ERIN HARNER: Hello and welcome. My name is Erin Harner. I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist with Cornell Wellness. So I'm here today to present three different recipes for fermented foods. So who's excited to learn how to make fermented foods at home?
Yay! Awesome! I'm glad that you're as excited about it as I am. As you might have read in the description, I'm an avid fermenter. I ferment all sorts of things at home.
I find it fun, I find it interesting. Sometimes it doesn't work, and that's OK. The more you experience this, the more you practice, the more failures you'll have and you'll just learn from your mistakes and do something differently next time. So I want to start with that. If it doesn't work, keep trying.
It doesn't mean you screwed up, it just means that something happened that it wasn't supposed to happen. So the recipes that we have today are pretty foolproof. I promise. They're really easy. They all have about two ingredients.
And they're going to be really simple. And you'll see today just how simple it is to make these things at home. So we're going to start with yogurt, we're going to move on to sauerkraut, and then we're going to make a kombucha. Who has made yogurt at home before? Anybody?
OK, great. So we have a few of you. Wonderful. Hopefully after today's demo, you will see just how easy it is to make yogurt at home. It's really, really simple.
All you need is two ingredients. So let's just jump in and get started. And as we go along, I'll tell you a little bit about the benefits of fermented foods. Why we might want to eat them, what the different strains are, that kind of thing. But we'll go ahead and get this started just because it's going to take a few minutes to get our milk up to temperature.
OK, so if you have your recipes in front of you, the first thing that we're going to do is pour one quart of milk in a heavy bottom pot. So I'm going to shake up the milk and we're going to use our measuring cup and put four cups or one quart in this pot. We have a little bit of foam spillover.
SPEAKER 1: Question about the milk. Does it matter if it's ultra-pasteurized? I know some things like cheese, they say it should be raw or just regular pasteurized, but not ultra.
ERIN HARNER: So ultra-pasteurization will still work with this. What we're going to do first with the yogurt is we're going to heat it to 180 degrees. So what that's going to do is it's going to denature the milk proteins so that it doesn't separate when we put it in our yogurt maker. All right. So we're going to turn on the heat to medium high and put in all four cups of our milk.
And as you can see here, I'm using whole milk. I have a 1 and 1/2-year-old at home, so we tend to use whole milk for yogurt. You can also use 2%, you can use 1%, you can use nonfat. The difference between the different milks is it's going to produce different consistency of your yogurt. So the more fat there is in the milk, the creamier and thicker your yogurt is going to be.
But keep in mind, if you use 2%, or 1%, or even nonfat milk, it still has the protein in there, which is going to gel. OK? That's what denatures. And that's why we're heating it to 180 degrees to start. What you'll find with the lower fat yogurts is that they're going to separate a little bit more than the full fat yogurt, and that's totally fine.
Does anybody like Greek yogurt or Greek-style yogurt? OK, many of you. You can actually make Greek yogurt at home. So you can use this recipe. And all you have to do to take this recipe and turn it into Greek yogurt is strain it.
It's really quite simple. So I can show you or tell you about the process to do that at the end. It's really, really quite simple to do. So what you'll see here is I have this pot on medium high heat, and I have a candy thermometer. So you really need a thermometer so you can tell what temperature the milk comes to.
We don't want to heat it much about 180 degrees, but 180 degrees will get to the right temperature to kill all of the pathogens or potential problematic bacteria that might be in your culture. So we're going to kill any bacteria that might be in there, and then we're going to cool it to about 110 degrees. And then we're going to add our yogurt. And that's really all there is to making yogurt. So it's quite simple.
So right now, it's slowly coming up to temperature, so we're going to just grab a spoon and give it a stir. And you can use a wooden spoon, a metal spoon. Doesn't really matter as long as it's clean. All right. So while our yogurt or milk's coming up to temperature, it's a good opportunity to talk a little bit about some different benefits of probiotics and probiotic foods.
All right. All right. So we'll just keep an eye on this. So some of the advantages of eating fermented foods is that they contain probiotics. So many of us take probiotic capsules for our gut health.
Your gut microbiome has about five pounds of bacteria and fungi and other genetic material in your gut. Might sound a little bit gross, but it's a really, really important aspect of your immune system, your health, your nutrition. Believe it or not, the bacteria in your gut actually ferments the foods that you eat to produce certain vitamins, like vitamin B-12, folate, and many of the other B vitamins as well. Also produces vitamin K, which is really, really important for blood coagulation, that you can't really get from food.
It comes from the bacteria in your gut, which may sound a little gross, but it's a really, really, really important part of health. And the more and more we learn about the gut microbiome, the more we learn about the different strains of bacteria and their effect on health, and chronic disease, and obesity, and heart disease, and cancer, and all of these other things have a gut microbiome link. So why on earth might we want to eat fermented foods? Can anybody help me out?
SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE] microbiome?
ERIN HARNER: Say that again.
SPEAKER 2: To regulate our microbiome?
ERIN HARNER: Sure, yeah. Absolutely. To add more good bacteria to our microbiome, absolutely.
SPEAKER 3: They taste good.
ERIN HARNER: They taste good, yeah. Fermented foods are one of those things that have been around for thousands and thousands of years. It was one of the early ways of preservation. So back 2,000, 3,000-- at least 3,000 years ago, people learned that when you're transporting milk and you put it in a bladder that's made of, like, stomach lining, for example, of a sheep. What they learned is that the milk essentially ferments and turns into this yummy substance that doesn't go bad.
So the enzymes in that and the bacteria fermented the milk to make yogurt. So that was the very, very, very early yogurt. So cultures have been making fermented foods for thousands and thousands of years as an early preservation method. And today, we eat them more because they taste delicious and also because they're just a great way to preserve food, and also a great way to get healthy bacteria into your gut. So one of the other fun facts about the Western diet, so the more processed foods that we eat, the more sugar we eat, the further away we get from cultural, traditional foods, we lose diversity of bacteria in our gut.
So the strains become fewer and fewer. We may still have the same quantity, but we have a lot less diversity. So one of the huge advantages of eating fermented foods is that it increases the diversity or the number of different types of strains of bacteria, and some yeasts as well, in our gut to help our immune system and prevent chronic disease. So there's some really cool things about fermented foods. Now I'm going to just ditch the health benefits because they taste delicious too, OK?
So you can see our milk is coming up to temperature. I'm going to give it a little stir. We're at about 150 degrees, we've got about 30 degrees more to go. And you can see that it's steaming. We really don't want it to boil and you don't want it to scorch.
So as you'll see in your ingredients, you want to stir it once in a while just to make sure that it doesn't scorch and that it mixes around nicely. OK. So on the back of your handout, I'll also tell you about a couple other resources that I put on there. So you will see that there are-- got all my papers mixed up-- you'll see some additional resources that I wanted to do include for you because there's lots of different ways you can learn more about fermented foods. So one of my favorite books on fermented foods is called Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin.
It's not the most popular fermented foods book, but it's loaded with really great pictures and step-by-step guides. So this is sauerkraut, for example. So he shows you how to cut the sauerkraut, different methods for making it, exactly how long to knead it for, massage it, how to get away with less salt. So there's lots of different variations. So there's some great books out there that can help you if you're really getting into fermented foods.
So this is a great one. Another really popular one is The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. It's probably the most popular fermentation book out there. It has far fewer pretty pictures, so I like this one better. But everything from sauerkraut to fermented vegetables to making your own mead, or beer, or hard cider, it's all in here.
So I'll actually pass that around if you guys want to take a look. And there's some papers in there that are full of my notes when I make something and a batch doesn't work, or I want to change it, I always make some notes in the book to make sure I remember for next time. So there's kombucha and kimchi and all sorts of notes in there. So if pieces of paper fall out, just pick them up for me. Let's check on our milk here.
Oh, we surpassed 180 degrees by just a wee bit. It's about 190. That's OK. So we're going to move it off the burner and let it cool.
So we'll give it a stir. And we're just going to let this cool. It's going to take a little time, so we're going to move on to our sauerkraut while this is cooling.
SPEAKER 4: Is it OK to speed the cooling by putting it in a different container, or ice water, or--
ERIN HARNER: You can do that, yup. You absolutely can. One of the best ways to do it is just getting a big, large stainless steel bowl of ice water and just plunge it in the ice water and it'll cool a lot faster. Just make sure as you do that, you stir it pretty well. Stir it frequently so that it doesn't curdle or separate as it's cooling.
All right, so let's check on our milk. All right. So we've actually come down to about 110 degrees, so that was very good timing. So we're going to come back to the yogurt recipe.
SPEAKER 5: [INAUDIBLE].
ERIN HARNER: Say that again?
SPEAKER 5: If you drop too far below 110, would you have to come back up?
ERIN HARNER: Yeah, you can heat it back up. Or as long as it's above 100, don't worry about it. If it's a little bit below 110. Even 115 is typically fine. Between 100 degrees and 115 degrees is the proper temperature for the cultures in yogurt to ferment and to do their job.
If it gets too far below that, they're just going to ferment very, very slowly, or not at all. So we're going to take out our thermometer and we've got our nice milk. And I did stir it occasionally. There's no skin on the top of this milk. Sometimes if you just let it be and you don't touch it, you'll have a skin layer on the top of the milk.
So it's nice to just stir it. And if you do get a skin layer, just take it off or mix it in. Either way's fine, you just might get a few lumps. OK. All right, so the next thing we're going to do is essentially inoculate our milk with yogurt.
So you can use a yogurt starter, if you would like. But the easier, less expensive, more easily available option is to just get some yogurt-- not flavored or sugared yogurt, just plain yogurt of whatever variety you really enjoy-- that has live and active cultures in it. So that's the key.
So I tend to look for yogurt that has multiple different live and active cultures in the yogurt. So this has acidophilus, bifidus, and L. casei. So it has three different strains of bacteria. So I know Beth and I spoke-- Beth really likes to use, what kind of yogurt?
ERIN HARNER: Just plain, old Dannon. So find the yogurt that you like to eat and the yogurt that you make at home will give you a similar flavor because the flavor of the yogurt is dictated by the bacterial strains in the yogurt and the milk that you use. So I'm just going to put a quarter cup of the yogurt in and add it right into the mixture.
SPEAKER 6: [INAUDIBLE] it can't have any sugar in it?
ERIN HARNER: No sugar. It needs to be plain.
SPEAKER 6: Plain.
ERIN HARNER: Yup, plain. Having extra sugar in the yogurt when you add it is not so great. It's going to change the fermentation process, so you want to make sure that it's plain yogurt, just yogurt. OK. Now what we're going to do is take some jars.
So there's many, many different ways to do this once you get to this step. If you don't have a yogurt maker which, again, is like the kraut pounder, is a single purpose tool, which I'm not a huge fan of in the kitchen because they take up space and they may get used once in a while. So if you don't have a yogurt maker, that's OK. As you'll see on your recipe, there's many different ways to make yogurt. So this is the easiest, the quickest, the least hands-on, but there are many different ways.
For example, if you have a programmable crock pot, you can set the crock pot to 110 degrees with some water in the bottom and that will give you a good, reliable, consistent yogurt. I'm going to pour it in here and save myself some spilling. OK. So now what you're going to do is make about one cup at a time into your cups. And you can use yogurt cups that come with the yogurt maker.
You can use mason jars. This is a half pint mason jar. One half pint mason jar is one cup, which is a serving of yogurt, a typical serving of yogurt. All right. You can also ferment the whole batch together.
So if I left all of the mixture in this pan, I could put the lid on, wrap it in some towels, and put it in an oven with either a pilot light on or just the oven light on. That's another way to do it. You can fill up some hot water bottles or some jars with hot water and put them in a cooler chest.
SPEAKER 7: Does fermenting change the lactose for the people that are lactose intolerant?
ERIN HARNER: That's a great question. Yeah. So fermentation absolutely changes the lactose content of the product. So many people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate dairy because much of the lactose has been fermented. The sugar has been essentially eaten up by the bacteria that are doing the fermenting.
So now all we're going to do is I filled up the jars. And you'll notice I did fill them a little bit less full. If you wanted to fill them more full, it would create four one cup containers, but I like to do all five. It's totally up to you. We'll put the lids on.
Put the top on. And for a yogurt maker, all you have to do is plug it in and set a timer for anywhere between six to eight hours would be the first time I would start checking the taste, see how it sets up. See if you like the flavor. If it's not quite ready to eat at that point, let it go a little bit longer.
Some people like to go up to 14, 16 hours. So the first time you do it, you want to check it every couple hours, and just take a clean spoonful, and see how you like it. If it's not ready, just let it go a little bit longer.
SPEAKER 8: I was always told you shouldn't ferment anything in metal because of the possibility of the acid leaking out [INAUDIBLE].
ERIN HARNER: That is potentially true.
SPEAKER 8: But this isn't a high enough concentration.
ERIN HARNER: No, also until it gets extremely acidic, milk products are quite basic. So you're probably not going to have that problem if you're doing milk fermentation. It would be more of a problem if you're doing vegetables, especially acidic vegetables. So all we're going to do now is just turn this on. That's it.
That's all you'll have to do to make yogurt. It's going to come out and it's going to be ready to go. I did this at home in a programmable crock pot. So this is another way to do it.
You can do it in larger jars, you can do it in quart jars, you have so many options when it comes to making yogurt. So don't feel like you need specialized equipment just to make yogurt. You can do it at home with what you already have, I promise.
SPEAKER 5: So that thing is just maintaining the temperature at 110 degrees?
ERIN HARNER: All this does-- there's no temperature control, there's no controls at all. You just plug it in and it maintains the temperature at 110 degrees. That's all you do.
SPEAKER 9: But how do you control the flavor? Because there's Greek yogurt, which tastes [INAUDIBLE].
ERIN HARNER: Bingo. Yup. So how do you control the flavor? So I mentioned that a little bit, but I'll mention a little bit more thoroughly as I clean this up. So how you control the flavor of the yogurt depends on the milk that you use, the yogurt that you use.
So I used Nancy's Organic Yogurt for the batch that you guys are going to try. I used this Wegman's plain, low fat yogurt for this batch. So the yogurt that you use is one way. If you plan to make Greek yogurt, use Greek yogurt as your starter.
That way the cultures in the yogurt are going to give the flavor of the Greek yogurt once you strain it. So I did promise I would share with you how to make Greek yogurt. So let me just set these aside and I'll do that.
SPEAKER 10: Does the size of the jar that you pour it in make a difference in terms of how long it takes?
ERIN HARNER: No. As long as the temperature is controlled at about 110 degrees-- remember it started at 110 degrees and then we're going to keep it at 110 degrees. So as long as it's kind of at about 100 degrees, the size of the container doesn't matter at all.
SPEAKER 11: How could you make fruited yogurt?
ERIN HARNER: So fruited yogurt, I actually don't recommend making fruited yogurt. If, at this point, you want to flavor your yogurt, add some maple syrup, add some sugar, add some fruit, do it at this point. Mix it in, stick it in the fridge. It's really simple. I actually recommend just leaving it alone and when you scoop it into your bowl or eat it out of your container, just adding some fruit, or some jam, or something at that point.
So it's up to you. Personal preference. So how do you make Greek yogurt is the real question, OK? So to make Greek yogurt, all you're going to do is you're going to take the yogurt that you just made and you're going to put it in a wire mesh strainer with some cheesecloth inside. Then you're going to stick it in a bowl and put it in the refrigerator.
And it's going to strain over time, between four and eight hours. It'll take it for the whey to drip out of the bottom. And then you just take the cheese cloth and you put it back into a jar. And you'll have probably about half the quantity that you started with, but you'll have strained Greek yogurt. That's all there is to Greek yogurt, is you're just draining off much of the whey.
SPEAKER 12: Can you use the whey from the yogurt to start fermentation on other products?
ERIN HARNER: Yes, that's a great question. So one really great starter, for vegetables in particular, is using the whey from a fresh cultured yogurt. So you can just add that bacterial, that bacteria that's in the whey, about a tablespoon or two into your vegetable ferment. And that'll make a really nice starter if you're going to use something that's a little bit more temperamental to ferment, liked carrots or beets that have a higher sugar content.
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