how to make butter and yogurt- Frugal Friday

I think every blogger who ever dabbles in food posts, has done a how- to- make- yogurt and/ or butter at one time or another. Just to add to the lovely collection- here’s my way.

How To Make Yogurt 

What you will need-

kettle, yogurt thermos, yogurt container, powdered milk, 2 heaped tablespoons old yogurt, water, measuring cup.

Time it takes- do it in the time it takes to boil the kettle.

Fill your kettle up and turn it on. Take 2 heaped spoonfuls of bought yogurt (like the end of the tub), add a little water to mix it, it’s now runny and set aside.

 Fill your yogurt container half full with water.

 Add one and a half cups of powdered milk. No need to shake it down and fit as much as you can, just roughly 1 1/2 cups. Mix it with a spoon and add your runny yogurt mixture. Mix again and fill the rest of the container up with water. Lid on, give it a good shake.

 Kettles boiled. Fill it up to the top of the plastic thingy inside. Place your yogurt container in with the lid on, add the thermos lid and leave it (don’t peak) for 8-12 hours. The longer you leave it the tartier it will taste. (I’ve forgotten it for 24 hours and it’s still fine.)

*******

Once, about every six weeks I refresh the batch with a packet of the ready to go yogurt mix you can buy (which is just add water and shake.) I find it keeps the cultures stronger, and more likely to keep it at a thicker Greek style yogurt consistency, (which is what we all like.)

$20 for the yogurt maker, and each litre of yogurt I make, works out to be about $1.50 a batch. I then add any of our homemade seasonal jams to sweeten the yogurt. Dead easy. You are saving a whole bundle of money, no more plastic tubs and you don’t have the usual paragraph of ingredients that’s in a lot of yogurt today.

How To Make Butter

In a mixer, pour in a carton of cream. The best you can buy, (not thickened cream). Whip it….and keep whipping…

 Keep it whipping until it starts to look like this. The liquid will start to separate, which is then able to be drained off. Add a pinch of salt (to taste) and keep squeezing out that excess moisture using a spatula against the side of the bowl. You don’t want any of that moisture in there. Once it is all drained off it can be shaped into what ever shape you need.

Next time you see one of those fancy pancy butters imported from countries far far away, you can have a little chuckle at the thought of spending that much money on butter and then go home and make it yourself. Again, dead easy.

Now where’s the bread to go with it?…

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milk and ricotta

I recently bought unhomogenised milk. It had been so long since I had last seen it, that I just stood there and marvelled at it. A layer of cream sitting on the top, the  colour, and the little molecules of fat sitting on top of my tea. It really was worthy of marvelling at…sitting quietly looking into my tea with a contented smile and a slight raise of the eyebrows.

So what does homogenised mean? In a nut shell, it means it’s all been mixed up. All the fat and the milk has been mixed together, so when you buy it, it just comes out straight and white. Why is most milk homogenised? Because it looks better…and that’s the only reason.

There is a lot to be said about really great fresh milk. There is also a lot be said about inferior milk that is sold at really cheap prices.*  Availability is our problem. I can’t always get to somewhere that sells different brand milks. It’s frustrating that the leading super market brands don’t have much variety happening in their milk section. Especially as one of our leading generic brands smells and tastes like mouse. I thought I was the only one to imagine it, but a friend backed me up. Sipping on some milk some time ago and all I could think about was long pink tails, and tiny furry bottoms…No mousey milk for me please.

Looking at my unhomogenised milk, pondering on all the milky goodness I could be making from it. Cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, scones, breads, all using some form of the milk…

Next up I wanted to try making ricotta. Following The Real Food Companion instructions I had my lovely milk (Over the Moon), sieve, white vinegar, pot and wooden spoon all ready. I didn’t have two litres of milk so I quartered the recipe. I knew it wouldn’t result in much but as a first run, I didn’t want to waste a drop of the good stuff either on any mistakes. 500mls of milk in the pot, bring it to a foam (or 90C, not yet boiling) and then add 2 teaspoons of white vinegar to create the curds. There was a little bit of curdling action, but not a lot. The whey hadn’t separated enough. Frowning in to my pot I decided to heat it up again. 1/2 a tps more?…oops my hand slipped, make it 1 tsp more. A little gentle stir and instant separation. Ahhh, that’s better. Gently scooping it out to some muslin and a sieve, I’m left with ricotta. Really, rubbery ricotta…

Checking with the local cheese bloggers Gavin and Christine, I try to work out what I did wrong. Too hot? Too much vinegar? It tasted ok, but it really was a tad rubbery. I sat on it for an hour or two and then decided that I would try it again, other wise it would bug me all day.

Second go. Left it at 2 tsp of vinegar, different milk this time and just a fraction longer on the cooking time. We are talking extra seconds cooking time, that’s all. Those extra seconds made the difference. It was softer, more delicate, and really good….and really quite easy.

(The whey that I was left with, went into some sourdoughs.)

Third time around and I’m definitely getting the hang of it. I can’t believe how easy it is to make and how I hadn’t done this before. I’m also struck by how so many really easy recipes have fallen by the way side in order for things to be convenient for people. Such simple meals that can be made with so little ingredients, if only people knew how. This is the sort of conversation topic that could be passed back and forth over and over until the cows came home, milked themselves and made their own ricotta… but for the sake of airing a little, I’ll continue.

These simple cooking lessons that could be taught to another person in an afternoon seem to be quietly slipping out the door. Things like yoghurt, ricotta, labneh, mascarpone, sour cream, butter and all their lovely by-products, are simple to make and yet they can be quite expensive to buy. Not to mention all the plastic tubs that you are buying along with the products. Some would argue that they are recyclable, and yes they are. But if you can spare an extra 5 minutes to make a kilo worth of yogurt, than you have just saved 52 plastic kilo tubs of yoghurt per year, (going on a kilo a week, even more if you are eating daily individual tubs.) Visualising how much that would be for a single person  or a family, in a life time is….sobering. No more plastic tubs and saving a fair whack of money to boot.

Maybe a reason to go give someone a dairy cooking lesson?

What’s for lunch?

Ricotta

raw almonds

chopped dates

drizzle of honey

* For more information on Australia’s cheap milk problems please read here.

** For a different way to make ricotta and using goat milk, have a look at Linda’s The Witches Kitchen.