Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Home Made Yogurt With Garden Fruit

I have a feeling that yogurt is very good for you. I know this isn't really news, lots of other people think this and I also have no scientific basis for my view, but it's what I think. If it makes me live to a hundred and ten I'll be very pleased to have been right, if not, well it's still a delicious treat, so win-win (except I'd be dead...)
Anyway, I often make my own yogurt, partly because the Aga makes it so easy, and partly because if you make it yourself you can make it how you like. I like it thick and creamy, so I use full fat milk and I strain the yogurt, Greek style through a square of muslin or cotton. And the great thing about thick creamy yogurt is that is goes really well with the soft fruit from the garden, that's really coming into season now. If you don't happen to have an Aga lying about the place, you can use the airing cupboard, a slow cooker, or a large thermos. I say large because it's not worth making dribs and drabs especially if you strain it because the volume is considerably reduced. Also it keeps pretty well in the fridge - treat it as you would fresh milk.

Home Made Yogurt
4 pints of fresh full fat organic milk (I can't physically stop you from using low fat, but I would if I could)
A couple of big dollops of plain full fat yogurt, I use Yeo Valley, or Total,  about a third of the large tub in the picture.

Place your yogurt in a pristine mixing bowl, and whisk in the milk. Cover with cling film and place in a warm spot until thickened. It will depend on the temperature, but I usually leave mine overnight at the back of the Aga. It will be thickended but not very thick. Put it in the fridge to chill and it will get a bit thicker. You can use it as it is if you like, but I much prefer to line a large sieve or colander with a bit of scalded muslin or cotton, and pour in the chilled yogurt and leave. It takes a few hours, and you'll be left with a bowl of thick creamy yogurt and some cloudy water which is chock full of probiotics, and which you should give to your chickens, so that they will also live to a hundred and ten. Spoon the yogurt into another pristine container (I'm harping on about the cleanliness as it's quite important with any dairying process, try to think of yourself as a dairymaid in a Thomas Hardy novel..) and store in the fridge (not so Thomas Hardy but safe).

Flavoured Yogurt
Now for the best bit, yogurt for breakfast with some lovely soft fruit from the garden. With yogurt as thick as this, you can just add fruit as you fancy, just mash up a few raspberries and redcurrants a bit, add a little sugar or honey to taste and  use to top your little dish of yogurt. One other thing I like to do for a change from fruit is to scrape some seeds from a vanilla pod, and add to the yogurt with a little icing sugar to taste, Vanilla Yogurt, delicious!




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