Using Over-Cultured Dairy Products

Ever let your yogurt go a little too long, or get a little too warm? I do.

Although its disappointing to have separated whey and “cottage cheese” in place of the creamy yogurt I was expecting, the curds and whey don’t have to go to waste.

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Today I’m pouring about 2 cups of whey over 2 cups of oats for use in High Protein Waffles tomorrow morning. The curds can be used as part or all of the cottage cheese in the recipe.

Other uses for over cultured yogurt or kefir:
• in a smoothie, if not over-sour
• whey can be used in small amounts in culturing vegetables such as sauerkraut (I don’t do this, preferring only salt for sauerkraut, as I can taste a slight cow or goat flavor in the product when using whey.)
• any baked recipe which calls for buttermilk, such as biscuits or pancakes. In this case, the more sour the better! It may be necessary to use all the curds and only part of the whey so the batter is not too watery, and to blend thoroughly. This presents a great opportunity to soak the grain or flour in the recipe for 12 hours or longer.
• whey can be sipped straight, as a tonic
• creamy curds can be strained and mixed with herbs for a soft cheese spread for crackers or crisp green apple
• in case of an abundance of whey, I feed it to our (lucky) cats. 🙂

What creative uses have you found for over-cultured dairy?

Gluten Free Bread/Tortillas/Buns/Pizza

I’ve been enjoying great tasting gluten free bread, tortillas, hamburger buns, pizza crusts, and flatbread, all made from one basic recipe (this makes it easier to only shop for these basic ingredients). I am using the refrigerator rise method given in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (their website is: artisanbreadinfive.com). The recipe has several modifications to make it to my liking:

Gluten Free Basic Refrigerator Dough

Whisking together the flours. This is the only picture I had for this, although I don't rise bread in a metal bowl.

in a large (6 qt +) glass, pottery, or plastic bowl, whisk together:
1 cup organic brown rice flour (decrease to 1/2 cup if making sourdough)
1 cup millet flour
1, 1/2 cups sorghum flour
3 cups tapioca flour
2 Tb. xanthan gum
1 Tb. fine sea salt
2 Tb. yeast (omit if making a sourdough)

beat slightly, then stir in with wooden spoon:
4 large eggs

melt on stove top, then add:
1/3 cup butter (may substitute coconut oil or ghee)

heat to tepid on stove top, then add in divided parts:
2, 2/3 cups filtered water (reduce to 2, 1/6 cups if using sourdough starter)
2 Tb. honey (dissolve in water)

This is my dough which has raised on the counter for 2 hours.

Continue to stir with wooden spoon until all flour is combined. Cover, and set on counter for 2 hours, or until dough has risen. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Dough is ready immediately, or develops a better flavor, great digestibility, and fewer carbohydrates with a longer “soak” during several days in the refrigerator. You will not knead the dough when removing it from the fridge, just carefully break off the amount of dough for baking.

Bread: allow to rest baking stone/bread pan for 1 hour, covered, then bake approx. 1 hour in 350 degree oven, or until the internal temperature is 200-210 degrees. Directions for crusty bread are given on the Artisan Bread In Five site. Cool completely before slicing. Yields 2 medium loaves.

Buns: Let rest 1 hour on baking pan/stone, then bake at 325 for about 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing. Yields about 12 hamburger buns.

Pizza Crust: place about 1/4 of dough on a large square of freezer paper. Cover with another square of freezer paper. Roll to the size of

Rolling a tortilla between two sheets of freezer paper.

a pizza pan, then place in freezer, for up to a month. When frozen, the crust can be removed, the paper stripped from it and immediately placed on a pizza pan or stone. It will then melt and be ready to bake by the time you have toppings on it. (I preheat my stone to 500, and bake the pizza for 10 minutes.) Yields 4 pizzas.

Flat Bread: using the freezer paper method above, roll the dough to the size of a tortilla, then fry on medium in a cast iron skillet with a Tb. of butter for each side. Yum!

Peeling the paper from a frozen tortilla; ready to cook on the stove top.

Tortillas: Omit yeast from recipe; I also reduce eggs to 1, but it works with 4 as well. Place the amount of a small fist of dough on freezer paper, cover with freezer paper, and roll to a round tortilla, just as in the method above for pizza crust.  I keep stacks of these in the freezer. Heat cast iron griddle or skillet to medium heat, then remove tortilla from freezer and paper, cook without oil for about 2 minutes, until  you can see the underside has cooked. Flip to cook other side. These are delicious and flexible! Yeild 18-20 tortillas.

My sourdough starter, developing on the countertop.

Sourdough: I have recently been making this bread recipe with a GF brown rice sourdough culture which I purchased from culturesforhealth.com. To do this, I omit the yeast, and substitute 1 cup of active sourdough starter (from a jar on my counter) for 1/2 cup of the brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of the water. All the other instructions for bread apply.

How To Soak Grains

Q:

I’m planning to make the High Protein Waffles, but I’ve never soaked grains before, and I am unclear on the process. I looked around a little on the internet, and it wasn’t much clearer. Did you separate your own whey from milk, or buy whey powder and reconstitute it, or would you suggest I just use yogurt? I haven’t even purchased the whey (or yogurt) yet, so if you have some direction on that, I’d appreciate it!

~Debra , via Facebook

A:

Soaking grains is pretty straight forward, although I know it can seem daunting at first since this practice has been all but abandoned in modern cooking. To soak my oats, I measure them into a glass bowl; you’ll want one large enough that there is some space left for the whey or yogurt. You can see my whey here in the picture.

Pour the liquid/yogurt on top of the oats and begin to incorporate with a small spoon.

Stir the wet and dry together until there aren’t any dry oats left.

Then smash them down firmly in the bowl with the back of the spoon. There shouldn’t be any pooling wet areas.

Cover with a dish towel and place on the countertop, or another warmish clean place, for 12-24 hours.

At the end of this time, you’ll notice that the oats seem to have dried out some, and are stuck into a clump which will need a little bit of breaking up before putting into the blender.

If you double or triple the recipe, you can soak all the oats together and then evenly divide them the next day after soaking. Since they are stuck together in a chunk, it’s not to hard to cut them evenly. However, I recommend only making one batch at a time (unless you have a really strong blender) as doubling the batch makes it difficult to completely blend the oats into the eggs and cottage cheese mixture.

Whey and yogurt can both be used in this recipe. If you use yogurt you’ll need to use a little more than if using whey, since it is thicker and won’t mix with the oats as freely. I often use whey just because I have it on hand when it has separated from the kefir I make continually on my countertop. If the whey hasn’t separated, I use the kefir or a plain yogurt, which is probably what you should do at this point.

Here’s a picture of oats soaked in yogurt.

These soaking agents are actually souring the oats, and the waffles will have a pleasant sourdough flavor. I think kefir makes them more sour than yogurt, but it is pretty inconsequential. The acids and bacteria in the whey/yogurt are the agents that are eating away at the sugars in the oats, and dismantling some of the anti-nutrients like phytic acid. Therefore, whey powder (protein powder) reconstituted would not work for this purpose, as it no longer has these active cultures at work.

On purchasing the yogurt: get plain, and make sure it has active cultures in it. I like the European Style Whole Milk Yogurt from Traders Joes, and while you’re there, their Small Curd Cottage Cheese seems to be a good choice (for the waffle recipe) since the side of the carton makes it sound like the cows live in a resort. 🙂
Make sure your waffle iron is fully heated before pouring in the batter. I was in a hurry when I made these a few weeks ago, and I ended up with a mess in waffle maker! :-/

The waffles freeze well after cooling, and can then be toasted for a quick snack later.