Hi. Can you provide the complete recipe. I like the idea of using yogurt. My neighbor makes her own yougurt and it's not that hard.
I'm sorry. I mispelled your user name. Rosesinny
Carla....tell me how your neighbor makes her own yogurt.
I just put together some flour and water. I want to catch that natural yeast and see how this kind of starter does. I have yogurt but it is all flavored. Wonder if a bit of sour cream would be the same as yogurt???
OK folks. Yogurt is real real simple. You take some milk, put a little yogurt in it, and leave it in a warm place. The way I did it as a kid was to heat up some milk and then let it cool to room temp. I would put it in a jar and put a small spoonful of plain yogurt in it, then put it in an oven and leave the light on to provide a bit of heat. Any warm place will really work - on top of the fridge, etc. After about 8 - 10 hours, you have yogurt. You can also use some sour cream if you don't have plain yogurt. The idea is to use one that has live cultures in it, not something that has a lot of gelatin, etc. Dannon used to be the best but now it's really wierd - the stuff on the bottom is like plastic and there is a lot of gelatin and other stuff in it. But I think it would still work.
There used to be a Greek restaurant that I went to about 20 years ago - they would just put out a few dozen bowls at night and next morning when they came in, they would have bowls of yogurt. You got a bowl with your dinner. I always wondered about the cockroaches, but never really asked. There used to be these yogurt makers you could buy - the heating element that they used, at least some of them, was a light bulb.
Incidentally, this is the same way you make creme fraiche. Take heavy cream, get it cultured, and you can even whip that. It's going to have a tangy edge that's really great. I use it to make chocolate truffles or anything else requiring heavy cream.
And if you want to make something pretty interesting, take that yogurt and drain it in a cheesecloth or even a coffee filter. That's true cream cheese without the starch and gelatin, etc. You can make it out of goat milk too. In France and Lebanon and other countries, they take that cheese, form it into little balls, and put them in olive oil for keeping. You can mince some garlic or herbs and fold in if you like. But beware - first time I did that, the balls actually fermented in the olive oil and became the size of tennis balls. Apparently that was an ancient middle Eastern treat, but I didn't like it.
So as far as the flour and water - remember that yeast is all around us. It's on grapes and they will naturally ferment if you pick a bunch of them and put them into some kind of container. It's also on apples, plums, etc., and I think it's also on wheat, simply because it's all over in the air.
So what I have found most successful is to use stone ground whole wheat flour and I put a piece of fresh apple peel in it. I read that somewhere and it seems to work, but I honestly don't know if it's necessary or not. I suspect it isn't required at all. You take the flour and water and mix it into the consistency of a batter and then put it in a crockery or glass bowl and pretty much leave it alone. After a day or so the flour will settle and will have a film of water on it. IF that dries off, just add a little more.
In anywhere from three to six days, you will have a bubble or a few bubbles showing. They start in one area and gradually spread. That means you have some yeast. Whether it came from the flour or the air is a matter of debate. If you don't get a yeast, start again. The problem with these yeasts, and it's a big one, is that you never know how good that yeast will be for bread. Some of them stink more than others, some are pretty much like commercial yeasts and I kind of think that's probably what they are - just floating around.
I usually use about a cup or so of flour, but I've never really measured it out. I guess it would be about a one to one ratio - flour to water. I think the stone ground whole wheat is best just because there may be some yeast carried on that too. But I did start some bread just using white flour.
The thing is, it's kind of fun to see what you'll get, so if your yeast doesn't work well, you can always try again. And then there's a subculture of nutty sourdough people who trade the stuff. There are strains all over - you can get one that was carried out on the Oregon trail, or buy them from Austria, Italy, etc.
The bacteria that works with the yeast is as unique as the yeast is and that is in fact what gives a lot of the flavor to the dough. These also are all over the place and you never know exactly what you're going to get.
If you guys are really interested in this stuff, here is a source for some starter cultures from all over the world. If you get a cool yeast yourself, you might want to pass it on. Either keep it alive as Deb has mentioned, or you can spread it on a plastic, let it dry, and mail that off. Most of the yeast cells will die, but some won't and that's all you need. Remember, in Instant Yeast, almost 70 percent of the yeast cells are actually dead.
I used to post on this board many years ago and went away for a while. Not sure if it was so smart to return! Sorry for the length of this post! Good luck all!
Here is a link that might be useful: A place to get various sourdough starters
Rosesinny, can't I start a starter myself. I don't really want to "order" one. Thank you for the info. My neighbor just simmer her milk for a while and puts it in a ceramic crock to sit for a while. I believe she does add some yogurt also. There is a greek yogurt that is available to me that I would use and feel okay about it. It's not the watered down American version.
Great information, now you've got me interested in baking bread, that's quite an accomplishment. ; ) Sounds like fun chemistry in the kitchen, but I'm kind of glad you never asked about the cockroaches...
How's your knee doing?
Carla - that's exactly how the Greek guys always made it. Simmer it, let it cool, and then add a little bit of some cultured yogurt or sour cream. I forgot to mention that for $2.50, you got a bowl of yogurt, some rice, some green beans, and a lamb head. It was actually 1/2 of a little lamb head on your plate. They taught me that the inside of the jaw had the best meat. Never really saw it anywhere else and now they're closed . . .
Catkim - not good. I've stopped running and try to bike about 12 miles a day but it's really not the same and after years of running I feel sluggish. Doc says there's a tiny tear in the meniscus and otherwise everything is fine so I'm not sure that I can't run.