Adventures in Fermentation is my new blog series over at Sustainable Table. Apparently it was Twittered too (I’m not familiar) and placed on their RSS feed. I’ll be posting a fermentation adventure about once a month. Goal #1: Set Goals. Goal #2: Stick to Goals.
Throughout the Adventure I hope to cover:
Wild Fermented Pickles, Ginger Beer, Sauerkraut, Beer, Kombucha, Kefir, Kimchi, Bread, Olives, Miso and more! The next installment will speak more about fermentation in general, and perhaps provide a report back of an upcoming fermentation party I’ll be attending (I received the invite 3 months ago so I could ferment on my attendance).
I realize most of my readers are the quiet lurking type, but I would love to get some comments going about things you like to ferment, recipes you have, or funny fermenting stories.
The post is below, or head over to Sustainable Table to read it, and other great stories!
Welcome to the first installment of Adventures in Fermentation. In these postings we’ll explore the universe of fermented foods, happenings in the fermentation world, and delve into some recipes to try.
Fermented food and drink are not just wine, beer, and pickles! There is a whole universe of fermented foods to explore. In the next issue, I’ll talk more about what fermentation is exactly and its many positives, but until then, let’s jump right into something soft and cloudy: yogurt.
That’s right, yogurt is a fermented food (remember the term probiotic for the next posting). It is one of the simpler fermented foods to make, requires few supplies, and is something most of us are familiar enough with that you might be willing to try it.
Here’s a kicker that might get you making your own yogurt:
Yogurt on the market most of us are accustomed to has added thickeners (tapioca, citrus pulp, cornstarch, or other synthetic agents) added to make the end product a thick and even consistency (there are also a lot of sugars added). We sometimes also see “with probiotics” stamped on the container. Yogurt naturally is a probiotic food, so forget that claim. The real question is: Why eat all those extras if all you want is yogurt?
Yogurt that does not use thickeners, is much thinner, sometimes even lumpy. To make the consistency weightier, without thickeners, producers often drain the product losing a lot of whey in the process (which can be used to bake bread with). I have heard if you heat the milk to a higher temperature before adding culture you can thicken your yogurt further, but if you are using raw milk products, you run the risk of killing heat sensitive bacteria that makes milk digestible.
I enjoy homemade goat yogurt (made with goat milk) topped with granola, a scoop of homemade preserves, or simply as a yogurt beverage similar to kefir (another fermented food) full of all those great probiotics.
If you are interested in making your own yogurt, it is fairly simple. (read on for the details!)
You will need:
• raw milk or high quality organic milk
• yogurt cultures
• a large pot to heat the milk
• a cooking thermometer
• a glass jar to store your yogurt
If you have a friend with a batch of yogurt going, you can grab about 2 tablespoons of their finished yogurt per gallon of fresh milk to make your own yogurt. If not, I recommend purchasing cultures (both a thicker European culture or “tangy” culture) from New England Cheese Making Supplies.
The final yogurt recipe is dependent on the culture you use.
If you don’t want to bother with cultures, you can try using store-bought yogurt as your starter:
1/2 gallon organic (or raw) whole milk
1 cup organic yogurt
Heat the milk on medium-low heat in a saucepot to 165 F, do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow milk to cool to 110 F. Add yogurt, stir to incorporate, cover with a clean kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band or tie. Place in a warm location, undisturbed, overnight (inside a turned off oven works great). The next day, transfer to storage container and refrigerate. To thicken the yogurt, strain it through multiple layers of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Reserve whey that drains for baking.
Use goat or sheep milk for other tangy yogurt creations
Sprinkle with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey
Yogurt is not just for breakfast or a snack! Try some of these ideas:
Blitz your yogurt with chickpeas or white beans for a delicious spread
Serve a dollop over grilled lamb
Use on your sandwich instead of mayo
Mix with garlic and a chipotle pepper and top a quesadilla
Add a dollop to soup
Use it in baked goods, or whip it with powdered sugar as icing
Make a fruit smoothie