Yogurt and Granola

Update: I made more yogurt and found an easy way to do it.  Heat the milk, cool, and inoculate as below. Use mason jars (found in every grocery store) and add the inoculated milk to them.  Then, add water at 120F to a small cooler and place the mason jars in the warm water so the milk inside them is about level with the water.  Close up and leave to sit overnight up to 24 hours.  Voila!  Yogurt.  And no having to deal with reheating the inoculated milk.

Slightly tart and sweet, creamy, and 100% delicious.  Yogurt is one of the staples in our fridge.  There never seems to be enough of it around, and it is kind of pricey to buy at the grocery store.  Why not make your own cheaper, tastier yogurt?  Yes, why not...

Come to think of it...granola seems like one of those tasty treats that is also overpriced.  You can make your own for less money, and it is tastier.  You can add a mix of sweet and savory flavors to your granola to make mixes that are out of this world.  And....goes great with yogurt.

Here we go.  This took about a day.  Maybe 45 minutes from start to finish for the granola.  Another 15-20 minutes to get the yogurt going...and then waiting.  Delicious breakfasts or snacks.

First, the granola, cribbed from here.  4 cups oats, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, 1 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, fresh ground nutmeg. You can play with what you want to add. I've seen suggestions for adding cardamom, for instance.

For the binding liquid, use 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar. You can use whatever dried fruit you want, but I used cranberries since they pair really well with the fennel and coriander seeds and spices I used (basically think spiced cranberry sauce).

Mix up the dry ingredients. Heat up the wet together in a microwave (20-30 seconds) or sauce pan. Add wet to dry, mix, and add to a sheet pan. Bake at 300 F, stirring occasionally until the granola is golden. place in a bowl and lightly pack and let cool.

Now, the yogurt. This is versatile stuff. You can use it in sweet or savory applications. You can strain more of the whey out to make a really soft cheese. Mix it with cucumber, lemon, garlic, and so on. Serve it with meat. Eat it for breakfast with the granola, or as a dessert. Whatever you can imagine.

First, get 4 cups (1 liter) of milk and a tablespoon (15-20 grams) of yogurt with active cultures.  I used fage brand greek yogurt.  Heat the milk to 180-190 F, just about a simmer.  Then allow it to cool to about 120 F.  Incorporate the active culture and let it sit for 14-20 hours at 100-120 F, covered.  Heat it occasionally to maintain the temperature.  I used a warm water bath.

When the milk has become yogurt (see above), you want to strain away the whey.  The whey can be put to good use in other applications, which will be the subject of another post after I do some research.

Yogurt separated from whey.

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