This is the story of how I turned 1/3 cup of yogurt into a half gallon in less than a day. And I did it all by myself!
Okay, well … I didn’t do it all by myself. A super cool new cookbook showed me the way.
When Julia asked me if I’d like to review her new cookbook, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, I was pretty stoked. I fully admit that the idea of fermenting kombucha on my kitchen counter is way, way out of my comfort zone. But that’s one reason why I was so excited to read her book – to expand my horizons.
Julia and her book are a wealth of knowledge about harnessing probiotics – aka “good” bacteria – to make all kinds of delicious, healthy drinks. She thoroughly – yet in an easy-to-understand way – shows her readers how to make naturally fermented drinks at home. Think kombucha (lemon ginger!), ginger beer, kefir (raspberry kefir soda!), even lacto-fermented lemonade (and a probiotic Arnold Palmer made with it!). And. AND! As a precursor to her section on probiotic-rich smoothies, she includes instructions on how to make homemade yogurt – both with dairy and with coconut milk. So as soon as I saw the homemade yogurt recipe, I knew I had, had to give it a whirl.
I’m not including the recipe for homemade yogurt here – you’ll need to buy Julia’s book for that (or leave a comment below for a chance to win your own copy)! It’s a pretty surprisingly easy process, though. You heat up a half gallon of milk, stir a little store-bought yogurt with live cultures into it, and let it sit in a warm, dark place for several hours so that the good stuff multiplies and then magically, you have a whole huge batch of yogurt! Yeah, Julia explains it wayyyy better. (Also, there are pretty specific temperatures and conditions that need to be met to create an environment that encourages good bacteria and discourages bad).
Seriously though, I couldn’t believe it when I opened my half-gallon mason jar, and the milk and 1/3 cup yogurt I’d added 6 hours earlier had turned into thick, rich, beautiful yogurt. It felt like magic.
I took some of that yogurt and made another recipe in Julia’s book, Vanilla Bean & Honey Yogurt, which I am sharing here today. Who doesn’t adore the the heady flavor and irresistible flecks of vanilla seeds fresh out of the bean, not to mention the complex sweetness that honey lends? Those two simple ingredients flavor the creamy, fresh homemade yogurt that is now my new breakfast obsession. Sometimes topped with sliced banana, sometimes plain suits me just fine.
[box type=”shadow”] Buy Delicious Probiotic Drinks at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or leave a comment below by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time March 1, 2014 for your chance to win your own copy! I’ll randomly select a winner from those that leave comments. UPDATE: The giveaway has closed and the winner has been chosen! Thank you for entering!
Homemade Vanilla Bean & Honey Yogurt
- 4 cups plain yogurt
- 2 vanilla beans
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
- Cut the vanilla beans in half, then slice each half open lengthwise. Scrape the tiny black seeds out of the middle of the beans and add to the yogurt. Stir well to mix.
- Drizzle in the honey (start with 1/4 cup) and mix well. Taste and add additional honey if you prefer a sweeter yogurt.
- Keeps refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.