Caspian Sea Yogurt

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davew's picture

I came across a culture for this while looking into how to improve my homemade ginger beer. Ain't the internet grand? It should have occurred to me earlier that there is not just one unique yogurt culture any more than there is one unique beer yeast. Bacteria and yeasts multiply so rapidly indeed it seems plausible that there should be hundreds, thousands, or even millions of bug species that are capable of turning milk into yummy, yogurty goodness.

This particular culture, also called Matsoni, has a number of things to recommend it over the the more typical yogurt cultures. First off, it works well at room temperature. Any place in your house that can maintain 70F for a day or so will be quite suitable (oven with a light or pilot light, top of the fridge, or next to a very docile cat). I'd use it for this reason alone, but the final product is superior in every way to my previous yogurt. It has a smoother, creamier texture, and a more subtle tanginess. I hadn't noticed previously, but my yogurt had a slight yellowish cast whereas the Matsoni is a brilliant white.

There are numerous sources for Matsoni on the internet, but I got mine from here. As with all yogurt you only need to buy the culture once. Just remember to save a bit of the last batch to make the next.

Is it really as easy as I described? You betcha. Here are the steps I followed:

1) Take 1/2 the culture and mix with 1 cup of milk in a mason jar. Shake. Loosen the lid a bit so yogurt can get air and release CO2. (Save the other half of the culture for disaster insurance.)

2) Let stand at 70F until the mixture sets up. This took me about a day, but may take up to two.

3) Mix yogurt starter and 1/2 gallon cold milk in a resealable plastic container. Shake. Pull up one corner of the lid so yogurt can get air and release CO2.

4) Let stand at 70F until the mixture sets up. In my case this took 12 hours.

That's it. Easier than making oatmeal.

__________________________
"we must be the change we want to see in the world"

davew's picture

Re: Caspian Sea Yogurt

I've made a couple of dozen batches so far and all have been successful. Winter is setting in, however, and I'll probably have to go back to a source of auxiliary heat. In the past a heating pad set on low has been plenty.

This yogurt is slightly different than regularly cultured yogurt and very different from store-bought. For one thing store-bought frequently has thickeners in it like gelatin making it more of a milk jello than yogurt. Also this culture produces a creamier, less tangy yogurt. It never sets up into a large, single curd like yogurt usually does and it never separates. In all ways Matsoni culture has met the expectations I had for it. I'm never going back to the old way.

__________________________

"we must be the change we want to see in the world"