Saturday, April 28, 2012

#2,3,4/773 : Basic Ingredients : Yogurt, Whey, Creme Fraiche, Water Kefir (p 84 - 87)

Many of the recipes in the cookbook use basics that you have to make, not found in a store.  So I thought I'd better get up a good supply of some of those to use in other recipes.

Yogurt (p85)

Fresh Yogurt w/ Blueberries
So, OK, you can find this in a store.  I have been eating a lot of Greek yogurt, (Fage 0% - Costco).  My favorite breakfast is frozen strawberries, frozen cherries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of Pumpkin Flax Granola Cereal (also Costco).  It fits into my weight watchers program well.. Anyhow.  Not completely sure why people would make yogurt, especially since I cannot buy raw milk.  The Fage product is good quality and has no fillers.  I don't think I can make it cheaper either, so I probably will not continue to make that, except if I need some Whey.

But anyhow, It is 1 quart of organic whole milk, heated to 180 degrees, (do not boil) cooled to 110 degrees, then stir in some yogurt as a starter and put in a warm place for 6-12-24 hours (I'm sure you shouldn't leave it too long, but I the time I perhaps should have checked it fell at inconvenient times, and so I'm sure I left it longer than I should, but it still turned out fine). 

Nourishing Traditions say 1/2 cup of starter.  Wild Fermentation says 1 Tablespoon.  In that book he says if you put too much it will be sour and runny... I found that was true.  The flavor was nowhere near as good with more starter.

I don't have any sort of incubator so I took an insulated zipper "ice chest" that we have, put our heating pad in the bottom of it, and with the warmed mixture in a glass container I packed towels around it.  It worked great, except that the heating pad we have turns off after about 10 minutes.. SO I had to turn it back on every time I walked by.  Nice how our government take care of us, eh?  I hope I can find and buy a heating pad without this "safety feature".

Whey (p 87)

Immediately when the Yogurt was done I put it in a strainer (some "yogurt cheese maker" that I have used for years, but any strainer with small holes will do).  This strains off the whey, which in the past I have thrown away (or a whey), but turns out has wonderful nutritional value.  So I started collecting that in another container.  What is left behind is sweet creamy Greek yogurt.  Was very good, put as I said may not do it all the time.

Creme Fraiche (p 84)

Creme Fraiche is a product used a lot in Europe in cream sauces etc.  It is about half way between a heavy cream and a sour cream.  It is not as sour as sour cream and therefore could be put on fresh fruit and is delicious, without the added sugar we put in our whipped cream.  This is made that same way as yogurt, using whipping cream and existing cream fraiche as a starter.  This was the hardest part, finding the starter, but I did find it in the health-food store, and incredibly easy to make and quite delicious.  This would be worth it to make, since it is so hard to find in the store.

I wanted to make Piima Cream and Milk Kefir too, but will have to order Piima cream starter online, and haven't done that.  Regarding the Milk Kefir, also I'd have to order online.  I am more interested in Water Kefir, as it could be another option to drink, since we don't drink soda or anything like that.. And it is nutritious to get the fermented water in our diet.  So I did buy Water Kefir grains and have been making that. 

Water Kefir (not in NT)

1 quart of water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of hydrated grains

The grains eat up the sugar and multiply.  The water ferments with good bacterias (pro-biotic).  You can drink it straight, or mix with fruit juice.  The last batch I grated a little ginger into and let it sit for the night.. It was plenty powerful!  and reasonably good.  Think that might be a way to keep it going in the future.  Anyway my Kefir grains are growing so fast I am giving them away!  And have Kefir Water coming out my ears.  Not sure what to do about that.  Not sure how to slow them down.


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