I should tell you right now I have a thing for French yogurt. It is probably one of the things I miss the most from living in France. Under the food category. I will go to the Carrefour or Monoprix in Paris and pick up yogurt for my apartment once I get settled. It is part of my breakfast each day. I don’t eat a croissant every morning like you might think! The first time I had homemade yogurt was in France. I stayed at La Bruyle and already had a crazy love for French yogurt. At the end of the table were tiny glass jars of yogurt. When I spoke up and asked for one Pascale casually told me that she made it. She told me it was easy and I could buy the machine on Amazon. The idea has been in my head for a few years but after being discouraged with Chicago’s yogurt selection I decided to give it a try. When you search the yogurt aisle at Whole Foods or your local grocery you will see a lot of options for yogurt but even the plain ones have 5 or more grams of sugar. If you opt for a fruit flavor you are looking at almost 20 grams of sugar. The idea of yogurt is to get good probiotics in your belly and also a good source of protein. If you end up having 20 grams of sugar at breakfast or for a snack you are defeating the purpose.
powder starter or 6 oz yogurt.
The process is really easy! You need one quart of milk. You can choose between whole, skim, or nonfat. I prefer whole milk and chose a high-quality local dairy farmer here in Chicago. You can use either a yogurt powder starter or you can use regular yogurt as your starter. You will need about 6 oz.
Heat the milk over the stove top for about 5 minutes and let it come to a slow boil. Remove it from the heat and mix in the 6oz of yogurt. I used a wire whisk to mix them together. Let the milk cool. It can sit alone or you can stick it in a water bath. Once it room temperature you can pour them into the glass jars. I chose three different flavors to try. Lemon which was made with lemon zest and lemon juice, vanilla with vanilla bean, and apricot made with jam. Each of the flavors I just mixed in a separate bowl before pouring into the glass jars.
The yogurt sits uncovered for 7 – 9 hours in the machine. It is super easy to use and blinks off when it’s finished. You then cover and refrigerate. The yogurt stays for 10 days and you can mark on the top the date. I have been eating them every day so I will have to make a new batch come Sunday. I am thinking more lemon and maybe another new flavor?
I had no idea how easy making granola was until I tried it. While I waited for my yogurt to finish. It takes 7 hours for whole milk and up to 9 for fat free. I decided to give my yogurt an upgrade if it wasn’t going to be delicious enough by adding homemade granola. I sourced most of these from the bulk bins at Whole Foods but you can grab these pretty much anywhere. The vanilla can be vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. I tried it both ways. I prefer the pod but it was good either way!
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 chopped nuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla or one vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
over low heat mix olive oil, brown sugar, vanilla, and honey for 5 minutes until the sugar melts.
combine the sugar mixture with the dry ingredients until the oats are completely covered
Spread the mixture on a baking pan. Bake in the oven on 350 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let sit for about an hour to cool.
You can add cranberries after the granola has cooled. It is ready to eat! You can serve it over your granola with fresh fruit. Just a sprinkle is enough!
I decided to add granola to the mix because while living in France I discovered muesli which is similar. I had specific groceries that offered variations of muesli from chocolate to fruit flavors. There is just one small difference between muesli and granola and it is that granola is baked and muesli is not. I haven’t really found a muesli here in the US that I love so granola is a good substitution.
Have you made homemade yogurt? What are your favorite flavors?