Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Posts tagged ‘whey’

How I make Yogurt

I am currently on a big yogurt kick, primarily fueled by having bought an Instantpot®. Yes, I’ve joined that cult. No, I don’t cook everything in it, but when it comes to beans or yogurt, I’m a believer.

My daughter bought me a lovely yogurt maker that I used for years, but it used 7 little jars, which I always ended up combining. I often wished there was a way to make a BIG batch of yogurt at one time, but keeping the temperature correct, which is the key, seemed too iffy. The yogurt making feature of the Instantpot was half the reason I bought it, with it’s 8 quart capacity. IF you say to me, “why make it when you can buy it”, I reply, it is cheaper, and I get a great deal of satisfaction, and I get the whey. More about that later.IMG-4965

So what I do is heat the milk first in the microwave, using a very large bowl. I am not certain about the reason for this, my understanding is that it eliminates foreign bacteria that could spoil it, or possibly it changes the nature of the protein, making the yogurt thicker. In any case, I do it and it has always worked. I have never worried too much about the temperature, I get it good and hot, over 160 F on my thermometer. I used to do one qt. at 11 minutes, I do 2 qts. at 15 minutes on high and all seems well.

Next I let it cool to 120 F. I made two batches this week, one using frozen whey, the other fresh, and the first I added the frozen whey when it was at 140 F, hoping the fact the whey was frozen would prevent it from killing the bacteria, the second it was cooler than 120 F, as I had forgotten it, and they both turned out fine.

A note on the whey. I have gone from feeding it to my dogs, plants, compost, etc., to hoarding it for myself. Using a half cup or so to start the next batch is about all I’ll spare from eating it myself. It does make for a more liquid yogurt to use it for the starter, but I strain my yogurt anyway, so I get it back.

Next you add the starter to the warm milk, either in the pot you heated in, or the Instantpot. The starter can be whey from a previous batch, yogurt from the store, as long as it is plain and says live cultures, or yogurt from your previous batch. If you don’t plan on straining your yogurt, don’t start it with whey.

The next step is to throw it in the instant pot on the yogurt setting for 12 hours. You can do 8-10, but I like to give the little critters all the time they might need. I have no idea if there is such a thing as too long.  Put the lid on, go to sleep and wake up to yogurt the next day. When you take the lid off, take a peek and see if it is jelly like with chartreuse liquid about. Don’t worry if you don’t see any liquid, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Now I pour it in a strainer lined with paper towels set over a LARGE bowl. I set it in the fridge until I remember IMG-4966to look at it again. Seriously. I always forget about it at this stage. It can get too thick for my liking, so I get aggravated at myself if I forget it too long. It has to be a large bowl. You will be shocked at how much whey is in there. Cleaning whey off of the fridge shelf is not my idea of fun. I left it for 6 hours yesterday and that was pretty good. I usually do it for 4-8 hours.

Don’t panic if the paper towel sticks when you go to dump the yogurt IMG-4967

out to it’s final home. For whatever reason, yogurt sticks better to itself than to the towel. I’ve never had a big problem with separating the two. yogurt.jpg

Here is the final product in all it’s glory, ready to eat. I don’t know if you can see in the picture, but more whey continues to come up even after all that straining.

Now, about all that whey. I tried soaking my everyday loaded oatmeal in it overnight and now I’m hooked. I try to keep sugar to a minimum, and somehow the whey makes the oatmeal taste sweeter, and makes the texture creamier. If that idea does not appeal to you, you can still use it for your pets or plants, or even as the liquid in baking bread, it’ll give the yeast a boost and condition the dough.

A Whole Lotta Love

Sometimes I rant, sometimes I praise. Today’s a praise day. I already had a topic for today, but then I saw this article on how to have your carbs while diabetic and had to throw it in. I always get nervous when I seen anything that looks like “how to have your cake and eat it too”, but this is an excellent article. I wish I’d written it. Great graphics as well. If you aren’t diabetic, you should still eat like you are. None of us need all that sugar. Sugar and other simple carbs in mass quantities is what got us here in the first place. The article has a great graphic showing 1/2 your plate being a non starchy vegetable, and the other two quarters divided between fibrous starches and low-fat protein. Yeah, yea, woot woo. To top it off, they finish with recipes, which is where I fall down, because most people would not eat what I like.

….Which is a really good segue into my other topic for today. You know I make my own greek yogurt. If you don’t, see here. I have been trying to come up with more uses for all that whey, and, as I mentioned in that episode, I have been experimenting with using it in bread. My latest obsession is pita bread. The stuff from the store tastes so darn good. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I am certainly not an anti gluten or anti carb person. I’m using the whey instead of water. I tried a batch a couple of weeks ago that was nearly disastrous. Pita’s have to be cooked hot and fast. Those weren’t. I did much better this time:

IMG_1158They aren’t perfect, but the flavor and texture were spot on. I used “Peppy’s Pita Bread” recipe on allrecipies.com. I think this has shown me where my breads have fallen short. I’ve been too afraid of over baking, and I think being thoroughly baked is the key to really good bread. I let you know as I try my hypothosis.

Before we leave the topic of yogurt, I did try two experiments lately. First, I tried just using the whey to make the next batch of yogurt. It’s difficult to have the store-bought yogurt on hand to make the next batch, since I use it to make yogurt. It tends to go bad before I get to it. Plus, it rankles me to have to buy the very product I’m making. So, I tried freezing the store-bought, and only scraping enough off to inoculate the milk, but that was a royal pain. If I want to try that again, I’ll divide it in an ice-cube tray and freeze it that way. However, I took a small batch of milk and just added the whey I had been storing in the fridge, and it worked! The only down side was that the yogurt was more watery, since adding whey is adding water. For whatever reason, whey doesn’t get moldy like yogurt does, and I always have plenty on hand.

I thawed the rest of the yogurt I had frozen for that experiment, and found that it had separated from being frozen, but if I drained the whey off it was still perfectly good. If you are wondering why I am so yogurt crazy, I’m not, in that I don’t eat lots of it, but I now consider it an essential staple to have in the house. It makes a wonderful replacement to sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and, of course, is great for all its traditional uses. I have drained it enough to make a cream cheese type cheese. My next experiment will be to try to go further and make a fresh cheese out of it by draining it further.

For a snack today, I’m going to make a taco dip variation by putting a layer of humus, a layer of drained yogurt, salsa and cheddar. I have nothing against using beans to make the dip, I’m just trying to empty my cupboards, so it was humus this week. I also used the drained yogurt in tuna salad, along with some mayo and mustard.

I just think if you can replace things that are not all that good for you with things that are, and still find them enjoyable, that is a win-win-win situation. You do need healthy fats, but as Myfitnesspal keeps reminding me, I’m getting plenty without doing a lot of mayo and sour cream. To top it off, I’m not replacing them with ersatz food, which is one of my pet peeves.


I was never on the protein bandwagon until recently.  I resisted it based on my nutrition education that said that we get more than enough protein as Americans in our diet, and  certainly don’t need more.  After listening to podcast after podcast extolling the need for more protein, I caved. I bought some from our local store with the least amount of sugar. I have to admit I’m impressed. I have had a problem with “DOMS”, delayed onset muscle soreness, that seemed to increase with age time. Since I started the protein powder, it has faded to only be an occasional problem. I can work out longer and harder with less fatigue.

All that is the good news. The bad news is that for whatever reason, most protein powder manufacturers seem to think we have to have sweet flavors. If all you want to do is dump it in some water, I guess you would. I, however, put it with my morning oatmeal. Even if I didn’t, I can add whatever I want to flavor it. The one I’m currently using has sucrolose in it, which causes me gas and stomach aches. I have found a source for plain whey protein on the ‘net. IF it turns out to be good and a trustworthy site, I’ll let you know the name, and kind of plug it, since all this flavored stuff ticks me off.

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