Farmhouse yogurt is typically made in a traditional way, with fresh ingredients that are locally sourced from a local or regional farm. The yogurt is heated up in a vat and other additional cultures such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are added to it. These cultures feed off of milk sugars, and produce a creamy texture. Sugar and natural pieces of fruit are then added to the yogurt. This fruit is often fresh, and makes up over half of the yogurt content. In some farmhouse yogurts, you may find a layer of fruit at the bottom of the yogurt pot, topped with white unsweetened yogurt. Farmhouse yogurt can be created from cow's milk in less than ten hours if the yogurt is left to cultivate properly. It can also be created from sheep's milk and goat's milk.
The term 'yogurt' originally stems from the Turkish language and relates to a thick milk that is tart in flavour. If milk is left in a container and good bacteria are added, the milk starts to thicken up and becomes sour. This is caused by lactic acid in the fermentation process, and also acts as a preservative, so that the yogurt mixture stays fresher for a longer duration. A yogurt starter is typical in making farmhouse yogurt and other types of yogurt.
The good bacteria in farmhouse yogurt are known as probiotics. These probiotics take the form of cultures that are present in foods such as cheese and milk, which these cultures can ferment. Farmhouse yogurt can also include other bacteria which are not probiotics. Your gut contains thousands of different types of bacteria, and the good bacteria inside our system helps to keep any bad bacteria at bay. Maintaining this balance of good and bad bacteria is vital for a healthy immune system. It has been suggested and evidence has been put forward that eating farmhouse yogurt is a way of maintaining our body's natural balance of good and bad bacteria.
You don't need a yogurt maker to create your own farmhouse yogurt, but you will need a few utensils, including a saucepan to heat the milk in, a thermometer, a flask to keep it in the fridge and some jars. You'll also need a starter culture, which is essentially a bacteria that will transform the milk into a tangy, thickened farmhouse yogurt mixture. You can purchase many dried yogurt starters in health food shops. A pot of live, plain organic yogurt with live cultures will convert a litre or more of milk. The milk you actually decide to turn into yogurt will vary in thickness depending on whether the milk is full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed.
To make farmhouse yogurt, simply bring your plain, organic shop-bought yogurt to room temperature and pour 500ml of the milk you want to turn into yogurt into a saucepan. If the milk is pasteurised, heat it to 85 degrees, giving it the occasional stir, before leaving it to cool to 46 degrees. This will help kill bad bacteria and help the farmhouse yogurt to thicken. Next, whisk or stir in your organic shop-bought yogurt, using 3 tablespoons for each 500ml.
Before the mixture cools, pour it into a warmed flask and pop the lid on, before leaving it for up to ten hours. If it smells normal and like yogurt, pop the mixture into some jars and chill in the fridge. Why not add a layer of fruity strawberry jam on the bottom to give your jar a real farmhouse yogurt look? If the yogurt smells off when you unscrew the flask, you'll have to start the process all over again!
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