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Fermenting Dairy

January 26, 2018

The Instant Pot has not changed my life. Yet.

Every day I’m learning about new ways to use the thing. Just yesterday I learned that it’s great for soft and hard boiling eggs, with easy to peel shells. I’m looking forward to giving that a try. Maybe even later today. Earlier this week I used it as a slow cooker for the very first time, and that was pretty cool too. It’s quite the versatile tool.

Soon after I announced my purchase of this device, a reader asked if I was going to use it to make yogurt. The question requires a bit of a longer response, and today I finally have the chance to talk about why I will do no such thing.

Yogurt is indeed one of the staples of the Fussy family.

I’ll eat it for breakfast, topped with granola. The kids will drink it, spun up with sweetened mango puree, in the form of a lassi. Mrs. Fussy will eat it for dessert, drizzled with honey. It’s great for cooking and tenderizing lamb shoulder chops. And I’ll a couple of spoonfuls into Little Miss Fussy’s chana masala to tame the spiciness of the dish.

Yogurt is also one of those foods that makes me crazy.

Once a food associated with healthful living, the yogurt of today is jam packed full of sugar. Looking into the yogurt case and reading off the flavors, you might think you’ve wandered into an ice cream parlor. And those who buy Greek-style yogurt these days need to beware, because instead of being strained, some are now thickened with additives.

Don’t even get me started on how much of the yogurt aisle is dedicated to fat free versions of the stuff. It’s shockingly hard to find a good, unflavored, 2% strained Greek-style yogurt.

Given my consternation about the general state of affairs of yogurt, I would seem to be the ideal candidate for making my own at home.

Except the idea is entirely unappealing. Even though I now have a machine to do it. Why?

Simply put, watching dairy ferment makes me disinclined to eat it. Look, it’s no mystery to me how yogurt is made. Fermentation is a fancy word for a controlled rot. Years ago, Brit at All Good Bakers made some amazing sour cream, and she told me how easy it was to do at home. But after leaving cream out on a shelf, and watching it ferment in the jar, I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as I would otherwise.

For what it’s worth, my issue with fluid diary goes beyond fermentation. I’m a bit obsessive about making sure fluid dairy is kept cold all the time. Although I am getting better. It used to be that I was intensely uncomfortable with the gallon jug of milk being left on the table for the length of breakfast.

Pour what you need into your cereal and put the jug back, used to be the prime directive. Over time, my position on that has softened as I learned more about the thermal density of milk, and how long it will stay cold out of the refrigerator.

Maybe one day I’ll get comfortable with the idea of yogurt making, but today it’s off the table.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2018 2:15 pm

    You are nuts. Make cheese. Sticking your face in a vat of ripening milk and taking a big cheesy sniff is one of life’s pleasures.

  2. chrisck permalink
    January 26, 2018 5:52 pm

    “It’s shockingly hard to find a good, unflavored, 2% strained Greek-style yogurt.”

    1. Fage 2% 2. Wallaby 2% (organic). That’s all anybody needs to know. Both available at the Honest Weight, and Fage is sold in a lot of the supermarkets and Whole Foods.

    • January 26, 2018 5:55 pm

      As a percentage of the yogurt case, the facings of actual yogurt are minuscule. And sometimes the good ones are out of stock.

  3. Deedee permalink
    January 26, 2018 6:34 pm

    I agree with Dave, make cheese. Ricotta is super simple to make and I think the kids will get a kick out of making it. It’s like kitchen magic.

  4. January 30, 2018 9:08 am

    I have an instant pot too–I love it! I have yet to make yogurt but I’m planning on it. The process seems a bit intimidating. But I hope you change your mind and give it a try-I’d love to see a blog post about it! :)

    Also, have you tried Siggi’s? I’m not a huge fan of unflavored yogurt and the fruited Siggi’s Skyr have a lot less sugar than your typical Greek yogurt sugar bomb.

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