To round off my last post on yogurt, here is a tasty recipe for homemade granola. Making granola from scratch is super easy and cheap. Granola is a staple in my diet (pretty appropriate for a Berkeley dweller, huh?) and making it from scratch allows me to customize it to my taste. Plus, quality granola from the grocery store often costs $6-$10 for a small bag, which is unaffordable at the rate I consume it. This recipe costs less and will leave you with more granola than you know what to do with.
When making your granola, use whatever ingredients you like. Granola can be made using any grain (or combo of grains), nuts, spices, and dried fruit that you prefer. You can also control how sweet it is by adding more or less honey. It’s up to you to make it your own.
Basic Granola Recipe:
- 4 cups of grain flakes. (Such as oat, rye, wheat, spelt, or any other)
- 1/2 Cup of butter. (You can use more or less as desired)
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)
- 2 cups lightly chopped nuts (you choose!)
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit (really, its up to you!)
- 1/3-1/2 cup of honey
- plus anything else you want! (Such as coconut or flax seeds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a sauce pan melt the butter and mix in the spices and vanilla. In a large mixing bowl mix the grain flakes, nuts, and any additional ingredients such as flax seeds or coconut. (Do not add the dried fruit yet. You mix the fruit in after the grains and nuts have been toasted in the oven.) Pour the melted butter and spices over the grains and nuts and mix together. Make sure to coat the grains evenly. Spread the coated mixture onto a baking sheet in a thin layer. You will probably have to do two batches. Bake for 25 minutes total, stirring the ingredients halfway through.
After you remove from the oven drizzle the honey over the granola while it’s still warm. Mix to coat all the flakes. Add the dried fruit and combine. Let the granola cool completely and store in an airtight container. The granola will keep for about a month. Enjoy!
Making homemade yogurt is surprisingly simple and requires no special equipment. After reading about the advantages of homemade vs. store bought I decided to give making yogurt a try. Fresh, organic yogurt is cheaper to make than to buy and it doesn’t leave you with an unrecyclable plastic container. Homemade yogurt doesn’t have any additives, sweeteners, or thickeners like many store bought brands and it has more pro-biotic cultures which are good for digestion. Plus its fun and satisfying to make!
Convinced? Lets make yogurt!
- 1 quart of high quality milk. (Use local and organic if possible. I used whole milk but you can you 2% if you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with active cultures, or one teaspoon of powdered yogurt starter.
- Candy thermometer
- One quart mason jar
- whisk (or fork)
Step One: Pour the milk into a sauce pan and put on medium-low heat. Heat it slowly and never let it boil. Bring up to about 185 degrees F. Stir occasionally as it is heating; it should take about 15 min.
Step Two: As the milk is heating up, sterilize your mason jar and lid in boiling water. Let them air dry. Warm a large pot of water to incubate the yogurt in. The water should be 90-100 degrees F.
Step Three: Once the milk has heated to 185 degrees F, hold it at this temperature for five minutes. Then remove from heat and cool to 115 degrees F, stirring occasionally.
Step Four : Put the yogurt or starter in the bottom of the sterilized mason jar. Add about 1/2 cup of the cooled milk and whisk to blend. Add the remaining milk and stir well.
Step Five: Fasten the lid and place the jar in the pot of warm water and place the whole thing in the oven. (The light should be left on if it is an electric oven, or the pilot light if it is a gas oven.) Incubate the yogurt for 8-10 hours. Then remove from the water and refrigerate.
Step five is the most important step in the whole process. This is when the bacterial fermentation takes place which transforms the milk into yogurt. All of the prior steps were intended to kill off any other bacteria which may interfere or give the yogurt strange flavors. What you are doing is growing the bacteria lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. These bacteria ferment the lactose into lactic acid. This gives the yogurt its tart flavor. The bacteria also coagulates the milk proteins and gives yogurt its creamy texture. Its a little gross but ever so interesting. Enjoy!