Sunday, August 5, 2012

Good bacteria, healthy gut

How could you NOT read this blog post with a catchy title like that? Yesterday I bought an extra half gallon of milk with the intention of making yogurt. I have been paying almost $5 for a quart of organic yogurt. I could make my own for half that price. 

When I had organic dairy goats I made yogurt at least once or twice a week. My kids love smoothies so this was one of the best ways to use the abundance of raw milk that we got. Because it was raw milk I did a quick pasteurization, allowed it to cool to 85-100 degrees and then stirred in yogurt from my last batch. 

But today I am starting with milk that had already been pasteurized so I just put it in my favorite, thick ceramic bowl, whisked in some of the Seven Stars Farm organic yogurt I had (1-2 tablespoons) and put it on my 1970's slow cooker base. I discovered that the low setting on this old base keeps the culture mixture at about 110 degrees. Perfect!

If I am making coffee or cooking I sometimes must make adjustments to this setup so it doesn't get too warm. I set the slow cooker base on low, inserted my candy thermometer, covered with waxed paper and a kitchen towel. A couple of hours later I checked the temp. All good. 

Later in the day I had started my food dehydrator which definitely warmed up the kitchen quite a bit. When I checked my yogurt the temperature was a little too high so I just pulled the towel back to the side and let the yogurt continue to culture. 

I like my yogurt with more flavor so I allowed it to culture overnight. If you don't really like a strong yogurt flavor, just culture it until it sets then jar up and refrigerate. 

 Using my canning funnel I filled two quart-sized glass canning jars and had 2 very full quarts of organic yogurt that was mild, so smooth, and very healthy. 

My favorite way to eat yogurt is with either raw honey or raw agave, a little bit of my homemade vanilla extract and some organic blueberries from my freezer. Just a little bit of heaven. 

Now I can make some frozen yogurt, too, with yummy berries, a little organic sugar or honey, and vanilla.

Oh, and what is this about a healthy gut? Scientists are beginning to think that the bacteria in the gut are very much tied to the immune system in a person's body. Since I struggle with chronic Lyme disease I want to make sure I get some good bacteria each day. I am hoping I can heal my body with this food and others.

Give it a try! You won't believe how easy it is to make your own yogurt.

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