A few years ago I wrote about making my own yogurt. Seeing as we are half way through the first month of the new year, I feel like I need to revisit that topic today.
So many people have good intentions and want to embrace the "New Year New You" philosophy, and i'm all for helping people with that. However, the other day a coworker brought in a yogurt that was studded with Oreo cookie bits. And I have to say, are you kidding me? This is how companies are getting people to buy their product? What gets me is that there are so many inferior quality yogurts out there, and then the manufacturers have to do something dumb like toss in some Oreo cookies to make people think that, Gee if I’m going to be forced to eat yogurt, it might as well have something I like in there; but because it’s mixed with yogurt I feel better about eating it with Oreo/cheesecake bits/chocolate chip cookie. This is wrong on so many levels.
We’ve all seen the ads on TV for yogurt, claiming it’s healthy and good for you and can keep you regular. It’s all true (see probiotics). But one ought to be careful with choosing which yogurt is right for you. Store bought yogurt falls into that category of you get what you pay for. The stuff that is best quality and better for you tends to be slightly more expensive (e.g. Stoneyfield Farms) but they’re really not that much more than a Yoplait, which in my opinion is one of the worst brands out there. Look for products which have live active cultures (should say so on the label). It pays to spend the extra few cents and get a decent product. Or, you could make your own.
The flavor of plain yogurt does take some getting used to if you’ve never had it before. It has a pleasant tanginess that I like. You can add sugar to it if you want (that’s how I used to eat it as a kid when all you could find in the stores in France were plain yogurt , yaourt nature), or add it to granola or some chopped up banana for a really good breakfast or afternoon snack.
The yogurt maker I have is this Donvier one and since I’m the only one in the house who eats yogurt regularly, this works for me. The best thing about making your own is the quality control. For eight portions, I use 4 cups of 2% organic milk and a ¼ cup of nonfat dry milk powder. For the starter, you can use a commercial brand like Yogourmet (can be found in natural food stores or Whole Foods), a yogurt from your previous batch, or a couple of spoonfuls of good quality store bought yogurt. Occasionally i might add a dollop of vanilla extract or a drizzle of honey to the milk prior to heating. However, lately I’ve been making a variety of savory yogurt based sauces, so I’m keeping my current yogurt batches plain in case I need to snag one for tsatsiki or a nice cooling sauce for a really spicy curry.
So all this to say, please be smart about what you're ingesting. do a little homework and make the effort. after all, you want to start this new year off right, don't you?