover of wild places, blogger, homesteader-in-training, unschooling mama, & owner of LüSa Organics. At home in the hills of the Driftless. Welcome!
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