Healthy food. We need a healthy food post. How about yogurt?
People all over the world have been making and consuming yogurt for thousands of years. Yogurt can be made from the milk of cows, water buffalo, goats, sheep, mares, camels or yaks. We usually use cow’s milk. The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, who remarked that certain barbarous nations knew how to thicken milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity.
The “milk” in the biblical reference to “the land flowing with milk and honey” was actually a fermented yogurt style drink. Yogurt contains far less lactose and lasts longer than “sweet milk”, or fresh milk, allowing the Israelites the opportunity to consume the beverage for an extended period of time. The scholar Nachmanides comments on the term “flowing”, stating that it is the key word in the sentence. Just as livestock produce higher quantities of milk when they are living in fertile pastures, The Promised Land is a particularly fertile place – one that is symptomatic of the greater good.
Yogurt gives us healthy amounts of protein, calcium, vitamins, potassium, magnesium and probiotics, and yogurt may even help prevent high blood pressure. So why not make our own? It’s really pretty simple, and you don’t need any fancy tools, just a stainless steel pot, a non-reactive (silicon) whisk, a food thermometer, a quart or two of milk and a little yogurt with active cultures as a starter. If you make it every couple of weeks, just use the last bit left in the jar as your starter.
Here’s how you do it: Heat the milk in a stainless steel pot to 180 degrees, stirring frequently with a silicon whisk to prevent sticking and burning. Let it cool to 110 degrees, and then whisk in 1 or 2 tablespoons of yogurt, and pour into clean jars. Place the jars, covered with towels, in a warm place, about 90 to 100º (an older gas oven with a pilot is perfect). Leave it alone for 8 to 12 hours until it’s fairly firm, and then refrigerate. It is good all by itself, or mixed with oatmeal and/or fruit (maybe a little sugar or honey if you like it sweeter). It’s really good with some frozen berries, a banana, and a little cinnamon and honey, blended for 30 seconds. Almost like ice cream!