even hippies have their limits or why i use a yogurt maker

ImageMy love affair with yogurt started when I was just small child thanks to my mom who had served a mission in France.  I even ate soy yogurt for during my vegan years until one day I reached my limit and almost lost my soy yogurt breakfast on my desk.  (Trust me, don’t do soy, I’ve since learned better.)   Recently, I discovered Greek yogurt.  Oh, what a treat.  My love for yogurt dimmed however when it became a source of incredible frustration. 

You see, somewhere along the line, I got it into my pretty little head that if I were a really good homesteader I would make yogurt without any help from modern conveniences.  Blogland is filled with posts of people who make yogurt with nothing but a pot of boiling water and a cooler.  Fabulous I thought — nope, could never get it to work.  Just put it in your oven with the oven light on — nope, that didn’t work either.  And last but not least, use a crock pot.  My trusted friend, my crock pot.  Of course he wouldn’t fail me — uh, yeah, he did — total failure.

So I said goodbye to yogurt and moved onto kefir.  I’d bought it at the store for years.  Kind of nasty, but in a good, super healthy kind of way which made it not quite so nasty.  I did my research and found that all you needed were kefir grains.  Pour milk on them, and soon you’ll be in kefir heaven.  So I sent my $20 in cash to the kefir queen in the Midwest, got my grains, and made my kefir.  Holy cow was it terrible.  It did make some really fluffy pancakes, but you can only eat so many pancakes.  Doing kefir was like having a pet.  It was always there, on my counter, asking to be taken care of.  I couldn’t handle the pressure, and I threw my grains into the garbage disposal.  On one hand, it felt really good to flip that switch and hear the grains being ground into oblivion, but on the other hand, I felt defeated.  I headed to Costco and got my Fage Greek Yogurt.  Non-organic and fat-free to boot. 

Then one day it hit me like a ton of bricks — buy a yogurt maker.  Oh no, I thought, I’m a hippie, I can’t do that.  And then I remembered.  My mom had a yogurt maker and wore long dresses and made her own granola.  Maybe you can be a hippie and use a yogurt maker.  I shopped around and then bit the bullet.  I bought a yogurt maker and haven’t looked back.

I went with the Euro Cuisine.  A few people had problems with theirs heating the milk up too much.  I however haven’t had that problem.  Works like a charm.  A couple of times my yogurt has been a tad grainy, but it was my fault.  I over heated the milk. 

It’s super simple to use.  I heat my milk to about 170 degrees.  Take in off the heat and let it cool to about 110 degrees (you can go a little lower, but don’t go higher).  Add your starter — I either use yogurt from my last batch or I also bought a big thing of Fage and froze starter size portions.  Make sure your starter is at room temperature so it doesn’t cool down the milk too much.  Pour it in the little jars and nine hours later, yummy yogurt.

I like it so much that a couple of weeks ago I bought some spare jars so that we would always have fresh full fat organic yogurt on hand.  In fact, I just make go and have one right now.

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