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During our European adventure, all meals, snacks and everything in between involved milk, butter, cream, cheese – oh and espresso and chocolate!  Kathy struggled to stay within her limit of five café crèmes (espresso with milk) a day.  Over indulgence was an understatement, but well worth every unadulterated fat calorie consumed!

Lolo (mon petit ami – trying to learn French) says what he misses most about Europe is the dairy, and I understand why.  While in Toulouse, he took me to a Carrefour, an international hypermarket chain, second to Walmart.  There it was in full sight – two 20 feet long aisles of sheer heaven: crèmes, puddings, and yogurts.  And this didn’t include any of the cheeses!

Upon our return from Europe, Lolo and I yearned for some European dairy – yogurt in particular.  The fresh taste from the tart and tang keeps you wanting more.  We knew yogurt experimentation was top on our list.

Why was the yogurt so different?  One, the pasteurization process in Europe vs. the U.S. differs, which results in a different product entirely in taste, consistency, texture.  And two, yogurt is just way sweet… fructose, sucrose, glucose.

On my weekly pilgrimage to one of three local farmers markets, I found organic raw unpasteurized milk.  Need I say more?  I left the stand with a quart of raw whole milk in hand as thoughts of incubation danced in my head.

As soon as I got home, I did some research on yogurt making and referenced my new yogurt book that I picked up while in Toulouse.  It looked easy enough: Heat then cool milk, followed by adding a starter.  Best part of the equation, we control what goes in and what doesn’t.

The New York Times today has an article about yogurt: what is it; its health benefits; how it’s made; how to use.

Let’s give it a shot!

Raw Milk Yogurt:
42 oz milk
1 pkg yogurt starter (5gm) or 2 Tbs live culture organic yogurt
Yogurt maker
6 7oz jars with glass lid

Instructions:
Sterilize all utensils and cooking equipment in boiling water.  Heat milk in a double boiler to *160ºF, allows for better control of heat – I tried to be healthier, milk ratio used – 75% whole and 25% skimmed.  If heating pot directly over stove, monitor closely, stir frequently, milk can easily scorch.

Once temperature of 160ºF is reached, remove from heat.  Cool milk to 110ºF, add starter and stir well.  Immediately fill glass jars with yogurt mixture.  Place in yogurt maker for 8-10 hours. Most importantly, do NOT move the yogurt maker, or else it will not set properly.  The longer the yogurt cultures, the more tart it becomes.

Remove yogurt and place immediately in refrigerator to chill and set.  Once thoroughly chilled, you have a heathy and nutritious treat anytime of the day.  Enjoy~

Fruits with Yogurt (pictured from left to right):
peaches
blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry compote
figs

Fruits are always a staple at home, I added a small bit to each individual jar to jazz up to make for a real treat.  The options are endless.

I quickly sautéed each with a bit of sugar to breakdown and soften fruit.  Added to bottom of jar before spooning in yogurt.

*Notes: Most reads on making raw milk yogurt recommends to not heat milk above 110ºF.  I was a bit wary and decided to heat the milk to 160ºF for 20s.

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