(pictures at the bottom)
With all the talk about your gut and adding "Probiotics" I thought my first blog post should be on something I know how to do well, is foolproof, and so very good for you. If your like me store bought yogurt is not my favorite food. But since I started making homemade yogurt it is now a food I eat daily and actually crave, although my yogurt is drained to make Labneh Cheese (more on that process later). Here's what you will need to get started
large canning pot (or pot large enough to hold a half gallon jar)
1/2 gallon canning jar with lid and ring
1/2 gallon organic milk
1 cup store bought cup organic yogurt
dishtowel and clip
oven with a light
bowl with a strainer and cheesecloth
You will be using a canning jar to keep it from cracking from the heat.
Pour your organic milk into the canning jar and place the jar into the canning pot. Your pot needs to be filled with water at least half way to the middle of the jar, I also will place a dish cloth on the bottom of the pot to keep the stress of the heat off of the bottom of the jar. There is nothing worse than filling your jar up and hearing a loud crack only to find the bottom of the jar has cracked and all of your milk is now in the water! Place the lid onto the jar just enough to hold the thermometer in place. Heat the milk up to 180 degrees (takes about 45 minutes) and remove the jar and thermometer from the water, careful the jar gets hot. Leave the thermometer in the jar and let the temperature cool to 120 degrees. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt to your milk and screw on the lid and band. Take the dishtowel and wrap it around the jar and clip it so that the towel stays in place. Now place the jar into the oven (Do Not turn on oven) right up against the light. Leave the milk in the oven for 8 hours at least. After that amount of time remove the jar, and the dishcloth and you are looking at delicious homemade yogurt. Pour the yogurt out of the jar into the strainer lined with cheesecloth (I use a 100% cotton dishcloth) sitting inside of a bowl large enough for the whey to drain off, place bowl with strainer into the refrigerator. So if you drain your yogurt for 8 hours you will have Greek Yogurt and if it drains for 12 hours it becomes Labneh Cheese, which is a thick cream cheese consistency. In your bowl after the yogurt has drained is whey which is also full of probiotics. This is great to keep refrigerated and add to smoothies, the dogs dish or anywhere else you might use a liquid, just remember if it is heated above 120 degrees you have killed the wonderful probiotics. This may sound like alot of trouble and overwhelming at first but here's how my weekend routine goes. On Saturday night I boil the milk and place it into the oven with the light on. In the morning (it may have been longer than 8 hours I haven't found that it makes that much difference) I empty the yogurt into the cloth lined strainer-bowl and place it into the refrigerator. There it stays all day Sunday draining. On Monday morning I now have yummy Labneh Cheese, this will make 5 bowls (see picture at bottom) of yogurt, just enough for lunch everyday. I place the yogurt into the bowls with lids and each morning I will add blueberries and sometimes a spoonful of organic jelly or honey from my beehives. This routine is very easy and I love that I have something healthy to eat each day that I know has the probiotics that my gut needs to stay healthy. I also make extra Labneh Cheese and use it in any recipe that calls for cream cheese, you can add all types of herbs to this cheese to add wonderful flavor.