Sometimes, I feel really out of place in the world.
While others are downloading apps for their iphones, jetting around the world for long-weekend vacations, and tweeting up a storm, I seem to be purposefully grounded in a different era. An era of writing letters by hand, of square-dancing on Saturday nights, of afternoon tea and quilting.
When I think of where these values and eccentricities come from, the first thing that jumps into my mind is my mom.
There are a bagillion things I could say about how amazing she is. How every Christmas, she writes close to 200 Christmas cards by hand, building community and staying lovingly in touch with people she hasn’t seen in 30 years. How she was at every flute performance I gave for 15 years, breathing in sync with me while sitting in the audience, sharing every pang of anxiety, every long-phrase, every after-performance thrill. How she’s always answered my ridiculous requests to learn to smock, knit, bake, sew, embroider, darn, quilt (the list goes on) with patience and love.
She is truly the most incredible woman that I know. And I am grateful that she raised me to value these trades & skills rather than forget them.
Last spring, about 4 months after I moved to Toronto, she came to visit. As we sat, sipping tea in my living room, she unzipped her suitcase and began pulling things out for me – photos of friends I hadn’t seen for some time that she’d printed off for me, a copy of a letter that I wrote when I was 8 that she found and thought I might get a kick out of. And then, an autoharp. An ice cream maker (that my sister eventually took). And finally … a yogurt maker!
All of the things she produced that day have brought me endless joy (I still laugh when I think about that letter, telling the
government that I would busk on the street to make money to solve the budget problem). But the yogurt maker takes top prize for the most well-used. And brings me to today’s post…
How to Make Yogurt!
A note before we get started. Yogurt makers are great – I love mine to bits. But they aren’t necessary. Yogurt makers keep the culture at a set temperature (slightly warmer than room temperature) in an air-tight container. This is handy, for sure, but you can also just monitor the temperature yourself and use another air-tight container.
- 1 litre whole milk
- Yogurt Starter (see below for details)
- A pot
- A candy thermometer
- A yogurt maker, if you’re using one
- Pour 1 litre of milk into a pot and stick it on the stove. Bring it to ~85C (you want to do this over low-med heat so that it doesn’t burn or catch on the bottom) or to the boiling point.
- Let the milk cool to ~42-44C.
- When the milk has cooled, take about 1/2 cup and stir in your culture until it’s well mixed/dissolved.
- A note about culture! I used a 5g package of the culture shown here. This makes great yogurt. You can, however, also use the end of your last batch of yogurt (or yogurt you’ve bought from the store). About 2 Tbsp should be enough.
- Add your 1/2 c. of milk with the culture back into the pot and stir well.
- Transfer into your containers. You want to create a little incubator for your yogurt(s) so that the bacteria can grow and flourish. If you’re using a yogurt maker, as mentioned above, it will do this for you. Each make is different, but you usually keep them plugged in for about 5-6 hours. If you’re not using a yogurt maker, you want to make sure your culture stays at about 38C. You can do this by placing your jars of yogurt (make sure they’re tightly closed) in a bath of warm water. Keep an eye on it to make sure it stays warm.
- After your yogurts have sat for 5-6 hours, stick ’em in the fridge overnight to cool and set.
- Voila! You have yogurt! Eat and enjoy!