Friday, April 13, 2012

My Blog... in confusion.  Actually, I'm the confused one.  I'm still trying to learn my computer and some of the programs on it, so my header and backgrounds aren't really working together.  One of these days, hopefully!
Coffee and chocolate will probably help.
Thanks so much for the comments and suggestions on the look of my blog!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Step-By-Step Yogurt Making

I have been making yogurt for several months now and am pleased with the results and happy to be able to enjoy yogurt for the price of milk (roughly 1/4 the price of yogurt).
Step 1:  Tools and ingredients ready.  I'm making 3 quarts, so I have three wide-mouth quart jars and lids and a 6oz.  plain yogurt ready to go.  My stock pot has the milk measured out and the spoon/spatula, and thermometer are ready.  Turn the pot on to Medium heat.
Step 2:  Sterilize the jars and lids.  I lay the lids in the sink and pour some boiling water over them and fill the jars with boiling water, while the milk is coming to temperature.
Step 3:  Milk to 180 degrees.  Stay focused--otherwise you will have boiling milk before you know it!  I've twice made huge batched of rice pudding with milk that was intended for yogurt!  Pull the pot off the heat as soon as it reaches 180.
Step 4:  Cool the milk.  At this point I put my pot in a sink of cold water to cool it down to 110 degrees.  The cold water isn't essential, but it speeds up the process.
Step 5:  Divide out the starter.  While cooling the milk, dump out the hot water in the quart jars (use pot holders!) and place about a quarter cup of yogurt starter (your own from a previous batch or store bought) in the bottom of each jar.
Step 6:  Add milk to jars.  Once the milk cools to about 110 degrees pour it into the prepared jars.  If it cools a little too much I put it back on the stove and bring the temp back up.
Step 7:  Gently "introduce" the yogurt starter to the milk by swirling a few times with the spoon.
Step 8a:  Have your husband clean out the stock pot ;-)  I actually usually just reuse the pot dirty for the next step!
Step 8b:  Cap the jars and incubate.  I stand my jars back in the same pot, set in the sink, and fill it full of hot tap water, to the bottom of the lids.  Our tap water is quite hot and is around 110 degrees in the pot.
Step 9:  Cover the pot to help keep it warm, and replace the water, if it starts feeling cool.  Leave approximately 12 hours (I start it before bed, usually, and leave it overnight.) 
You can open a jar and smell it to check if it's ready to refrigerate.  It should have a slightly tangy smell, like plain yogurt.  I always make mine with whole milk and it always comes out thick enough for our preference, but it can be strained in a mesh strainer lined with a thin cloth for thicker yogurt.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Experiences

My 'country boy' is teaching his 'city girl' about doing morning chores this weekend!  Like feeding chickens and collecting eggs and feeding, watering and cleaning up after ten horses!  Plus two dogs, several cats, and a bird.  I collected 54 eggs just yesterday!  His parents are away for a few days and we are just a couple miles from their place so it's pretty convenient for helping out with the animals.

Just a few hungry chickens (there are probably 80-100 altogether!)

Truffles and Whiskey, looking cute.
The horses enjoying breakfast.
My husband :-)