A Case for Homemade Yogurt

A quart of yogurt at Safeway costs $4.00. A gallon of milk costs $4.00. Every other week, I ferment a gallon of milk into yogurt, yielding four quarts for the price of one.

laban_making

While the economical savings was an incentive to start making my own yogurt, a larger incentive was quality. Most store yogurts contain additives for consistency, texture, flavor, and “health.” Among these additives is gelatin, which unless stated otherwise, is derived from pig parts. Even if the gelatin is labeled Kosher, it could still come from a pig “because gelatin is made from the skin and bones of animals, and not the meat” (http://www.congregationsofgod.org/gelatin). The religious politics of gelatin gets controversial.

I prefer yogurt that is nothing but yogurt, so I make my own. Here is my recipe:

  1. Heat milk until it simmers.
  2. Cool milk to body temperature. I use my kitchen sink as a water bath.
  3. Mix starter yogurt with cooled milk.
  4. Divide milk-starter concoction into quarts.
  5. Incubate quarts for 8 hours. I use a camping-size cooler, which doubles up as a living room coffee table.

Store for up to two weeks in the fridge.

I eat yogurt almost everyday for breakfast. Once in Ramadan, many years ago, after downing a cup of yogurt for the pre-dawn meal, I noticed that my empty cup had listed gelatin among the ingredients. This realization horrified me more than the time when we opened a box of pizza for a meeting with the Muslim Students Association, and found pepperoni!  In the pork pizza incident, the red circles of flesh stood out glaringly, and we knew to stop before we started. In the Ramadan yogurt incident, the transparent pork was hiding, and I devoured it unknowingly.

With homemade yogurt, there is no need to watch out for hidden pork. So I start the day with a sense of peace, at a quarter of the cost of the stuff from the store!

Advertisements