Complete directions are on the label. Remember. Always refrigerate, do not freeze yogurt starter culture or put it in direct sunlight.
Ingredients and Equipment
5 level teaspoons (10 gm) Natren Yogurt Starter
2 quarts (2 liters) fresh whole milk
Clean, large heat-proof bowl (i.e. Pyrex or glazed ceramic)
Large pot or doubleboiler for Step # 1
Yogurt maker or heat proof bowl for Step # 3
1: Pre-culture Treatment
Heat milk to 180°F (82°C) in double boiler or water bath. (A water bath is simply a heat-proof bowl, pitcher or jar placed directly in a large pan of water.) The pan can be left on the stove and maintained at a temperature of 180°F (82°C) for 20 to 40 minutes to complete the pre-culture treatment. Cool milk quickly to the incubation temperature of 110°F-112°F or 42°C-44°C. A pan with ice cubes may be used to cool the milk; this will take about 10 minutes. Do not put anything directly into the milk.
Place 5 tsp. of starter culture (10 gm) in a clean bowl and pour 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of cooled milk over the starter to form a smooth paste. Continue to pour the milk into the paste a small amount at a time, stirring slowly until all pretreated milk is thoroughly blended with the yogurt culture. Good results depend on proper temperature control and the slow blending of culture starter and milk.
DO NOT ALLOW MILK OR FINAL MIXTURE TO COOL BELOW 110°F-112°F (42°C- 44°C).
Retain temperature at 110°F-112°F (42°C- 44°C) in yogurt maker or water bath. For a water bath, place a heat proof bowl, pitcher or jar directly into a large pan of water that is at the incubation temperature. This will take about 4-5 hours. Do not move, shake or disturb yogurt while it is incubating. Yogurt is ready when it has a custard-like appearance or separates from edge of the container. Longer incubation time may be needed, so check yogurt mixture every 15 minutes.
4: Refrigeration and Storage
Again, do not disturb yogurt after incubation as it will liquefy. Refrigerate undisturbed for several hours (until thoroughly chilled) before eating. Finished homemade yogurt may be refrigerated for at least 10 days.
*The pan of water can be left on the stove to maintain this incubation temperature, or use any heat source which maintains the temperature at 110°F-112°F, or 42°C-44°C. (i.e. oven, stove pilot light, warming hot tray, etc.). Cold utensils will adversely affect the results. Keeping utensils at room temperature is recommended.
Without a doubt, there is no better soft cheese on the market than that which you can make at home using your own yogurt made with Natren's Yogurt Starter. To make yogurt cheese, simply line a colander or strainer of your choice (a stainless steel steamer set into a deep glass bowl works well) with a good quality cotton cheesecloth. Rinse the cheesecloth in hot water first, and wring dry. Make sure the cheesecloth is large enough to not only line the strainer, but that it also has a good 8 to 10 inch overlap.
Pour the yogurt into the lined strainer and draw the overlap over, twisting it into a loose knot on top of the yogurt. Whey, the liquid part of the yogurt, will immediately start to drain down through the strainer into the bowl leaving the cheese and the milk solids in the lined strainer. Empty the whey from the bowl as it fills up to ensure that the cheese is not sitting in its own whey. To hasten the draining procedure, may pick up the cheesecloth bag and gently wring it, or put some weight on top. When the cheese a consistency that pleases you (the longer it drains, the dryer it becomes), transfer it to a container and cover and refrigerate it until ready to use.
*You can then store the whey in a jar in the fridge and use it to lacto-ferment your porridge oats or quinoa (add 1 tbsp. whey to your soaking water and leave at room temperature for 12 hours). Or you can use it to make lacto-fermented mayonnaise, which will then keep for 3 months. See Jini Patel Thompson's blog for recipe.
3 large red pimento peppers, roasted*
1 cup yogurt cheese
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh shallots
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
7 drops of Tabasco Sauce
With the blade of a food processor running, drop the shallots, parsley and pimentos into the bowl and process until well chopped. Add the salt, sugar and lemon juice and process further. Add the yogurt cheese and Tabasco and blend until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer the cheese to a bowl and chill, covered, in a refrigerator for several hours, preferably over night, before serving. Serve the cheese as a spread or dip with any of the following: blue corn bread, crackers or chips.
*TO ROAST PIMENTOS:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash, dry, cut into halves and seed pimentos. Put cut-side down on a broiler pan and place under a preheated broiler about 6 inches from the heat. Watch carefully and turn them every five minutes, if necessary, to allow even baking. Broil until they are evenly blistered, 15-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle but still hot. Starting at the blossom end, peel the pimentos and discard the skins.
FROZEN STRAWBERRY YOGURT
4 cups plain yogurt
2 cups (heaping) fresh strawberries
½ to ¾ cup honey
Blend strawberries and honey until smooth. Fold in yogurt and mix until well blended. Pour into a mold, cover tightly and freeze until firm or freeze in an ice cream maker. The churning action of the ice cream maker will give it a much smoother and creamier texture. Serve topped with fresh strawberries, if desired.
VELVETY LIME SAUCE
1 cup soft yogurt cheese
Juice and finely grated zest of one large lime
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard. Blend all ingredients together until velvety smooth, adding more lime juice or cream cheese if needed to obtain the right consistency. Pour into a clean glass jar; cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours (preferably overnight) for the flavors to develop.
This zesty sauce truly brings life to foods. Serve as a dip for raw vegetables, dollop it on salads or use it as an accompaniment for cold chicken, turkey or fish.
YOGURT CREAM-CAVIAR ENDIVE
24 Belgian endive leaves
¾ cup yogurt cream
1oz. Caviar, chilled
Wash and thoroughly pat dry endive leaves. Place a dollop of yogurt cream at the base of each endive leaf. Top with about ½ teaspoon caviar. Arrange prettily on a plate and serve.
Served alone or with a crisp varietal champagne like Korbel Blanc de Blancs, this make a most elegant, yet simple and easy to prepare, appetizer.
1 cup yogurt cheese
5-6 tablespoons cold-pressed safflower or flaxseed oil*
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth and creamy. Pour into a clean jar with a tight lid. Refrigerate and use as needed.
*Flaxseed oil is best if available, because it is the richest source of the Omega-3 essential fatty acids that play such a vital role in maintaining good health.