What’s the deal with chalky yogurt? June 10, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: chalky yogurt, goat's milk yogurt, homemade yogurt, organic yogurt, yogurt
Silence Dogood here (again). Given a choice, I’d rather eat plain yogurt than fruit-flavored. Mind you, I’ve had some wonderful fruit-flavored yogurts and I do enjoy them; I also like vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit. But I love plain yogurt as a cooling accompaniment to savory foods. I’ll serve it with dal and curry, with dal and rice, or even (if our friend Ben is away and I don’t much feel like cooking) with rice as a decadently soothing supper. (If you have a rice cooker, make the rice by stirring butter, salt, and whole cumin seeds into the uncooked rice and water before turning on the rice cooker. Stir again before serving. Yum! If you don’t feel like making an elaborate rice dish to go with your dal and curries, this works perfectly, too.)
But there’s this thing about plain yogurt: Since it has no added flavors, you can actually taste it. I enjoy its tangy, creamy flavor, whether I’m buying Dannon or making my own. But given a choice, when I don’t have time to make it (shame on me, it’s so easy), I’d rather buy locally made yogurt and support my local economy.
Recently, I bought some goat’s-milk yogurt at a farmer’s market. Turns out, it had a strange, smoky flavor. I love goat’s-milk yogurt, even more than cow’s-milk yogurt, and had never encountered any off-flavors in goat’s-milk yogurt before. And sheesh, how did that smoky flavor get in there? Fortunately, our puppy Shiloh, who gets two tablespoons of yogurt every morning, loved the smoky yogurt and lapped up the entire carton over the course of a couple of weeks.
I really didn’t want to eat yogurt that tasted like charcoal briquettes, however, so I opened a carton of the only widely-distributed Pennsylvania yogurt I know of to eat while Shiloh was polishing off the goat’s-milk yogurt. Ugh! It tasted like chalk.
I’ve encountered chalky yogurt before, and always with the organic, regional brands. I’m here to tell you that organic yogurt shouldn’t taste like chalk. The best yogurt I ever ate—super-rich, creamy Greek-style yogurt excepted—was yogurt I made myself from raw organic milk (both cow and goat). Our CSA sells locally-made organic yogurt that’s delicious. So what’s the deal with the chalky flavor? What could make yogurt taste like that?
If anyone knows, please help me out here. It grieves me to think that small-scale yogurt-makers who are trying so hard to make a positive difference—the very folks OFB and I want to support—are making yogurt I can’t even eat. I’ve tried making chalky yogurt into yogurt cheese in the past, but the taste of chalk lingers. Yuck. (Hopefully, Shiloh won’t take exception to the chalky taste, either, so at least the yogurt won’t go to waste.)
What could give yogurt a chalky off-flavor? And how could it be that the people who make and sell the yogurt are unaware of it?
‘Til next time,