Monday, May 4, 2009

Fermentation. Mmmm...

I've discovered the joys of homemade yogurt. It's remarkably easy to make and tastes better than the store bought stuff. I decided to try it after reading an article in the New York Times that I can no longer find, so I can't currently give you the link.

It's simple. Scald a quart of milk. Let it cool to 115-120F. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt with live cultures, pour it all into a warm bowl, cover and keep warm (115-120F). An oven with the light on is almost warm enough, I turned the flame on a couple of times for 15-20 seconds to keep it warm enough. In 4 hours or so you have yogurt, the byproduct of millions of bacteria breeding and digesting. That's it! It's smooth and creamy and soothing.

When I made yogurt yesterday I strained it to thicken it up some as I didn't let it sit for as long as I should have. But boy, it's good. And it's one of those foods that feels as though it's good for you at the same time.

I like the idea of eating cultured food. This used to be an important part of how people cooked, though not so much anymore. Good, tangy flavors - yogurt, sour dough and sour pickles for example (not to mention wine and beer) - come about from fermentation. We needn't be so afraid of our environments that we stop experimenting with foods like this. I think I'll try sour pickles next. Mmmm....

(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer