The search is over... When I was shopping in our local health food store last week, a lone box containing a yolife yogurt maker sat on the shelf. I figured it was a sign so I could cease pondering over what brand I should purchase. A Bon Jovi song began circulating in my brain triggered by the yolife name... "It's my life. It's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive." Oh, yea... my mind strays more often than I care to admit.
I started my first batch with my new yogurt machine last night by heating a quart of milk to 176°F-185°F, according to the directions in the machine's instruction manual, or 170°F according to Heidi Swanson's 101cookbooks.com blog. An option that is suggested by Heidi to create a thicker yogurt especially if using skim or 1% milk, is to add 1/3 cup powdered milk. I prefer to use whole milk without the powdered milk. The next step is to cool the milk to 104°F-113°F, or 108°F-112°F according to Heidi's instructions.
After cooling, the next step is to activate the milk by adding a starter culture powder that can be purchased in the refrigerated section at a health food store or co-op. It contains the bacteria that you find in store-bought yogurt (L.bulgaricus, S.thermophilus, L.acidophilus). Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup plain yogurt in place of the starter. Heidi recommends Stonyfield Farm yogurt because it claims to have three additional "live active cultures" (making a total of six) including L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei, and L. rhamnosus. You can save 1/2 cup of the present batch of yogurt as a starter to make the next batch, if you like, but the strength of the cultures decline after several batches then you need to go back to a starter powder or Stonyfield Farm. My yogurt maker's instruction booklet says "no more than 5 consecutive generations because the active cultures in each successive batch will diminish over time." (Note: Now that I have many batches of yogurt under my belt... literally and figuratively, I prefer using yogurt like Stonyfield for the starter. The starter powder produces a more tart flavor.) Incorporating the yogurt into the milk is easier if you mix a small amount of milk into the yogurt to break it up then add it to your pan of milk. Lastly, after putting the jars filled with the prepared milk in the machine, you place the domed lid on top and plug the machine in. It takes 4 to 8 hours for it to do its thing. It's the freshest tasing yogurt I've ever had, which makes perfect sense because it doesn't come any fresher than this!
There are many styles of yogurt makers. I like my Yolife brand because I can use the seven 6-ounce jars that come with the unit, or, by swapping out the shorter cover with a taller one, it will accommodate larger containers of varying heights like quart mason jars, recycled jars from pickles, olives, baby food, or peanut butter instead of the seven 6 oz. jars provided.
April 10, 2009
Today’s mileage: 2-mile walk
Total mileage for April: 31.25 miles
Bible reading? Yes.