Last year I began making my own yogurt. Since then I’ve been sold on the flavor, the consistency, and the knowledge that I’ve got one hundred percent organic yogurt with live cultures – all without artificial flavors, sweeteners, or thickeners. I’ve even converted my daughter, mom, siblings, and a few friends.
My sister and brother both have difficulties eating most dairy products. Because cultured yogurt is one of the few things that they can eat without stomach irritation, I’ve started making a yogurt dip especially for them to eat when we have gatherings. To make it even more palatable for their systems I drain the excess whey prior to mixing in seasonings.
To drain yogurt, layer several sheets of cheesecloth in a strainer. Add yogurt, sprinkling salt halfway and then on top. Twist the cheesecloth closed and allow yogurt to drain overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning squeeze the excess whey by twisting the cheesecloth a bit. The resulting product should be semi-firm, like cream cheese. Keep the whey to prepare cultured vegetables or add to recipes in place of 1 tablespoon liquid.
Herbed Yogurt Dip
1 quart plain yogurt, strained of whey overnight
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh chives or dill
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
A few dashes hot sauce to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve as a dip or spread for vegetables, crackers, and flatbreads, or use as a spread for sandwiches.
Add sour cream and cultured buttermilk for a thinner consistency to use as a salad dressing.
Experiment with what you add. If you desire something less tangy you can substitute one third to one half sour cream for the yogurt. Add cucumbers and mint for a tzatziki flavored dip, or garlic and sundried tomatoes for a Mediterranean flavor. Any way you prepare it, you’re adding beneficial organisms to your body.
Jennifer is a stay at home mother of a six year old and eight chickens, an organic and mostly sustainable gardener, artist, and first year homeschooler. You can peek into her world at Unearthing This Life, and find her as a regular contributor at Not Dabbling in Normal.