Sunday, October 5, 2008
The fringe benefits of yogurt
You all know that I am originally from Bulgaria.
Well, the one thing you probably don't know or haven't payed attention to is that one of the bacterias used for making yogurt is named Lactobacillus Bulgaricus.
First identified in 1905 by the Bulgarian doctor Stamen Grigorov, it is named after Bulgaria. This bacterium is also regarded as aciduric or acidophilic, due to the fact that it requires a relatively low pH (around 5.4-4.6) in order to grow effectively.The bacterium feeds on milk and produces lactic acid which also helps to preserve the milk. It breaks down lactose and is often helpful to sufferers of lactose intolerance, whose digestive systems lack the enzymes to break down lactose to simpler sugars. While fermenting milk, Lactobacillus bulgaricus produces acetaldehyde, which perfumes yogurt.
Not until I came to the US I started making my own yogurt. I was intimidated by the legends how difficult it is to make nutritious ( and delicious) yogurt at home.
Would you get the right temperature, would you have the right milk, the right starter...it all seemed too much and too time consuming.
Well, believe me, this is indeed an urban legend!
First I started looking for a yogurt maker but this wasn't easy task to accomplish since we consume 8 to 10 gallons a month and the yogurt makers they sell can contain no more than 1.5 quarts at a time, which meant I have to make EVERY SINGLE DAY yogurt in order to have it on the table. Thanks, but no thanks I said, if it's going to be like that I'll better buy it! But then, thanks to a friend of mine I found the right yogurt maker for our needs! It has a bigger lid which makes it easy to fit 1 gallon jar , similar to this one ( I bought it from Walmart for $8) and can make 1 gallon of milk at a time!
What a treat!!!
So I started making yogurt all right, but it didn't turn out as I expected, it wasn't the right consistency.
And I started looking for the reason.
After a lot of reading and deliberation and not without the help of this wonderful lady's blog
( check out the recipe, she has a lot of amazing stuff on making cheese etc.) I found out that nothing was wrong with the way I was making the yogurt, but rather the milk I am using.
It turns out that companies that are selling milk are diluting it with water( or something), so no matter how you make your yogurt...if the milk is not good, there is no way in hell you are going to have a nice thick yogurt at the end!
My grandmother used to say, that whenever you make yogurt you have to check if it turned out OK by turning over the open jar- if the yogurt is so thick it doesn't fall, you've made it right!
I've tried no less than 12 different kinds of yogurt until I found the right one, produced by a local farm. So now, my yogurt is exactly that way-thick and rich, with the specific sour flavour that we adore!
If you haven't ever considered making yogurt, you don't know what you are missing! The one in the store is nothing compared to the one made at home and I mean it!
If nothing else, it is a lot cheaper when you prepare it yourself! The one at the store I buy for $2.75 per quart, and when I make it costs me around 1.25-1.50 per quart. This is no less than $50 per month cheaper, it is healthier and the taste is incomparably better( check the picture of my yogurt!)!
How to resist it? :-)
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