Saturday, October 01, 2022

On Yogurt And Unplugging

 (By way of introduction, I apologize for my tardiness in responding to comments.  Apparently this platform has taken it upon itself to becoming "difficult" again.)

This week I made another batch of yogurt.

I have been making yogurt regularly for almost three years now, so far as I can recall.  It is a simple process (which is why I likely keep doing it, of course):  one gallon of whole milk heated in a Crock Pot to 180 F with a beach towel over the lid to retain heat, followed by allowing it to cool to between 90 and 100 F, adding either new culture or some yogurt from a previous batch (live culture and all), replacing the lid and covering with the beach towel and wrapping with a blanket and allow to sit all night, followed by 12-18 hours of straining through cheesecloth.

Voila! Yogurt.  Strained longer, it becomes thicker and more "greek" (and I like my yogurt thick).  I have no idea how much I yield in a batch, but I easily fill up one of those 16 oz. Cool Whip containers, sometimes with a small amount of overflow.  I have not been able to calculate yield by weight, but it is certainly more than the 1.5 lbs scale will measure.  Maybe 2 lbs?  Plus, I end up with 18 to 24 ounces of whey to drink over the week.

This amount of yogurt will last me about a week - yes, I eat that much, which is one reason I started making my own instead of waiting for trips to the grocery store to get more.  That, and by making it myself I pay about half of what it would currently cost me at the store - perhaps more, as a pound of yogurt here goes for $4-6 and I am eating at least twice that.

The only times I purchased yogurt in the last three years is when I go back to The Ranch - I could make it there (I have a crock pot, and culture is easy enough to procure), but it is a solid two day process and I would end up wasting some - a crime in my book, as all yogurt deserves to be eaten.

It is a rather small and silly example of some kind of unplugging from the system - I need milk to do it of course, and there is no way a dairy cow or even a goat is magically going to make it in the toasted stubble that has become my backyard.  But it is an example, my maybe one thing that unplugs me from that system.

Sometimes when we read of changing the world or unplugging from it or unplugging from it to change it, it seems like such a daunting task.  In reality, we can all start somewhere.  It is not the size of the effort that  counts, but making the effort.  Once a thing is done - the solar panel up and feeding energy, the side of beef in the freezer that we bought directly rather than through the commercial system, the vegetables are canned/preserved/dried, the sock darned - we realize that it was not as difficult as we might have thought.  And, the process can be replicated.

The rock breaks not because of the immediate strike, but because of the thousand strikes that came before.

14 comments:

  1. I bought a calf for that reason. Someone decided they needed it worse. I know now why rustlers were dealt with harshly. The meat was going to at least three families, now, nothing to show for it but a cashiered check. I'm dropping hints about left overs from pig hunts.

    Sometimes things don't work out, and that usually means a tweak to the plan. Don't quit if the plan takes an unexpected turn. Get the process down before you can't afford to make adjustments.

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    1. You will have no argument from me, STxAR. Rustling is one of those things that is invisible to most people these days because they do not have livestock, nor do they appreciate the time and effort it takes to raise them - we now live in an age where the immediate response would be "just buy another one".

      Your last line is wise (and timely) advice.

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  2. We make our yogurt in the Instant Pot. It heats the milk, tells you when to add culture and beeps when done.

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    1. Wow! That sounds fancy Tewshooz. I will admit the alarms would be a nice function - there is more than one time that I have let the milk heat a little too long or cool a little too much because I forgot to check it (fortunately, yogurt is a pretty forgiving medium).

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  3. As long as you enjoy the whole process, that is what matters. :-)
    You all be safe and God bless.

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    1. Linda, I do not know how much I enjoy it, but I sure enjoy the output!

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  4. I often enjoy the process of doing some things others wouldn't even consider taking the time to do. Sometimes I feel silly at how much time I might spend making something I can easily buy, but the real value is measured by things other than convenience, or even cost sometimes. If one enjoys the slower act of making something rather than running to the store to buy it, I betcha one's blood pressure is probably also improved.

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    1. Becki, there is a certain satisfaction in doing something that for one's self, even if it can be bought cheaply (or even less expensively than making it) that is not realized by the simple exchange of coin. The fact that I can make something also means I am not dependent on someone else to make it, which itself is freeing.

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  5. I've never really cared for the taste of yogurt for some reason. I can tolerate it when it is in parfait form with fruits and lots of granola but just barely. I have to get my probiotics through different forms.

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    1. That is interesting Ed. I really only enjoy plain yogurt now, as I find the flavored yogurts too sugary. I suppose that means I like the original flavor - although I never thought of that as the "flavor", just how it is.

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  6. A very encouraging post, TB.

    "In reality, we can all start somewhere" This is so very true, and you give such a good example of something simple, but truly useful. I've often thought that if every family on earth would grow or do at least something to feed themselves, we could make excellent headway on solving world hunger. It seems small when it's just oneself, but when we all pitch in, it adds up.

    Now, just out of curiosity, have you ever tried to make kefir?

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    1. Leigh, I sometimes discourage myself a great deal by not feeling like I am doing enough. In point of fact anything can be something. And the benefits of doing it build self confidence that if I can do this, they surely I can do that.

      I have not tried kefir yet - to be honest, I cannot think that I have ever even had it.

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  7. Well, if you hit it *really* hard the first time . . . and, technically rock is a brittle material whose ultimate strength is best modeled by the Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope, so it is resilient and bounces back with little strain or deformation until the ultimate strength is reached, like cast iron. Now Corelware . . .

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    1. Perhaps John, although I can assure you my strikes are nowhere near what is needed to break any stone except perhaps sand.

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