Homemade Yogurt

We were talking about sugar, D and I.  That's kinda how it started.  There is sugar in everything.  Not a bad thing necessarily because sugar can definitely enhance taste even in a savoury dish.  The problem is that sugar is in EVERYTHING.  It's hidden often.  We don't see it in our various sauces, cereals, crackers.  I mean you expect it in cookies right but crackers?  I've heard it said that if you removed all the items containing sugar in some form or another that there wouldn't be much left.  A green pepper and a few eggplants maybe.
So we were talking about yogurt and how much sugar is in yogurt.  And if you get the low-fat yogurt then there's all this kinda sugary stuff that can't be pronounced.  I told D that I could make my own yogurt.  It wouldn't be sweetened but I could do it.  And D said 'Let's try it'.
Now I have to stop here for a minute.  First thing I gotta tell you is that D and the entire family has gotten used to eating with a lot less meat over the last year.  Occasionally I've gotten the question 'Is there any meat in this?' but in terms of complaint that's been it.  I've 'subjected' the entire family to way more meals that include squashes, beans and root vegetables of various kinds, again without too much fuss.  Yogurt, however, I thought was a sacred thing for D.  Yogurt that has be sweetened by the user well I thought that would be right up there with unsweetened ice cream.  So for D to say 'Let's try it'.  Yeah... within two days I had everything together and was sliding my pot into the oven to incubate.

Making yogurt is much like a grade school science experiment but it's honestly not hard.  I would tell you the truth.  I swear and pinky promise that you won't get lost in this one.  You do need to have a little bit of equipment:  A candy thermometer and maybe some cheesecloth but that's about it.  The cheesecloth is genius because you can let it thicken after it's incubated to whatever thickness you want.  Think about the possibilities - your own ricotta/yogurt cheese.  Mine came out thick like heavily whipped cream.  Beautiful.  It's inspired me to keep canning so that I can use the preserves for the yogurt.  Let me tell you, when I teamed up the yogurt with the rhubarb/blueberry/strawberry sauce that I made a while ago... it was a beautiful thing.

Homemade Yogurt adapted from More with Less
makes about 2 cups

1 quart (4 cups) milk (I used homo - I will try organic in future and raw would be awesome)
1/3 cup of plain yogurt (no added sugar, full bacteria stuff and all of that)

1.  Scald the utensils that you'll be using.  (I did this and then left them on the counter and promptly forgot to use them)
2.  Use a candy thermometer and heat the milk to 180 degrees F.  You may want to stir this fairly often as it gets a skin on the top sometimes and the bottom can stick quite easily.
3.  Cool the milk to 110 degrees F.
4.  Pour a little (1 cup) of the warm milk into the yogurt.  Mix and add into the pot of warmed milk.  Stir briskly.
5.  Warm the oven to 100 degrees F or so.  Turn off the oven.  Wrap the Pot (I used a caste iron kettle thing) in a large towel and carefully set in the oven.
6.  Turn on the oven to 100 just briefly every once in a while to keep the temperature consistent.  Check the mixture after about 3 hours.  Depending on the consistency that you like you can keep it in for a total of 8 hours.
7.  Remove and place into jars.  (I actually drained mine in some cheesecloth for a couple of hours to get it even thicker).
Save about 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup and freeze it to start your next batch of yogurt.
You can freeze all the yogurt or use it immediately.

Peach #1: Peach Ice Cream

Confront,    Tackle,    Deal With,    Face Head On,    Say It Out Loud.
These are not words or phrases that I do well with.  In fact, I don't know of anybody who 'does well' with it.  Ever heard that Jon Mayer song 'Say '?  Yeah, I know it's cheesy but it's been speaking to me lately.

When I was in University I began to realize how many of my decisions and how much of my life was predicated on fear.  The thought that I had chosen or not chosen to do things not based on what was truly inside of me but on being afraid made me crazy.  I vowed to myself to spend my life moving away from that.  It's hard.  We live in big houses with locks on our doors because we are afraid.  We walk our kids across the street and give them cell phones because we are afraid.  We're not honest with our friends because we are afraid.  Sometimes we go shopping because we are afraid.  We watch the news and get more afraid.  Sometimes we even get sick because we are afraid.  In our world (North America) fear is part of every waking moment of our day and some parts of our sleeping too.
I'm afraid of being hurt, being rejected, being alone, being dead, being broke, being dead (I know that I said that already) and maybe of hurting some more.  It's pretty basic right?  But what if those things aren't really the point anymore?  What if being afraid of all that stuff isn't relevant.  What if it isn't even real?  I know I'm going to be dead someday.  Duh... we're all going down that road.  But I truly believe and have confidence that I'll only be alone if I want to be.  There will always be people around who love me and who I love in return... if I'm not afraid to find them.  Those people will always help through a rejection.  Being broke, wow... like I haven't been there before.  Somehow, it all turns out.  Remember that.  Maybe what I need to start being afraid of is what I'll maybe regret later.  All the opportunities that I missed... because I was afraid.  Let me tell you, the opportunities that I already regret have nothing to do with money or jobs... just people.
Self-reflection is a hell of a thing and it's the one thing that homo sapiens 'can do' and probably don't do enough of.  In my own recent reflections I've decided that I choose to live out loud more, to 'say what I need to say' more (that sounds so dumb) and to love as honestly as I can.
To change course here rather quickly, you're going to see a few peach recipes coming up in the next while.  I think that peach season is awesome but it's something I haven't indulged in much beyond the 'peaches in a bowl with some sugar'.  If you want to do something different with a few peaches then PLEASE try this.  I ate quite a bit of it right out of the ice cream maker and that is not something I EVER do.  It's good.  It's almost like a fresh peach but with ice cream blobbed on top which is even better.  I'm going to can some peaches and I'm going to make some peach cakes and all that but this ice cream is really really really good. You need some too.

Peach Ice Cream adapted from epicurious

1 cup + 1tbsp sugar
2 lbs (whatever) peaches, chopped (I used about 6 peaches)
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 lg egg yolks, slightly whisked together
1 tbsp vanilla

Combine the chopped peaches and 1/4 cup + 1tbsp sugar together in a bowl.  Cover and chill for about 8 hrs.

Combine the rest of the sugar, corn starch and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat a little over medium heat.  Add in the milk and the cream.  Heat until the mixture is just about to start simmering.
Add a little of the heated milk/cream to the egg yolks and stir.  Add a little more and stir.  Then pour the whole thing back into the saucepan of milk/cream.  Heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F or until the mixture doesn't run when you do a wooden spoon test (run your finger over the back of a wooden spoon after dipping it in the cream mixture - it shouldn't run).
Pour the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl.  Add in the vanilla.  Place cling film right on top of the mixture so that it doesn't form a crust at the top.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours (I usually do it overnight).

Once every things cool and ready to go,  put the custard in an ice cream maker.  Run it until everything is pretty much ready to go.  At the end add the peach mixture.  Continue to churn for about 5 more minutes.
Transfer everything to containers and freeze until hardened.
Soften a bit before serving.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
  • Moosewood Cookbook

About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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