Did you know that yogurt was “invented” to preserve milk?
The Neolithic Method
Way back in the Neolithic Age, when the refrigerator was a cool, running stream, animals were giving milk that just didn’t keep. So, the Neoliths did what anyone might: they poured whatever fresh milk they didn’t drink into their favorite container, which was the dried stomach of a young animal (goat/Camel/ Sheep). The stomach – which resembled a round bag – was tied and hung on the saddle, and as the Neolithic nomads travelled, the milk sloshed around in the stomach, mixing with the enzymes there. When the tents were put up and it was time to eat, the milk had curdled (thanks, enzymes), and was drinkable or even thicker. If the thickened milk was left to ferment voila! yogurt was the result.
The Bulgarian Discovery
Fast very much forward to Bulgaria where, in 1905, Stamen Grigorov, reputed microbiologist who worked with Louis Pasteur on the tuberculosis vaccine, isolated the bacteria that turns milk curds into yogurt. It is called Lactobacillus bulgaricus in honor of Dr. Grigoriv’s homeland, and it is still the preferred strain for making yogurt. Which you can do easily at home, with no special equipment except a thermometer, but that is for a different blog post.
Yogurt Cheese Gets Fancy
Here, the subject is how to make yogurt cheese (it is so easy) and what to do when you want to “fancy” it up. It’s going to become a major addition to your life, so pay attention here.
Here is what you need:
- Fine mesh sieve
- Non-reactive bowl
- Refrigerator (or fresh, running stream)
- Line the strainer with the cheesecloth.
- Set the lined strainer over a bowl.
- Tip plain yogurt into it.
- Gently fold up the cheesecloth over the top of the strainer, but not touching the yogurt.
- Refrigerate 1-24 hours, depending on how thick you want your cheese.
Proceed to add anything from cinnamon sugar to fresh herbs and garlic to your new creation: YOGURT CHEESE!
Congrats, and please write to us and tell us what you did with your yogurt cheese.
Tip: use full-fat yogurt, it’s got one million times more flavor than the lower percentage fat yogurts….and its flavor is most pure.