Saturday, April 26, 2008

Surviving a Liquid Diet

The brutal part of my dental surgery was that they had to do some cutting into the jawbone. It's the moral equivalent of broken right now. That means even soft foods aren't in the cards for a while. What then would a dedicated epicure do?

Answer: Home made yoghurt.

You might have guessed a couple of things about me. One of which should have been that I am a total homebody. Working mostly out of the house has really spoiled me. That and being essentially a misanthrope. I don't go out much because I prefer my own company and the company of my critters. I'm into a lot of home made stuff, my bread, soft cheeses, yoghurt and such. It's much better food than what you buy.

I got into Yoghurt making a long time ago. I was on this whole "gotta cut down on sugar" kick. It would have been a lot healthier if I had quit shooting dope, but hey, first things first you know? Anyway, I am acting like a sugar cop in the store and I get a carton of plain yoghurt. When I read the label I notice that it had high fructose corn syrup in it. I'm trying to cut down on sugar and these bastards are plotting to pour karo syrup down my throat. I figure enough's enough so I start doing a little research about it.

The first thing you need is a half gallon of milk. Some people prefer skim milk, and that's fine with me. I use skim milk from time to time, but most of the time I just use what ever is in the fridge. Put this on the stove over a high medium heat. To the milk add a can of evaporated milk and 2 cups of nonfat dry milk. This increases the milk solids that are present and will improve the consistency of your end product. Heat until a covering of small bubbles is present and it is almost boiling. If it does boil it's no big deal, it just makes a horrid mess is all. The main thing you want is for the temperature to reach at least 180° for a minimum of two minutes. This kills any other bacteria that might be present and readies the milk for the introduction of the bacteria we want. Let the milk cool down to a little above body temperature (warm, not hot) and add the yoghurt starter. There might be a skin formed on top of the milk. In Poland this is called a ploika and is eaten on hunks of bread. Mine go to the dogs, if they don't get their issue they might not let me move away from the stove. For a half gallon batch, half of a small carton of plain yoghurt (and don't forget to read the label in case the syrup spies have been active in your neighborhood). The best way is to scoop some of the boiled milk over the yoghurt culture in a 2 cup measure and mix it until smooth. Stir it into the rest of the boiled milk and then transfer to a clean, airtight jar. (I like the Kerr small canning jars, single serving size) If you don't have a yoghurt maker (I love my Danvier) you can use a rack style dehydrator, or barring all of that put the stove on warm (you're going for an average temp of not less than 110° yet not more than 120° I found that the "warm" setting on the oven dial with the door slightly cracked worked just fine. If you are using the oven method you will want your jars in a bain marie which is a fancy ass french way of saying put the jars in a 12" by 8" baking pan and the add water around them. This will ensure that the yoghurt sets up evenly in your containers.

Leaving it alone for about eight hours should do the trick, but the longer you leave it in the heat the tighter your yoghurt will be. If you pick up one of your jars and it looks and feels solid in the jar, you're done.

There are some variations. In India they will take the finished yoghurt and strain out much of the liquid through a cheesecloth. It makes a cheesier, denser yoghurt. There are a lot of things to do with it from here. I substitute it for around half of the mayonaisse when making tuna or potato salads. There are lots of Turkish, Lebanese and Indian dishes that use yoghurt.

Since this isn't pasturized again there will be live culture stuff present and you'll want to make new yoghurt after two weeks in the refridgerator. Give this one a try and you'll end up hating the stuff they pawn off on you at the store as much as I do.

This was from a couple years back. I figure more people than just Konagod are reading the blog now so this might even be news to some of you.

I went through a "golden age" of yoghurt making back when I was still in Arizona. The next door neighbor had goats, the goats had milk. More milk than he could use, so he started giving me goat's milk and I started giving back yoghurt. That stuff was the bomb. Now, I'm back to out of the carton cow milk from the store. I'm casting around for some 4H kids who keep dairy cows to see if we can start trading again. I loves me some country trading.



Blogger Sherry said...

i understand the homebody part. i've always said if i hit the lottery(hard to do when i don't play hardly)
i'd be in a nice cabin in the woods with brown chickens and a ton o animals.
anyway, i'd have to really taste what it's supposed to be like before i'd try making it myself. i might end up with a science experement gone mad. "the yogurt that ate pittsburgh or something like that! ; )

the jaw, oh my yes. been there/done that. i had a lump the size and shape of a half of a walnut on my lower left jaw for about 4 months after all the healing was over. it did go away tho!
you'll feel lots better in a bit.
i did.take care.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

If you get really lucky those 4H kids will be raising Jerseys or Brown Swiss, cattle whose milk has higher milkfat than the ubiquitous Holstein. (Jerseys' milk is so high in milkfat the milk isn't even white. It's very pale yellow.)

4:18 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Oh -- the cut to the jaw was hard to read, harder yet to endure, I imagine. So sorry.

The yogurt sounds wonderful. I avoid any foods which list that poison, high fructose corn syrup. Greek-style yogurt (Cabot, etc.) is the one acceptable rich-tasting yogurt with an excellent bite I have found in the grocers.

4:41 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

Yikes! This sounds worse than when I had my wisdom teeth (why do they call them that?) cut out when I was in high school.

I have been wanting to try making yoghurt and now you have told me how to do it. I have heard of using a thermos bottle or of putting the warm jars in a small ice chest and wrapping them up.

I have some water kefir grains that I am about to start experimenting with. I tried the recipe that came with them and it is way too sweet.

I hope you are feeling better really soon.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Hope you are beginning to feel better.

I do not think you a misanthrope, so much as Thoreauvian in outlook. I too need my solitude, but I would guess that we both enjoy people during the times we are with them.

I am told I am an introvert as introverts need their isolation. Could be, though I've never thought of myself that way.

You do too many kind things to qualify as a misanthrope.

2:36 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

It might be TOO soon to ask if you're doing any better, but hey, time flies when you're having fun and soon it'll all be a memory.

(Man, what's up with word verifications lately? Letters all fat and squished together. I can't read this shit.)

4:32 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

Heh! I just guessed and got it right.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous ta hussain ta said...

My best yogurt story.

5:22 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i'm the same way tata, cooking while upset can be as counterproductive and dangerous as driving drunk.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous ta hussain ta said...

Sure. Imagine throwing a brick of rice pudding through someone's windshield. The police would have to lie down to laugh hard enough.

9:28 AM  
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11:15 PM  
Blogger nahidworld said...

There are many weight loss diets that promise to give you a slimmer figure in no time, but very few of these diets allow you to drink your way to becoming thinner. A Liquid Diet restricts what you consume to mostly liquids or all liquids. These diets are commonplace in the medical field, as they allow patients to prepare for surgical procedures that call for little to no food in the intestines and recover from surgery until they can digest food normally. For those looking to loose weight, a liquid diet can help you control the amount of calories you take in each day.

5:39 AM  

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