Baking / Cooking / Fermentation / Make It Monday / Yogurt

Making it Barely on Time This Monday

There’s been a lot I’ve been wanting to post this past week (including asking for some advice on transplanting herbs), but I’ve been paralyzed with school. Today I had a quiz & a final & a lab. Despite this, I have made some forays into the kitchen.

Flour used to talk to me. I’d be able to just think about a type of baked good or look at some flour & know how to combine everything. Of course I wouldn’t always get perfect results, but I often did.

Because of my many allergies, I have to bake gluten-free & vegan, among other things. As you might imagine, it can be hard getting baked goods right. So I became adept at baking, but then I stopped. It’s probably been about half a year (really I’m guessing more) since I baked anything (pre-mixed pizza crust doesn’t count) & a year since I seriously baked. Unfortunately, in all the time that’s passed I’ve lost touch with my ingredients. Rice flour doesn’t talk to me anymore. I have absolutely no idea how to work with tapioca (but then I guess that was my weakness before I stopped baking too).

So I started off easy. Lately I’ve really been craving chocolate chip cookies. Not wanting to end up with an experiment gone awry, I did something I’ve never ever done before: I bought a general purpose g-free flour mix! Bob’s Redmill mix even had a chocolate chip cookie recipe from Babycake New York on the back of the package .

I’m happy with the experience, but the cookies were just ok. The recipe was bad. If you’re going to make it add twice as much apple sauce & mix in some water. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a crumbly mess. Also, only use 1-1/2 tsp baking powder. I should have known a mix of 3 tsp of baking powder & soda wasn’t going to work- you could taste it! Despite this I’m glad I made the cookies. It felt nice to be baking again.

But more exciting than cookies (& who doesn’t love cookies?), I got starter cultures! And a yogurt maker! Soon, I shall be making gluten-free sourdough bread as well as vegan kefir & yogurt. This has caused day dreaming about urban homesteading & not working in an office anymore.

This brings me to my second Make It Monday project. Tonight I made yogurt- OK technically it’s not done yet, but all the work on my end is finished. Twelve hours & I’ll be slurping down Greek coconut yogurt. It’s up to those gorgeous bacilli now. 

Why Greek? I didn’t use a single recipe, just looked at a few, then proceeded to pour in some ingredients & turned up the heat. 2 Tbs of guar gum heated up to 180F is not the same as 2 Tbs guar gum heated to 110F. Glumpy, clumpy & chunky. It should be nice & thick once it’s done, I just hope it’s not so thick as to make it harder for the bacteria to swim around.

When I used to make soy yogurt (I can no longer eat soy) I’d heat it to 190F because I was following a recipe for making dairy yogurt. With soy yogurt you don’t really need to add in the thickeners, but I had read that coconut yogurt just doesn’t thicken up like soy does. But most of those coconut yogurt recipes I read only heated the mixture up to 110F- now I know why. I also forgot how long it takes to get the stuff to cool back down to 110. Next time I’m throwing the culture into the sterile milk container, shaking it up, then pouring it into my yogurt maker & calling it a day.

Fingers crossed! It’s my first time using a yogurt maker & my first time using Cultures for Health products. By the way, you should check out the Cultures for Health website. I’m extremely jealous that I can’t make all those amazing sounding heirloom types of cheese & bread.

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