I eagerly plunge my spoon into my bowl. My excitement is particularly keen. I have anxiously awaited this moment for many weeks. With a quick movement of my hand, I stir my first good batch of yogurt into a smooth consistency. My spoon filled, I hold it up in front of me. The yogurt is thick and creamy. I open my mouth and slide it in, savoring its luminescent flavor—freshly made yogurt with organic milk from pasture-grazed cows—with just a hint of tartness. It’s heavenly.
As you read this, you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just yogurt.” Well, while it may be just yogurt, it’s a food that I consume every day for breakfast so it’s really important to me. And I recently made a shocking discovery. After rereading the nutritional label of my no-longer-favorite brand of yogurt, I learned the sugar content jumped from and 28 grams of sugar to 34 grams. 34 grams! Is that really necessary? While I already knew I was eating my dessert for breakfast, I just couldn’t believe the manufacturer increased the sugar content even more. For those of you who may not know, 34 grams of sugar on a nutritional label translates into over 8 teaspoons in just one serving. Shocking, I know.
It’s well known by all who know me that I love making things I could easily buy. Lotion, kombucha, almond butter, mustard, you name it. While I enjoy the products I successfully concoct on the first try, it’s the challenging ones like this yogurt that are the most satisfying. I started out by buying what I thought was a foolproof culture. After several failed attempts and many adjustments, I just gave it up. Even after doing my research and consulting with experts, I couldn’t figure out why my yogurt became a mess of curds and whey. Or was thin and runny. Or was just not that great tasting.
Then I was inspired by my first taste of yogurt in France. I was hooked and desperate for more. A dear friend who knew of my dilemma gave me two books, The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Armed with these two resources and a yogurt made with a French culture, I tried yet again. And then it happened—magic!
Through an ordinary experience such as yogurt making, I was offered an opportunity supported by inspiration and serendipity to learn, practice, and grow my skills in the kitchen. And savor the flavors of my creation.