On December 27, Shawn and I celebrated our one year anniversary.
Flowers from Shawn, along with breakfast in bed. I'm spoiled rotten.
We enjoyed a lovely dinner at a nice steakhouse downtown, talked about the highs and lows of our first year, and finished the evening with dessert. As soon as we got home, I began feeling a little nauseous, so I got ready for bed and tried to go to sleep, hoping the feeling would wear off. It didn't. To make a long, gruesome story short, I had gotten food poisoning from our anniversary dinner and spent the entire night very sick, losing 6 pounds in the process, and finally falling asleep at 5am the next morning. Not exactly my idea of a happy anniversary.
Celebrating one year, having no idea what the night ahead had in store for us. :)
The next day, a friend from church who had heard I was sick asked if she could stop by with Bio K, which had helped her husband recover from food poisoning. It's a probiotic, and it tasted like a tangy yogurt drink. From what I understand, it works by replacing bad bacteria in your stomach and intestines with 50 billion good bacteria. I took it with high hopes, and within a few hours, began craving food again. I still felt weak for a day or so, but not nauseous or sick to my stomach one bit. A couple days later, I even stomached Chipotle with no problem!
So here's the point of the story (I know you're ready for it). All of this led me to research the benefits of probiotics and made me want to make my own yogurt. I've cut back on dairy by about 90% in recent months, which has helped my stomach quite a bit, but fermented dairy can be beneficial even for those who deal with dairy intolerance. Additionally, yogurt provides protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Yogurt with live, active cultures may aid digestion and boost immunity. For those with lactose intolerance, yogurt's fermentation process converts some of the lactose to lactic acid so it's much more tolerable.
So without further ado, let's make some yogurt.
All you need is a half gallon of milk and a half cup of yogurt to act as a starter.
While I wanted completely raw milk, I would've had to go to a dairy farm to find it. Hardly any groceries carry it because it spoils so quickly. I settled for organic whole milk.
1. Turn your crock pot on low and pour in the half-gallon of milk of your choice.
2. Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
3. Unplug your crock pot and let it sit with the lid on for 3 hours.
4. After 3 hours, remove 2 cups of warm milk and place in a separate bowl. Mix 1/2 cup of yogurt with the warm milk.
5. Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the crock pot and whisk well.
6. Place the lid back on the crock pot and wrap the entire crock pot in a bath towel. (I didn't take a picture of this step... it felt odd.)
7. Let it culture or ferment overnight, 8 to 12 hours.
8. For the best texture, let the yogurt cool in the refrigerator for 8 hours.
What I was left with was a pure, tangy whole milk yogurt. And a LOT of it! For some reason, I thought it would evaporate down, but in reality, I ended up with 64 ounces or 4 pounds of yogurt. It's a little thinner in texture than I'm used to, but still has all the flavor I had hoped for. I mix it with a little agave nectar or honey and a few drops of vanilla and it is delicious!
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
*Original instructions found on nourishingdays.com.