Sunday, September 11, 2011

crockpot yogurt

did you know you can make yogurt at home in a crockpot? i tried it for the first time this week, and was truly amazed - it's super easy, tastes great, and saves money. what's not to love?

my friend Momi sent me this recipe a while ago, and I finally had reason to try it out for the eat local challenge.  i had bought a half gallon of local milk the other day on a whim because it was on sale, but i don't really drink milk, and i've been missing having yogurt in my (100% locally grown) smoothies in the morning, so figured this was the perfect time to try out the yogurt recipe. to be honest, i was highly skeptical that it would actually work. I've always been intimidated by yogurt-making, similar to my fear of proofing yeast when baking bread - it's so much pressure to get the temperature right so those little buggers will grow. anyway, despite my skepticism and nervousness, the process was incredibly simple - you just need to start it at a time when you expect to be home periodically to switch the crockpot off and mix in the yogurt. I made a 1/2 recipe because my crockpot is little and that worked just fine.

the ingredients.

--12 cups (3/4 gallon) of whole milk--pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized.

--1 6oz store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt

the directions.

plug in your crockpot and turn to low. add milk. cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.

unplug your crockpot. leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.

scoop out 2 cups of the milk and put it in a bowl. whisk in live/active culture yogurt. then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. stir to combine.

put the lid back on your crockpot. keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation.

go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.

in the morning, the yogurt will have thickened---it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt. (i actually found it to be quite thick - see note below)

chill in a plastic container(s) in the refrigerator. your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.

*for thicker yogurt, line colander with cheesecloth/paper towels and set in big bowl. pour yogurt and cover. place in fridge.

now, fellow thick yogurt-lovers, don't be dissuaded (i was, and i think that's part of why it took me so long to try the recipe). i am not the kind of person who loves just eating yogurt, because i don't think it's rich enough - the one type of yogurt i fell in love with is a brand called Liberte from vermont that's something like 8% milkfat (yum!). now that i can't get that i settle for greek-style yogurt. and yet i LOVE this homemade yogurt - it's creamy and fairly thick and very flavorfull. in fact, i ate an entire 35oz container in the first 24 hours (is that gross?) and none of it has made it into the smoothies yet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

baby hats on a plane

this labor day weekend i'm working on a long-anticipated baby project. yep the baby's already been born, but i don't want to give away the surprise gift, so i will *not* be blogging about that one just yet.
for now let me show you the baby hats i made on the plane ride back from oklahoma last month. these don't have a particular baby in mind, i just figure it's always good to be prepared with baby gifts - plus they're so fast to make = good plane project.
i actually only made 1 1/2 of these hats, since one of them was started during an impromptu crochet lesson involving marty's niece nia, his aunty linda, and... well, guess who knows how to crochet now?
mmhmm, that's right.