Probiotic Goodness

Finding a steady supply of probiotics has been such a necessary step in restoring the balance of bacteria in my gut (yes, this is a little on the TMI side of things, but even after two years, I am still experiencing the effects of chemo, but I think even more so from the heavy antibiotics I was on). I got hooked on Fage a little while ago, and while I love the thick, creamy yogurt, I was really hoping for something organic.

I brew. I bake. It was only a matter of time before adding yogurt to the list of staples made from scratch (is beer considered a staple?). I finally took the plunge last night, and the steps were almost too simple to think they would actually work, or result in something edible. But, I’m happy to say, that less than 12 hours later, I’ve got a couple of pints of delicious, homemade (organic) yogurt in the fridge. I found the basics for this recipe here.

First, heat 1/2 gallon of milk to 180º F (gently, preferably in a double boiler). Once temperature has been reached, remove from stove and pour into a bowl to let it cool back down to 110º F.

Yogurt, Step One (Heat)

At 110º F, stir in three tablespoons of yogurt (with live active cultures, of course). Cover, wrap with a towel and place in an oven with the light left on. Leave overnight (or for eight hours). At this point, you should have yogurt. But, I really like greek-style yogurt, so the next couple of steps are for that.

Yogurt, Step Two (Strain)

Line a strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth, set in a bowl and fill with the yogurt. Let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour, then collect the whey that has strained out of the yogurt. Of course, you can just toss this, but I’m thinking there’s some bread in the near future made with this:

Yogurt, Step Three (Whey)

Put the strainer back in the fridge for another hour. I suppose you could keep straining this for as long as you want, until you achieve the density that you like. But, after about two hours I had a consistency that seemed good.

Yogurt, Step Four (Enjoy)

The next step, as with everything else we do around here, is to enjoy!