Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homemade Yogurt in a Crockpot?

I found this on one of the links to the right... This has potential to be a fun enrichment activity for a group - or even for an evening... The actual link is at the bottom:

"I have a yogurt maker but it has always been so complicated, I have to feel really motivated to do it. I tried this recipe and it is great! I just blended my home canned peaches from last fall with a cup of it and it is like eating Ice Cream YUMMM!

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot
--8 cups (half-gallon) of whole milk--pasteurized and homogenized is fine, butdo NOT use ultra-pasteurized. (Debbie recommends starting with whole milk until you get the hang of yogurt-making)
--1/2 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt (you need tohave a starter. Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter)
--frozen/fresh fruit for flavoring
--thick bath towel
The Directions
This takes a while. Make your yogurt on a weekend day when you are home tomonitor. I used a 4 quart crockpot. This is so exciting. My fingers are shaking!
Plug in your crockpot and turn to low. Add an entire half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug your crockpot. Leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.
When 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in abowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. Stir to combine.
Put the lid back on your crockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation.
Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened--- it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt.
Blend in batches with your favorite fruit. I did mango, strawberry, and blueberry. When you blend in the fruit, bubbles will form and might bother you. They aren't a big deal, and will settle eventually.
Chill in a plastic container(s) in the refrigerator. Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. Save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.
The Verdict.
Wowsers! This is awesome! I was completely astonished the next morning that the yogurt thickened. I was so excited to feel the drag on my spoon. You can add honey for sweetening. This is so much more cost-effective than the little things of yo-baby I was buying.
To thicken the best, add one packet of unflavored gelatin to the mix after stirring in the yogurt with active cultures. Some have had good success mixing non-fat milk powder in as well. The way I created fruit-flavored yogurt was by taking a cup or so of the plain and blending it in the stand blender (vitamix) with frozen fruit. Although this tastes great, the yogurt never thickened back up the way the plain did. I think maybe keeping the plain separate and adding fruit daily is your best bet. Or you can try the gelatin trick.
I was able to achieve a Greek-style yogurt this afternoon by lining a colander with a coffee liner and letting the liquid drip out of the leftover plain I made. The remaining yogurt was as thick as sour cream. I do not know how this will work with soy milk and soy yogurt or rice milk and rice yogurt. I'd imagine it would work similarly, but I haven not tested this out."

Article found at this LINK:
This is from Joyce Loftus - 4th Ward Enrichment counselor... She has a valid point - probably something you have all found lacking in your own wards. Please add your comments - and any ideas you have found helpful in your own ward.

"A suggestion, perhaps ... I would like to know what other wards are doing that could bring in the newly married's or younger women of the ward to the Enrichment evenings or activities. I feel that is where I am lacking and I am not sure what to do about it. When I was their age, Relief Society activities were not a priority. I can understand where they are coming from but I would sure like to see them more involved. The younger ones are great to help if asked but I can't keep asking them just to get them to come. Plus, some I have asked and they have agreed - and then not shown up. It is an interesting age group that has so much to offer."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From the 8th Ward - "Grandmother's Apron"

I felt like I literally had "Christmas" today when I found a folder from Myrl Breinholt (8th Ward) on my porch. In it is a CD entitled "Cooking From My Pantry" that has a wealth of information to answer literally any question you may have about living on what we store (or SHOULD be storing!)

There were also two copies of their "Cooking From Your Pantry" newsletter - what great information!

I have seen their fun displays as I've been at my meetings in the red building for the past several months - but now I know what their theme really entails. Here is just a snippet of what they are doing:

Back to Basics is our goal this year using Grandmother's Apron as the vehicle. We will be teaching cooking things from scratch, repairing, and reusing.

Each month we will be having all of our enrichment activities on the same night in the same place - the second Tuesday at the Church. We hope this will give sisters consistency and greater fellowship.

Our kickoff was on Jan 13 with a reader's theater including memories about our grandmothers, poems and a song written by Julie Dibble. Suzanne Roberts demonstrated her delicious dinner rolls.

Each month we will be having a short game of "Are you smarter than your grandmother?" including fun facts from days gone by that introduce our activity for the evening. February will be another cooking class featuring frosting recipes and cookie and cake decorating.

March is our service auction. Each sister has received a list of ways to earn currency for the auction. Some of them include things like arriving at Sacrament Meeting on time and getting Visiting Teaching done by the 15th of the month. Each sister will tally up her score and use the points as currency to "buy" service from another sister.

There is a dress form on the RS table with an apron containing weekly challenges and Grandmother sayings. All of these things are to focus on the wisdom and skills of the past that we need to use to be more self sufficient.

There will continue to be a Cooking From Your Pantry newsletter every month available on the RS table featuring suggestions and information for emergency preparedness.

If you would like a copy of Myrl's CD - I am happy to make one for you. Please email me at and I'll get that to you.

Coming next from the 8th Ward - their monthly humanitarian project at Enrichment Meeting for the sisters to participate in or to take home. (I'll be contacting her to get information, or she is welcome to post it here also)