Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vanilla yogurt

I just realized that I've never posted any photos on this blog. I do take pictures of my food, but close-ups are generally not that great, and food from a distance looks a little pathetic. Anyway, here is a fairly decent shot of my most recent batch of yogurt, this one flavored with a fresh vanilla bean (thank you, Kevin!), and a tiny bit of white sugar. I thought about using honey, which seems more fitting for homemade yogurt (I am a little bit granola myself), but then I figured the white sugar would sweeten without adding other flavors, and I did want to be able to judge how the vanilla turned out on its own merits.

My directions for yogurt are here. In this case, I only used half a litre of milk, therefore about 1/4 cup milk powder. For flavoring, I used half a vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped out; I added the seeds and pods to the milk while it was heating, left them in while cooling, and only strained out the pods at the end. I added about 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar to the hot milk, put 1 tablespoon prepared yogurt in a clean jar, added the 110º milk to it, stirred thoroughly, and set in my waiting incubator. I think my old directions don't convey how extremely easy this is, nor how forgiving a process: twice lately I have forgotten that my milk is cooling, come back to find it at 95º or so, re-heated it to 110º, and finished up the job. It comes out just fine, as long as the temperature is right when you add the starter, and you keep the whole thing warm for a few hours.

I have to admit, the kids were not really crazy about vanilla specks floating on the surface. Nora thought is was pepper and insisted on plain yogurt in her bowl. Cole's not a huge fan of the plain, but I'm sure once the top layer of the vanilla, where the specks reside, is gone, he would be won over by the sweeter version. I thought is was wonderful with some fresh mango sliced over the top.