It’s aLIIIIVVVVVEEEE!!!!!!!!! (Yogurt, Filmjolk, and getting cultured)
Whenever I think I’m doing something sort of cool and innovative, it seems as though all the cool kids have gotten there before me.
Nonetheless, huge thanks to Brandislee at Crunchy Thrifty Cool for posting about her following the Nourished Kitchen’s lessons on “How to Ferment Anything,” which is an e-course on….well…how to ferment anything. Yogurt, cheese, pickles, sourdough–you name it, if it’s fermented and delicious, she’s probably got directions on there. (Except wine. I don’t see wine in there.)
As it happens, I have just made my first few batches of Filmjolk, a Swedish kind of yogurt that’s a little less sour than the yogurt we’re used to, and which cultures right on the counter without having to mess with crockpots, thermoses, and/or thermometers to get it to do its thing. I bought my starter, activated it, and am proceeding to make additional batches. (I posted in more detail at the Green Phone Booth, over the past two Mondays; the first post is here, and the second is here.) It’s lovely and creamy and mild, and if I keep remembering to make more, these cultures should last literally indefinitely.
I was talking to a friend about this, and honestly I think she was a little skeeved out about it–because the fact is, what we’re talking about is creating an environment where particular bacteria–that is, you know, GERMS–are able to thrive and multiply and do their little bacteria reproduction thing and take over the milk and turn it into something thick and gloppy. I mean, seriously, that’s what yogurt is. Wine is when another species of those little germy guys goes through the juice and eats up all the sugar, and turns it into alcohol. And then there was that time I bought the gallon of fresh cider but didn’t drink it quickly enough; the plastic bottle started to swell a little bit, and so we had this nice carbonated lightly alcoholic hard cider to drink for a while. Sauerkraut–yup, bacteria. Vinegar. Sour cream. Beer. That’s what these foods are–one substance into which bacteria is invited so that it can turn it into something else even more delicious and/or healthful. (Okay, sour cream and beer, maybe not that healthful, but work with me here…)
Admittedly, a lot of the fermented/cultured food we eat is done doing its thing and the germs have died, like with wine where all the sugar is just gone and the little fermentygerms starved to death (hopefully happy and drunk). Sourdough bread ferments only until it is baked; the heat kills the culture. But yogurt–yup, it’s all alive and multiplying in there even as you eat it. And that’s a good thing, because our insides are also alive, and need those healthy bacteria to keep our systems happy and doing what they need to. A healthy population of good bacteria is what keeps the bad ones out and leaves them no room to take hold. We’ve become accustomed to the mentality that germs=evil, and it’s just not true. We just need to find out who our friends are. And eat more of them.
(Wait…that came out wrong.
You know what I mean.)
I have now eaten a total of maybe a quart and a half of my Filmjolk over the past week and a half. I’m still alive. My insides feel just fine, thank you. And it’s a really lovely breakfast, especially for those mornings (which for me are most of them) when my stomach just isn’t into the idea of consuming anything big and heavy and solid. A little yogurt and some fruit, or some jam stirred in, or a little honey and cinnamon…delicious. Also for those nights when I come home late from a rehearsal or performance and am just a little hungry–it’s quick and easy and not too heavy on the stomach.
The next batch will probably go onto the counter tonight. And I’ll have it for breakfast tomorrow.
I may save a little tupperware container of it for my slightly freaked-out friend, so she can know what she’s missing.