probiotics

  • Fermented Food Fest

    When most of us decide to add “good” bacteria to our diet, we typically turn to probiotic supplements and yogurt. Good choices to be sure, but not the only ones available. Look beyond the dairy aisle to fermented foods, which teem with healthy, good-for-you bacteria.

    Simply delicious and easy to make—and so good for your health.
    By Gretchen Roberts
  • Basic Homemade Yogurt

    4 cups (1 quart) milk (skim, 1 percent,  2 percent, or whole)
    1/2 cup powdered milk (optional, for thicker yogurt)
    1/2 cup plain, live culture yogurt

    1. Heat milk and powdered milk (optional) over medium heat in a small saucepan to 180 degrees (use a candy thermometer), stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and let cool to 110 degrees (about an hour).

    2. Gently stir yogurt culture into milk, and pour mixture into a clean glass jar. Cover.

    3. Choose your incubation method:
    • Use a commercial yogurt maker (such as the Salton 1-quart yogurt maker).
    • Place jars in a hot water bath in the oven on its lowest setting (temperature should not exceed 110 degrees).
    • Pour hot water into a cooler, and incubate the jars in there, changing the water every few hours if necessary.

    4. Incubate yogurt at 110 degrees for four to 10 hours or until set. The longer you incubate, the more tart the yogurt will taste. The mixture needs to stay close to 110 degrees for the bacteria to do their job. Lower temperatures deactivate the cultures, and higher temperatures will kill them.

    5. Stir in sweetener, honey, or fruit as desired. Refrigerate up to two weeks.
    Quick tip: Homemade yogurt tends to be thinner than store-bought, but adding powdered milk to the mix will thicken it. Make sure the plain yogurt you buy to inoculate your homemade yogurt says “live and active cultures” on the label.

    Nutrition info per serving (using 1 percent milk and whole-milk yogurt): 121.2 calories; 3.4 g fat; 2.2 g saturated fat; 16.2 mg cholesterol; 9.3 g protein; 13.6 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 121 mg sodium