Friday's Food For Thought...

As I write this, the sun has finally emerged after a week of gloomy skies.

Cold winds are blowing, however, so a fire is in the fireplace,
and I am making a batch of homemade yogurt... the subject of today's Food for Thought.

Yogurt - Germ Warfare

Yogurt, which is nothing more than fermented milk, is a great way to 
introduce healthy bacteria into your digestive system.
Interestingly, our microbiome, or the inner world of our digestive bacteria,
is the newest frontier in medicine.
Studies show that the bacteria in our gut are responsible for so much more than
 just digestion.
Promoting healthy gut bacteria 
may end up being a step towards improving our overall health.

Personally, I love yogurt - and my yogurt consumption has been a journey.
When yogurt was first introduced into grocery stores,
I bought the "fruit on the bottom" type of yogurt... low-fat, of course.

My personal food health journey has made me change they way I 
look at yogurt, however.

I no longer buy low-fat anything, as I have learned that most low-fat
items end up being higher in sugar... both in natural and added sugars.
Dairy fat was demonized in the 1990's,
and yogurt manufacturers pumped their low-fat products full of sugar
to make up for the lack of taste.
No longer demonized, whole milk seems to be a better alternative...
with the ability to better satisfy hunger, while at the same time,
having a lower sugar content.
Recent studies suggest that the fat in dairy products is not the health risk
it was once thought to be.

As as result, I buy whole milk and whole milk dairy products -
always organic and "local" and "pasture-raised" where I can.
As for yogurt, I no longer buy it in the store.
After all, what do you do with the plastic containers?

Also, check out the labels... there are often unnecessary ingredients
(ones that I choose not to have in my yogurt.)

In essence, milk and bacteria are the only two things needed to make yogurt.

If you choose to buy yogurt instead of make your own,
make sure the label says there are "live active cultures" within.

Some yogurts are heat treated after fermentation which is a process
that kills the beneficial bacteria.
Thus, it tastes like yogurt, but doesn't have the benefits that the bacteria give you.

Truly, making your own yogurt is easy, less expensive, delicious, and
the biggest benefit, besides your healthy gut...
is the fact that there is no plastic to throw away!!!!

How does one make yogurt?

The best way to make your own yogurt is to bring your milk to a simmer,
and then allow it to cool down until it is just warm...
 enough that you can still comfortably put your finger into it.
At this point you can whisk your yogurt starter into the milk.

I use this yogurt starter.*

Mix thoroughly and keep the mixture warm (110 to 115 degrees) until it thickens.

I use this yogurt maker  for maintaining a constant warm temperature,
 and have for many years.
I like the convenience of having single serving containers
which have screw-on lids that are placed on when the yogurt is finished.

You don't need a yogurt maker, however to make your own yogurt.
You simply need some means to keep the milk/culture mixture
warm for several hours until fermentation occurs and the mixture thickens.
A dutch oven helps to hold heat, if you are not using a yogurt maker.
Some folks use a heating pad for this, others preheat their oven and let it cool down a bit,
then place the dutch oven in and keep the light on in the oven to keep it warm.

*Note:  you can use plain, store-bought yogurt with live, active cultures
instead of freeze dried cultures.
½ cup of yogurt added to 8 cups of milk will make yogurt.
You cannot keep using yogurt from the previous batch over and over, however,
as it will weaken the bacteria.

If you are considering making your own yogurt at home,
this is a good article explaining the process.

As with everything, I think that moderation is always the key.
Too much of a good thing is still too much.
So, I am not one of those people who espouse eating everything fermented.
But yogurt?
It's my daily source of calcium and a great pick-me-up when I am feeling hungry.
I typically eat mine with a small spoon of homemade jam mixed in,
or fresh fruit,
or even a little granola on top.
I have cooked with it... using it to cut back on the mayo or sour cream in some

Greek yogurt is made by straining the yogurt to remove the whey.
I have found, however, that my homemade yogurt is thick enough for my taste.


We are celebrating our family's early March birthdays this weekend,
and also having a bon-voyage party for Amanda,
before she takes next week to meet her hubby, Tim, in Colorado.
It will be great to spend some fun time with my kids and my grands.
We'll be back on Monday with more Tales From The Farm.
Have a great weekend!


daisy g said…
I've been thinking about making yogurt again. I used to make it using a cooler, placing warm milk jugs in it to keep the temp. It worked great!
I wonder if this would work with goat's milk? Dairy does not always seem to be my friend, and I'm thinking the goat's milk might be better for me.

Thank you as always, for helpful information.

Enjoy your family time. Blessings to Amanda and Tim on their new journey.
littlemancat said…
Thanks so much for this - I have been thinking of making my own. I found a new (for me, anyway) brand called Two Good which has only 2 grams of sugar and does have active culture L Bulgaricus and S.Thermophlus. It's very tasty and has pretty benign ingredients, at least comparative to other store yogurts. But I may venture into making my own thanks to your inspiring post. :-)
Karla said…
So happy to see you post about this! I always have a jar of kefir fermenting on the's so easy to do. Basically I'm making my own buttermilk and it's loaded with good bacteria. I use organic whole milk and it makes the best kefir. Would really like to try making kombucha but it's a little bit more involved than the kefir. Thanks for the food for thought!
This N That said…
Food for thought indeed. Very informative. Enjoy your weekend.
Lynne said…
I agree with Missy above, Food for thought.
Excellent explanation, loving this recent focus of yours.
Thinking no PLASTIC . . . is becoming a daily impression.