Monday, September 28, 2009

The Dinner Guest and The Golden Moment

Many years ago a young woman came to my home for dinner. During one of the most boring dinner conversations I have ever had to endure, I was handed a recipe written on an envelope.   Little did I know that this would prove to be one of the best gifts I would ever receive.  I remember little about the young woman, and even less about the man she accompanied to my home.  But, the recipe she handed me that evening endures pasted into my recipe notebook.

Aside from the golden moment, yoghurt is not difficult to make.  It requires milk, starter, and powdered milk.  A thermometer is a necessity.  I prefer to use a glass candy thermometer, but there are other types that work just as well.  A double boiler is also required, but one can be made using two aluminum bowls.

Notes for this recipe:  Since posting this several years ago, I have switched to commercial yoghurt starters.  Why?  It has become increasingly difficult to find any commercial yoghurt with live cultures.  Powdered yoghurt starters will be found in the refrigerated cooler in the dairy aisle of grocery stores.  The cooling temperature is 115 and the yoghurt sits for up to 24 hours.


1 quart milk (2%, whole, 1% or skim can be used. The higher the fat content the richer and thicker the yoghurt.) 
½ c. powdered milk
1 packet powdered yoghurt starter (or 3 Tbsp. of starter,any plain yoghurt with active cultures)
1 sterilized quart container

Pour the milk into the top of a double boiler. Add the powdered milk and stir together to dissolve and blend the mixture. Fill the bottom part of the double boiler with water, and place it on the stove. Set the bowl with the milk on top, checking to be sure the water does not touch its bottom. Turn heat to high. Clip on a thermometer making sure it does not touch the bottom of the bowl as this will cause a false reading. The steam from the boiling water will gently heat the milk to the proper temperature. During the heating process, check the water level in the bottom section of the double boiler, adding more if necessary. Do not let the double boiler run dry.

Heat the milk until the temperature reaches 180 degrees (200 is even better), stirring often to be sure the milk heats evenly. You can hold the thermometer in the center of the milk to double check the temperature. When 180 degrees is reached, remove the top of the double boiler to the counter to begin cooling.

Cool to precisely 115 degrees — the Golden Moment. If the temperature falls below 115, you must heat again. (110 if using yoghurt as the starter.) Stir in the starter. Pour the mixture into the prepared container and cover with the lid. Move to a warm, dark place and cover with a towel. Leave undisturbed for up to 24 hours.  During this time the cultures will be working away creating the yoghurt.  When the resting time has passed, open your container, spoon some of the yoghurt into a dish, add cut up fruit or jam with granola and enjoy!

Store any unused yoghurt in the refrigerator for later use.

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