Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to make your own gluten-free yogurt

Recently, a friend pointed out an old episode of Good Eats on youtube with Alton Brown that shows step by step how to make your own yogurt, yogurt cheese and finally frozen yogurt.

I had to try it! The idea of controlling all of the ingredients and knowing where it all came from was fabulous. I used my normal low fat plain Stonyfield yogurt for the starter cultures.

After 3 days of fun, I managed to produce the yogurt cheese and the lemon, ginger frozen yogurt. All of it was as delicious as promised and gluten free. However, I found out that the plain yogurt has twice the calories of my normal yogurt. So, I will have to eat it sparingly.

Still it was a fun experiment and I may repeat it with 1% or skim milk and see how it all tastes then. To keep my yogurt at a stable temperature, I got a large cooler, lined it with electric blankets and then had lids for both the yogurt container and the cooler. This way, I could fine tune the temperature of the yogurt.

This was a highly entertaining process with a tasty result. People with kids who eat gluten-free might want to try this as well.

Fresh yogurt:


  • 1 quart 2-percent milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1 to 2 tablepoons honey
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature


Pour milk into small saucepan and whisk in powdered milk and honey. Place over medium heat and bring to 120 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Once milk has reached 120 degrees F, pour into a cylindrical plastic container, reserving 1/2 cup. Whisk in the reserved 1/2 cup into the yogurt and add back to the milk mixture.

Place container into a narrow wine bucket, lined with a heating pad. Set the heating pad to medium. Let the mixture ferment for 3 to 12 hours making sure the temperature stays as close to 115 degrees F as possible.

After fermentation is complete place into the refrigerator overnight.

Yogurt Cheese


  • 2 quarts plain yogurt


Place 4 layers of cheesecloth in colander set over a bowl. Add the yogurt and let drain overnight in the refrigerator. The desired consistency is that of soft cream cheese.

Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt


  • 8 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup sliced crystallized ginger


Place yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. At end of 12 hours, discard the liquid and cheesecloth.

In a bowl combine the drained yogurt, corn syrup, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and fresh ginger. Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and process per manufacturer's instructions, about 25 minutes. Transfer frozen yogurt to an airtight container, fold in crystallized ginger and freeze for 2 hours.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Celiac for the holidays

Here are some survival tips for the holidays:
  • Carry food with you in case you get trapped at the mall or elsewhere. Everyone else can eat at the food court, but you might be stuck.
  • If you are going to a friend's for a party, call ahead and ask if there will be food there you can eat. Either way, offer to bring a dish or two to share with everyone that is safe for you. Make sure you get your portion early so there's no danger of cross-contamination. I once watched someone dip crackers into my gluten-free pumpkin risotto.
  • Keep gluten-free crackers in the car to be whipped out at cocktail parties. I don't know how many times I've gotten overly tipsy from having wine on an empty stomach while everyone else is munching on canapes perfectly sober and not saying ridiculous things loudly.
  • Try to think ahead to the holiday favorites you're really going to miss this year and make your own gluten-free version. Even if the "normal" people don't think it's that great it might make you feel not so left out.
  • Watch out for turkeys! They often have modified food starch in them. Get a fresh turkey if possible.
  • It's not about the food. Even though food is often a focus at the holidays what really matters are the friends and the family. Plan to bring your own food to gatherings and then it will be a pleasant surprise if you can join in on some of the offered grub.