Waste not ... Nat­u­ral yo­ghurt

The Guardian - Feast - - Feast - Tom Hunt

If you leave nat­u­ral yo­ghurt at room tem­per­a­ture, it won’t go off. It will start to fer­ment and thicken into a happy colony of yeast and bac­te­ria that can be used to make your own, thereby turn­ing one pot of yo­ghurt into a self-per­pet­u­at­ing cul­ture.

Buy live yo­ghurt with­out any ad­di­tives or sugar if you want all of its nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing healthy strains of pro­bi­otics such as lac­to­bacil­lus and bi­fidus, bac­te­ria es­sen­tial for our di­ges­tive sys­tem. Ig­nore the use-by date. In­stead, smell or taste it to see if it’s sour­ing and, if it is, don’t throw it away. Bake it into cakes, use as a sour dress­ing for cooked veg­eta­bles, or strain to make lab­neh, a creamy dip that’s de­lec­ta­ble served with olive oil or rolled into balls and coated with spices such as sumac or za’atar.

To make your own yo­ghurt, bring one pint of un­ho­mogenised whole milk to a boil, leave to cool to 45-50C, then stir in 50ml live yo­ghurt, pour into a flask and leave overnight to thicken. Eat while it’s fresh, set­ting aside 50ml to make your next batch.

Strained yo­ghurt lab­neh balls

Set a sieve over a bowl and line with a clean tea towel. Sea­son some live yo­ghurt with a touch of salt, pour into the sieve and leave overnight at room tem­per­a­ture, or un­til it is set and very firm. (Drink the whey, which will have sep­a­rated into the bowl, or use it to make soda bread farls.) Serve the lab­neh as a dip, or roll it into balls and store in olive oil where it will keep for a month or longer. Coat the balls in dif­fer­ent herbs and spices to serve.

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