I must admit, I do cave into some advertising schemes that seem to have some connection to reality. Yogurt is sort of one. While my tastes have never really fallen for the artificially flavored, too sweet sorts that come in individual containers, I have always had a soft spot for truly rich, creamy, real vanilla or fruit yogurts. And yogurt is definitely marketed! You can't escape the TV commercials or the enormous section of yogurt at the grocery store.

Probiotics has become a widely used word - do you know what it means? I didn't until I looked up a definition! I thought it was just a marketing word, but really it means "for life" in Greek and is used mainly to refer to live microorganisms (bacteria) that when taken transfer health benefits to the host. Little did I know when I started my quest for real yogurt.

After reading French Women Don't Get Fat a few years ago, I decided I must try really enjoying yogurt in it's plain, natural state. The author claims that many French women eat yogurt in high amounts and this not only keeps them from craving high sugar treats but also that there is something in the yogurts bacterias that maintain health and digestion. She talks about visiting Greece and sampling delicious creamy goat's milk yogurt. About that time I started reading about Greek yogurt in my foodie magazines and online. I started my quest for good, natural yogurt. My first few experiences with store bought plain yogurt were not all that pleasant. Regardless of whether they were organic, full fat, thick and creamy, they were sour! I had to add a sweetener of some kind. I did learn to enjoy plain yogurt (often strained to achieve ultimate thickness and creaminess) with maple syrup and sliced almonds - definitely better than some varieties for sale in grocery stores but still not plain.

Then I finally found a store that stocked 'Greek' yogurt. It was love at first bite! So creamy and delicious and best of all not too tart. I quickly jumped on the bandwagon and began enjoying it plain, with granola, fruit and whatever else I could justify it with. The one caveat was that it was really expensive! I believe it is strained, thus producing a more solid yogurt and more for your money than other plain yogurts, but my habit was putting a huge dent in my food budget.

So I went back to my book that I remembered provided a recipe to make yogurt at home. I tried a few times, mixing in small amounts of store bought yogurt into warmed and then cooled milk only to forget it until 12-24 hours later! Frustrating, and it barely set to a thickness I would call yogurt.

When my youngest child was beginning to eat solid food, I decided plain yogurt would be a good choice to provide him with good nutrition and calories. I invested in a yogurt maker. The maker incubates the yogurts at 110F for as long as it takes to set the yogurt, about 8-10 hours for thick yogurt. That was last fall and I have been making yogurt at home about every week since then. It is less expensive to make yogurt at home and best of all, I can control what goes into it.

That said, since learning about the benefits of raw milk - not that I'm there yet- this style of yogurt made at home would damage the raw milk. However, it suits my needs and tastes and I am even more excited since I found a source for 'Greek' yogurt culture! I ordered the packet from Cultures for Health and the instructions recommend one part cream to three parts milk! No wonder Greek yogurt is so rich and delicious! Well today I am going to put the starter to the test so check back for the outcome and highlights along the way...


e-swastya said...

Nice post .. Please do let us know how you feel after few day of eating yogurt. Keep in touch ok

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