Never a dull moment… (yogurt recipe this week!!)

Good morning! Eric and I are going to make an effort to get posts out on Wednesdays. I know, it’s Thursday morning. Once again, grand procolmations, I’m okay with +/- 12 hours.

This week at the Saturday Iowa City Farmers’ Market, Eric will have head lettuce, mixed greens, arugula, spinach, choi, radishes, eggs, chicken and chicken feet. The Speakeasy will be up and running.

Hopeful possibilities for next week:: Strawberries!!!

This past weekend, Eric let me know that he needed to get the cooler up and ready for rewiring. Since Sunday’s tend to be a bit more relaxed around here, this seemed like a perfect family activity. Well, it wasn’t really a family activity. Eric did all the lifting and moving. Milo helped lock the cooler in place and I held up and balanced panels. Eric, Matt, Renee and Alex got the top up and secured on Monday. They also got the motor and some plumbing installed. Next, we will have the barn rewired. A cooler may seem strange to some of you, but really it’s the only way to keep produce ready for you all, without getting up at 1-2 am on a Saturday to harvest. We used to do just this.

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This week, we also wanted to share with you all how Eric makes our yogurt. When Eric and I first started dating, I kept a food journal. This was one fo the first things he taught me to make. Let me back up. I had/have very little food knowledge coming into this relationship. I found it helpful to write down the things he taught me to make and start to learn basic concepts, and keep a diary of our courtship-through food. The following recipe is right from Eric. As you will note, he lets you know that raw Jersey milk makes for the best yogurt, in our opinion. We are fortunate enough to have our own cow, so this is readily available to us. We know that is not the case for the normal person. Whole milk will also work. But before I post the recipe, do you make yogurt? How do you do it?

The best way to make yogurt…..

1. Raw materials. Start with an amount of raw, fresh, pastured Jersey milk.  This is actually not necessary for making yogurt, but it makes all the difference.  The amount of milk will be the same as the amount of yogurt you make.  We make 1-4 gallons at a time.
2. Equipment. Put milk in a non-reactive/non-corrosive pot (stainless steel or enamel coated) — all pots, utensils, thermometers, etc., need to be non-corrosive or the fermented milk product will spoil.
3. Heating. Place this pot inside a bigger pot (bigger pot doesn’t need to be non-reactive) and fill bigger pot with water up to the level of the milk in the smaller pot, creating a ‘double boiler’.
4. Measuring. Use two thermometers: one for the milk and one for the water.  Heat the double boiler until the milk is at 110 degrees F.  I find that if you heat the water to 120 and the milk to about 100, they converge at 110 after the stove is turned off.
5. Culture.  At this point you can add a freeze-dried culture, which will give you consistent results every time, or you can use an amount of yogurt.  I like to use a freeze-dried culture for a ‘first’ batch and then pull remaining yogurt from that batch for subsequent batches.  Usually I can make 4-5 batches before I need to start over again.  Use 1/16 teaspoon of freeze-dried culture for every gallon of milk, or 1 cup yogurt for every gallon of milk.  For freeze-dried, you will let the culture absorb the milk before stirring.  For the yogurt (if cold), you may have to heat the milk up a bit after adding and stirring to get back to 110.
6. Incubate. The yogurt should incubate at this temperature for at least 8 hours.  I have gone 12-16 hours for a stronger flavor and thicker consistency.  Cover milk pot with a lid and the whole double boiler with a towel or two to keep the temperature.
7. Chill and/or strain.  Once the yogurt has set up, you can simply refrigerate and you have traditional yogurt, or you can strain it through a cheese cloth for up to 12 hours to get ‘greek-style’ yogurt.  Keep straining yogurt in fridge to keep freshness.  If you strain for up to 24 hours you will have labneh or yogurt cheese.  Simply add 1% salt of the final weight.
8. Enjoy!

Have a great week, and be sure to stop by on Saturday!

~eve

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About saltforkfarms

A small organic farm in Iowa that raises Standard Breed laying hens and hybrid broiler chickens suited for a pasture-based system, as well as varieties of vegetables and fruit suitable to our Eastern Iowa climate. We grow food, we eat food, we sell food!
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