One of the trends of 2018 is cheese made from homemade/housemade yogurt. But did you know this popular, healthy food has its roots in Bible days? We talked about this today on the Sonrise Morning Show, Sacred Heart Radio.
My Mom always had homemade yogurt in the refrigerator when we were growing up. And it’s easy to make.
Here’s some Biblical history and also my recipe for homemade yogurt.
THE HISTORY OF YOGURT
Isaiah 7: 22 “And because of the abundance of the milk they give, he will have curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey.”
Many Bible scholars believe that the curds mentioned in the Bible referred to sour or curdled milk (curds) – what we call yogurt today.
Those curds, or yogurt, during Bible days were flavored with honey, fruits and nuts. And I believe yogurt was used as a sort of a condiment or dip, much like we do today. My mom used to tell us the story of how milk became curds/yogurt. A traveler put his goat milk in a leather pouch. During the camel ride to his destination, it was hot and the heat along with the swaying of the camel (and probably natural bacteria present, as well) turned the milk into curds, which we know as yogurt.
I love the legend that tells of an angel promising Abraham that he would live a long life if he ate what we know as yogurt, and remember, he was 175 years old when he died.
The stories of yogurt and a long life has credibility.
It does. Today, in parts of Turkey, Armenia, among other places, there is an unusually high number of very old people. Men and women often live well beyond 100 years while maintaining healthy, active lifestyles.
The theory is they are this healthy because the eat plenty of yogurt.
What are the health benefits of yogurt?
Yogurt is highly regarded all around the world as a super source of bone-building calcium. It may prevent colds and allergic reactions, fight cancer and strengthen the body’s immune system. It also lowers bad cholesterol levels, prevents dangerous intestinal infections and helps block ulcers.
Yogurt also helps to maintain a normal balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria that are constantly present in our bodies. Even a small amount may be enough to reduce most of the digestive problems that are caused by a poor diet or infections.
With all the good bacteria it contains, yogurt is also a natural antibiotic, as well. And it’s being used in the spa industry for facials.
Does it matter what kind of yogurt you buy?
To get the greatest benefits from yogurt, make sure it ingredients contain “live active cultures.” If it doesn’t state it on the label, it may not be real yogurt. The pasteurization process can destroy the active cultures necessary for yogurt to do its job.
Can you freeze yogurt?
No, it loses texture and gets very runny.
What about Greek yogurt? That seems to be in the news these days.
Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt and has twice the protein. That’s why it’s so good to use in recipes and it has such a creamy texture, and I think a bit more mild than the homemade yogurt I make.
Is yogurt cheese really cheese?
No. It’s just yogurt that has been strained very well. You can use it as a substitute sometimes for sour cream.
Rita’s Homemade Yogurt
- 3 1⁄2 cups milk – I like whole milk
- 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 4 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt, room temperature
In heavy saucepan, combine milk and dry milk. Over low heat, stirring frequently, heat milk until steam rises and milk is scalded (tiny bubbles will appear around the edges of the pan, and milk will reach a temperature of 160 degrees). Remove from heat and cover loosely. Cool until lukewarm (about 98-100 degrees). Whisk in yogurt. Transfer to covered container. Let container rest in a “warm place”, undisturbed for 6-10 hours, or until thickened.
Examples of “warm places”…
1. Rita wraps her covered container completely in a thick towel and leaves it undisturbed on the counter.
2. Leave the container in a turned-off gas oven. The pilot light will give it enough heat to do the trick.
3. Fill a small cooler with warm tap water, about halfway up, and set sealed container inside.
What will happen during this time is that the yogurt cultures will activate the milk, turning the mixture into homemade yogurt. Store in refrigerator.