Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I find myself at loose ends.  Since I'm in the garden business, work slows to almost nothing at this time of year.  The cold weather is a drag.  I keep thinking, if I lived in a place where I expected it to be this cold for this long I would just deal with it, I would be ready for it, I would go on along with my life like nothing was strange.  But it's not supposed to be this cold here and so I take it personally.  Being stuck inside is messing with my routine, I want to be outside working on chores.  Even being a bit more comfortable inside the house would be nice.  About the only place I'm happy lately is either standing right next to the woodstove, under a blanket on the couch or in the bed.  Not a good situation for getting much accomplished.

But maybe I'll snap out of it and get moving again on something, anything.  The days will start getting longer again next week so that should help.  In the meantime, I'm doing things like making yogurt.  It's really easy and so delicious and cheaper than buying it for sure.  Of course having amazing, delicious fresh jersey milk helps the situation considerably. 

I make 2 pints at a time. First I heat four cups of skimmed milk to 185 degrees.  This is just before it boils, keep an eye on it, it will boil over quick and make a giant mess if you don't watch out!  Take it off the stove and let it cool back down to between 115 and 118.  It does help to have a thermometer.

I use pint canning jars and put a tablespoon of yogurt in each jar.  I strain the 115 degree milk into the jars, because it forms a skin after cooling. Put the tops on and place the jars into a small playmate cooler.  I fill the cooler with the hottest tap water- again - should be around 115-118 degrees which my tap water happens to be, up to just below the tops of the jars. 

I put a piece of cardboard and a towel in the top of the cooler, to help hold the heat, close the lid and wrap the whole thing in a bath towel.  About mid way through the process, 4 hours,  I remove some of the water and add more hot water back in, and wrap it all back up, just to be sure it stays at a constant warm 115-118.  In eight hours, voila - yogurt.  After that, I just put the jars in the fridge.  The jersey milk is so sweet I don't even need to add much to it, though a bit of maple syrup and vanilla are nice, or honey, or fresh fruit, or a dollop of good jam like raspberry pictured here. It's not as thick or smooth as store bought yogurt, but it's tastier. 

For starter yogurt get a good plain yogurt with live cultures, I freeze it in ice cube trays- an ice cube is just about a tablespoon, and keep it in the freezer in a plastic bag.  Just let the cubes thaw out before you use them.  You can use yogurt from your previous batch as long as it lasts, I've read it will eventually get thinner but haven't experienced that yet.  If you have a source of good milk I recommend you try making your own yogurt, good luck.

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