It’s funny, though, as much as I gear myself away from kitchen-land, it’s still an important part of me. I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a fabulous new food idea that I can hardly wait to try. Today, I woke up at 3am asking myself why I’d never thought of making Rosemary Yogurt before! And then I woke up again at 5am, unable to sleep, and got the yogurt started. This is how I did it. It turned out every bit as amazing as I’d imagined it to be! Maybe even a little bit more so.
2 or 3 five inch long branches of fresh rosemary
1 quart whole milk ( I use raw milk from grass fed cows, but any whole milk will do)
two tablespoons plain yogurt with live culture
Pour the milk into a large pot. Add the rosemary sprigs and submerge them in the milk. Put it over medium low heat, uncovered, and gently bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally. It is faster if you cover the pot. But for me, it’s too easy to forget about it and then the pot boils and overflows and there is a big mess. Stirring is helpful, especially on those ridiculous kinds of electric stoves that don’t have actual burners. If you don’t, it’s way too easy to burn the milk at the bottom of the pot, which really messes with the flavor.
As soon as tiny bubbles start appearing on the surface of the milk, begin stirring the milk again. Keep stirring for three minutes. Then turn the heat off, and let the milk cool until it gets to be about 110 degrees. To my finger, this seems hot but not hot enough to burn me. But as different people’s fingers experience temperature differently, it’s probably good to use a thermometer the first time so you can gain a bodily knowledge of what 110 degrees feels like to you.
Once the milk has cooled down to 110 degrees, remove the rosemary sprigs. In a measuring cup, mix a little bit of the warm milk into 2 tablespoons of the live yogurt, so that it thins it enough to be easily incorporated into the rest of the milk. Whisk the yogurt-milk mixture into the pot of milk, then pour the milk into a quart canning jar, and put a lid on it.
There are many different ways you can incubate the yogurt (or, to get the jar of milk to grow the yogurt culture). The easiest is to simply stick it into an oven with the pilot light on and leave it there for 4-6 hours, however long it takes for the yogurt to get thick enough to pull away from the sides of the jar. Another way is to put the jar inside a large pot of hot but not too hot water with a towel or a blanket (or two) wrapped around it. Either set this in the sun outside, or check the water temperature every hour or so and adjust it to keep the jar of milk at the right temperature. (the incubating milk should stay at about 110 degrees the whole time). Really keeping the milk at the right temperature is the only tricky part of yogurt making, and every mistake is a lesson learned!
I like to strain the finished product to make Rosemary Yogurt Cheese! It’s amazing!
To make Rosemary Yogurt Cheese:
Just pour the finished yogurt into a strainer that’s lined with muslin, or another semi-porous cloth, or 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, and let it sit there. You can stir it every so often if you happen to be around the kitchen, and it will strain a little more quickly, but this isn’t essential.
I used this yogurt cheese as a delicious topping on the gluten free focaccia that I made at our last event. It was a huge hit!