Back in the '70s, I was into making yogurt.
I had a gallon-size electric yogurt maker, and it was so simple to use. I just heated up a gallon of milk, added some yogurt (store-bought or from another batch I had previously made) and plugged in the machine overnight. The next morning, the milk had turned into creamy yogurt. After chilling, it was ready to eat.
That gallon of homemade yogurt made a lot of quick, nutritious frozen snacks. My children loved them, and we were especially fond of boysenberry frozen yogurt.
Over time, the kids went off to college, and I didn't have much need to make a gallon of yogurt at a time. So in the late '80s, I sent the machine to Goodwill. Recently I spotted a stoneware 2-in-1 yogurt maker and slow cooker online at vitaclaychef.com that looked like just the ticket for empty-nesters. What I liked about it was that I could make about 2 quarts of yogurt. And I liked the idea of having a smaller slow cooker. It has turned out to be perfect.
Using nonfat milk, I can make standard-style yogurt, Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese. It's super easy. Just heat 2 quarts of milk in the microwave on high for about 10 minutes until the milk reaches 180 degrees. Let it cool to 110 degrees. Pour a little of the milk into the yogurt maker container. Stir in 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt and add the remaining cooled milk, mixing thoroughly. Cover the pot with the lid and switch the timer to "Yogurt." Let it cook for five to eight hours. When it's done, spoon the creamy yogurt into containers or leave it in the stoneware pot and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 10 days.
You'll notice that the whey separates from the more solid yogurt. If you want creamier, tangy Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese, use a strainer or cheesecloth to separate even more of the watery whey from the yogurt.
By the way, whey is nutritious, so don't discard it. Milk has two proteins: casein and whey protein. Whey protein is more soluble than casein. In its purest form, it contains little or no fat, lactose or cholesterol.
One of its characteristics is outstanding for weight loss. It stimulates the building of muscles, which helps to increase one's metabolic rate. Adding whey protein to a snack or a beverage provides energy and might help control food intake.
And, of course, the health benefits of yogurt are great, too. It's a terrific source of calcium and protein. It has probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that live in your digestive tract and help keep disease-causing germs at bay.
Now that I'm back in the business of making yogurt, I'm also in the business of making my own fro-yo. One of my new favorite flavors is Tart 'n' Tangy Fro-Yo. Believe it or not, it only takes two ingredients: 4 cups of plain nonfat yogurt and 2/3 cup of lemon curd, which I buy at Willy's British Emporium, 2403 W. Colorado Ave., in Old Colorado City. I like to top it with an apricot sauce.
Both recipes follow. You will need an ice cream maker for the frozen yogurt recipe.