Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tools of the trade/Yogurt

In her book, More Home Cooking, published posthumously in 1993, Laurie Colwin writes:

When I was growing up, yogurt was eaten by food faddists and Europeans. Health food stores were few and far between. They smelled funny and were inhabited by people with long braids or truman shirts, wearing sandals and socks.

The sixties changed all that. While it is now fashionable to knock the counterculture, we should not forget that it was those long-haired weirdos who gave us, among many other valuable things like the antiwar movement, the natural food movement. Now there is a health food store on almost every corner, and we can have whole-grain bread, unsprayed apples, and free-running chickens. We can also buy yogurt at the supermarket.

Well, Tom and I were a couple of those "long-haired weirdos" and "our" sixties/early seventies weren't communes and drugs, but music and organic, vegetarian food. The first yogurt we fell in love with was in England in 1971. It was made by a company called Loseley Farms, and I can still taste it in memory. What a joy to find out it still exists for all you lucky people who live over there.

I'd like to introduce a guest commentator for this particular entry, because Tom is the yogurt maker of the house.

Our Yogourmet yogurt maker, which we bought from King Arthur Flour, makes great yogurt every time. There is an inner container that fits inside an outer, electrified container into which you put a small amount of water. The outer container maintains a warm water "sleeve" around the inner container at the perfect temperature for making yogurt. You make about a half gallon at a time, although I think Yogourmet measures it in liters.

First you put any kind of milk into a pot to heat. Stir constantly or it will stick and burn on. The company gives you a thermometer with the yogurt maker. Heat to 80 degrees Celsius, then cool milk in cold water in the sink until the thermometer registers in the "green zone," about 40 degrees Celsius. Pour milk into the inner container and add yogurt culture, also provided by Yogourmet. We buy Yogourmet replacement culture packets at our health food store. Drop covered inner container into outer tub. Leave plugged in for 5 or 6 hours, then put inner tub into fridge to cool. The cooling stops the thickening process. After yogurt is cold, whisk to get rid of any clumps; you want a smooth consistency.


  1. Nan - I'm so glad you posted this. I've been looking at the idea of making my own yogurt.

  2. Grace, you can't go wrong with this yogurt maker. It is good every single time, and you can eat it plain or add any fruit you like.

  3. Nan, I also make yogurt. The yogurt maker I use is giving me runny yogurt at the moment - I strain mine as I like thick yogurt (Greek style - the best yogurt I've tasted was in Greece), so I think I'll investigate the one you use. I first had yogurt in France when I was staying with my penfriend - that was in 1964! Yogurt in England was then hard to find - and it was bitter.

  4. I forgot to say - I love Loseley yogurt.


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