A Perfect Pairing: Homemade Yogurt and Granola

 

Recipes from the 2018 Union County Health Fair

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Peas and carrots.
Rhythm and blues.
Kim and Kanye.

Some things just belong together.

I feel that way about yogurt and granola.  They’re both pretty awesome on their own, but their powers combined are magic.

Sure, you could run to the store right now and find a huge assortment of packaged yogurts and processed granolas, but did you know that you can make both of them yourself?  

The men and women who attended this year’s Union County Health & Benefits Fair on October 24th learned this lesson first-hand when they saw me demonstrate how easy it is to ferment their own yogurt (I know, sounds scary, but we’ll get to that) and bake their own granola (and modify it to suit their tastes).

Missed the demo?  No worries; I’ll try to post the footage onto the YouTube channel some time soon.  In the meantime, check out the recipes below.

Home-Made Yogurt (or Fun with Fermentation)

My family had made our own yogurt for years.  It was a tedious, unpredictable process until recently.  You see, our original method of preparation involved scalding milk on the stovetop (watching ever so carefully to prevent boil-overs, which are a total bummer to clean), waiting for the temperature to drop, gently pouring the milk into canning jars with yogurt starter, covering the jars with lids, and placing the jars into a cooler lined with hot pads and towels soaked in boiling water.  The jars would remain in the hot box for 24 hours to allow the active cultures to do their work before cooling and storing.

I can’t imagine why anyone would rather just buy their yogurt like normal people…

Then came along my new kitchen superhero.  That’s right: the Instant Pot.

Yes friends, the Instant Pot makes tender BBQ ribs, delicious apple butter, and yogurt.  The best part is that it drastically simplifies the process and adds a level of time and temperature control that would make anyone concerned with the potential dangers of fermentation rest very easily.

First of all, the Instant Pot has yogurt settings.  Pour in the milk, set it to Boil, and wait for it to tell you the milk is ready.  No boil-overs ever.

If that wasn’t enough, the next part is even more genius: rather than pouring out the scalded milk, you can combine the yogurt starter in the Instant Pot, put on the lid, set it to the 24 hour fermentation setting, and it’ll make sure that the mixture remains and the proper temperature until your yogurt is ready to cool and store.

This was a life-changing moment for my family, and hopefully it will be for yours as well.

What’s a little homemade yogurt without some homemade granola?!

Most people wouldn’t define me as a “crunchy granola” kinda guy, if you know what I mean, but I absolutely love crunchy granola.  I put that stuff on everything: ice cream, cereal, waffles, french toast and, of course, yogurt.

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One of the great things about this particular recipe is the use of flax meal.  Flax is very high in healthy oils, which allows us to use it as a fat substitute, reducing the amount of vegetable oil we would normally use.  It also adds a nice nutty flavor.

Granola is so super easy to prepare and just as easy to customize to your own personal taste.  Wanna add some dried fruit? Go right ahead! A few toasted nuts? Be my guest! Chia and hemp? I’m not knocking it!

Oh, and did I mention that rolled oats and flax meal are sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, respectively?  So munch away (but be careful not to get too carried away).


Recipes

Instant Pot Yogurt

Yield: 1 gallon
Cooking time: about 27 hours (but it won’t feel like it)

1 gallon whole milk
1 c yogurt with active cultures

  1. Place milk in the Instant Pot.  Set to Yogurt, Boil. Do not place the lid over top.

  2. When this process is complete, place a candy thermometer into the milk and wait until it has cooled to around 115 degrees, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the yogurt starter.  Stir to combine. Secure the lid atop the Instant Pot and set to Yogurt, 24 hours.

  4. Once this cycle is complete, remove the lid, stir, and transfer to food storage containers.  Refrigerate.

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Homemade Granola

Yield: 6 cups
Cooking time: 45 minutes

½ tub rolled oats (about 6 cups)
1 c raw chopped nuts (optional)

½ c vegetable oil
6 oz maple syrup
¼ c honey
¼ c flax meal
¼ c brown sugar (optional)

¼ c all purpose flour
1 t spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or pumpkin spice)

1 c dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Place oats (and nuts) on a dry sheet tray and toast in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

  2. Meanwhile, combine next 5 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm to combine, stirring.

  3. Place flour and spices in a large mixing bowl.  Add contents of sheet tray and stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients from the saucepan and stir well to combine. Spray the sheet tray with non-stick coating, spread out the granola mixture, and return to oven another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool at room temperature 5-10 minutes before breaking and placing in an airtight food container.