Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yogurt and Granola

My absolute favorite breakfast is Greek yogurt and granola.  Crunchy, smooth, salty, and sweet.  It's everything I'm looking for all in one little bowl!

Here is the deal on making Greek yogurt.  It is amazingly simple, but does take time to come together.  Like if you make it today, you will not eat it until tomorrow. 

Here are my gadgets:

Yogurt maker
Strainer (only necessary if you are making Greek yogurt)

Using one of the glass jars that come with the yogurt maker, I fill that with milk 7 times and pour the milk into a large pot on the stove (This is roughly 5 cups of milk).  Watch it ever so carefully because boiled milk sneaks up on you and can boil over in a second.

Just let it come to a boil and then remove from heat.

I use a ladle to scoop some out and let cool in a separate glass.

To this I add a packet of the yogurt starter after it has cooled, like an hour or so.

For vanilla yogurt:
 I add about 3tsp of vanilla and a 1/3 cup of sugar.  Mix everything so it is all dissolved and pour back into the large pot of boiled milk.  Give it a good stir so it is all mixed together.
Then pour it all into a large glass bowl that fits on the yogurt maker.  Some people just skip the maker and warm it in the stove at a really low temperature.  Never tried that but I'm sure it would be fine since yogurt existed before the Euro Cuisine came to town.

Turn on the maker, cover with the lid, and let it sit and warm for about 6 hours or until it firms up.

After it is firmish pour it into the Strainer should you want Greek yogurt.  I usually have to do this in 2 or 3 phases since the strainer is a bit smaller than the amount of yogurt I make.  Put the lid on the strainer and keep it in the frig overnight.

When you wake up, you will notice the yellow whey in the bottom of the strainer and the lovely creamy yogurt (also called yogurt cheese for some reason) in the top.  I usually spoon out the yogurt into a plastic container and pour the whey over my acid-loving plants.  (A whole lot of research is needed in order to make the most of this by-product.  I also read sourdough bread can be made with this whey.)

Any-whey (HAHAHAHA!) there you have it!  Greek yogurt!

Here are my favorite granola recipes:

Alton Brown's Granola
The CHOW Basic Granola Recipe
Chunky Granola

I found a recipe a while ago that added egg whites to the granola mixture just before popping it in the oven.  It was supposed to make it super chunky.  I can't find it now, but that's a good idea too.

Sometimes I actually remember to add in flax seeds (They're always being left behind when I bake bread.  I always intend to use them and forget as soon as it's too late.), but everyone seems to like crushed almonds and dried cranberries added in the granola just before serving.

I've also added bran flakes (Grape Nut Flakes cereal) to Alton Brown's version and loved it but my oldest did not.  They don't even have a taste, it's just texture and crunch.  Which apparently isn't a thing for 7-year-olds.

Granola hardens as it cools.  I like big chunks (and I cannot lie) so I just take it out of the oven and leave it alone for hours.  Mostly because I'm lazy and don't feel like going into the kitchen.  Thank you for being low maintenance, granola.

Let me know your favorite recipes and hints on the process.  I always love to try a new spin on something.  Especially if you have ways to make it chunky!

Show me the money!

I just did a bit of math and found that it turns out this super awesome Greek yogurt is about $0.16 a cup.  Umm... we used to pay $1/cup of the Oikos yogurt at the store.  I'm shocked it's that much of a difference! Wow, that's pretty exciting.  Well... enjoy! Save your money and spend it on fabric.

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