Mmmmm. Fresh yogurt. Crunchy granola. Boo Berries.

BUT, before I go into all of that crazy goodness, I’d like to express my GINORMOUS thanks to all that voted for this blog in the Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards. Voting is closed and the winners will be announced on May 3rd. If you voted, it was very generous and kind of you, if you didn’t, I get that too; signing up to vote in a contest is not everyone’s cup-o-tea. I’m just delighted that you take the time to read my funny little country-living/food-loving diary. It’s a labour of love.

I really must say that I am especially grateful to Bord Bia {the Irish food board}, Marie-Claire Digby of the Irish Times, The Irish Farmer’s Journal and Irish Country Mag, along with the amazing food and blogging community in Ireland who shared an overwhelming show of support in getting the word out about this nomination. If there is one thing I have noticed that Ireland does with great pride and enthusiasm, it is supporting the people, places or things they believe in. To receive this gesture of support as an American living in Ireland is something to relish; it is heartwarming and very special to say the least. Plus, it goes a long way in making an oft homesick expat feel right at home, and that is enough of a win for me! Thank you.

I apologise for not having a post up sooner. As luck would have it, we’ve had sketchy internet. I am not going to flannel on about it, because we are lucky that we even have a fast internet connection most of the time. This was not always the case. When I moved here just a few years ago, there was dial-up. The kind where you hear the dial tone and worse-than-nails-on-a-blackboard screeching sounds. Now, we have wi-fi, but the router is located in the cowshed at the upper farmyard because it picks up a better signal from there. Which is brilliant, until rains too much {cough} we don’t get a signal. Yes, it rains fairly often. (see Fair Weather Friend)

So. Homemade yogurt. Something I probably would have never dreamed of attempting, but when you have an Irish dairy on your doorstep and the nearest supermarket is 3/4’s of an hour away, it makes no sense whatsoever NOT to milk it. This post is not groundbreaking. There are already bags of other food blogs + websites featuring DIY yogurt. It’s like a bubbling pot of live bacteria out there. So, I am not going to claim that my version is the best, but I do know that our 6 year old prefers it over fromage frais which is nothing short of monumental. I personally think the trick is vanilla bean. Takes down that tang.

And, besides the cracking taste; other mightly fine reasons for making your own yoghurt are:

  1. It’s healthier as it contains no extra preservatives, sugars or additives {i.e. gobbledy-gook}
  2. It’s less expensive {even if you’re not farming}
  3. It’s friendlier to the environment {no trees will be harmed}

As far as the granola, it’s as simple as A. my go-to gorgeous Kilbeggan Oats roasted with B. my beekeeping father-in-law’s happy honey, and C. a few other nutty & seedy bits and bobs thrown in for good measure. Of course, you can use any brand of oats and honey from the shop or market. Easy peasy.

Sharing these recipes can only mean I’ve formally become “crunchy” right?  Okay, maybe halfsies; I did go out to a fancy city dinner wearing makeup and Michael Kors last week, so perhaps I’m just a partial granola girl.

Either way, I’m down with it.

Are you?

Farmhouse Yoghurt

2 Liters or 1/2 gallon of milk

(I use full fat from our dairy for a delightfully creamy result,

but you can buy organic milk of any fat content from the

market as well)

125 ml/ ½ cup of plain yogurt

(to be used a starter, store-bought & must have “live bacteria

cultures” on label)

1 teaspoon vanilla pod seeds

Stainless steel saucepan

Candy Thermometer

Over low heat, slowly bring the milk up to 77°C/170°F in saucepan with a candy thermometer. Do not allow the milk to boil at any time. Once your milk reaches 77°C/170°F, turn off the heat and bring the temperature back down to 43°C/110°F. Once your milk has reached 43°C/110°F, stir a little bit of the warm milk into the 125 ml/½ cup of plain yogurt.

Pour the milk and yogurt mixture into to the saucepan and gently stir them together. Stir in vanilla seeds.

Now it is time to incubate the yogurt. You will need to keep it at a temperature of about 110°F for the next 4-10 hours. The length of time will depend on how thick and tangy you want your yogurt. The longer it sits at this warm temperature, the firmer and tangier it will get. Check the yogurt at the 4 hour mark for a taste and texture test, if you are pleased you can move onto chilling.

I recommend putting the lid onto the saucepan of yogurt, wrapping it up in towels and placing into an oven which was preheated to 50°C/120°F and then turned off. (You can try to maintain the heat in the oven by leaving the light on, which can generate enough heat to keep the yogurt active, but I find keeping the pan cosy in towels should do the trick). All ovens are not the same so play it by ear. I have also read about using a crock-pot, heating pad or, of course, a yogurt maker as well.

When the desired time is up, place the yogurt in the fridge to chill. After the yogurt is completely chilled, stir. There may be a film over the top, which you can eat or simply remove. Pour yogurt into airtight containers and store. (remember to save some to use as your next starter.) Then poon into a dish, cover in granola & fresh berries and DEVOUR.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen x

Photos and Styling by Imen McDonnell 2012

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19 Responses to “Farmhouse Yogurt + Granola”

  1. Deirdre says:

    Hi Imen,
    This sounds amazing! One of my favourite breakfasts! I was just wondering, roughly how long do you this this yoghurt would keep in the fridge?
    Thanks Dee x

  2. 内容很全面啊。不错,感觉挺专业的啊!

  3. Valeria says:

    I just found your blog looking for soda breads and I just love it all! I will make this granola recipe right now as I can’t resist, and your soda bread too! So nice to e-meet you, I’ll follow your posts from now on. Keep up with the good work.

  4. I’ve been wanting to make homemade yogurt forever! This looks great!

  5. Jill says:

    This looks great and I definitely want to try it! How long does your homemade yogurt usually last in the fridge?

  6. Ohhhh how I love your blog. And all the yum recipes. And photos. I want to move to Ireland now. NOW. haha.
    You do such a fab job on your blog, keep up the great work. So beautiful !!
    Lynne xx

  7. Krista says:

    I’m so glad you tried AND succeeded at this! 🙂 My dear friend Ann – an amazing Aussie who can make pretty much anything from scratch – is going to teach me how to make yogurt soon. I can’t wait. 🙂

  8. Mary says:

    Looks delicious and one that I’ll be trying soon – especially this summer when I get my supply of fresh wild Maine Blueberries! They are to die for! I love how you packaged it up in the canning jar too!

  9. I made several jars of granola for my daughter last week. She’s just had her first baby and I figured that, as well as being delicious, granola with linseeds is great internal medicine for her first few post-natal weeks. As always, your photos are beguiling and beautiful.

    • imen says:

      Thank you Catherine, beguiling…..very nice thing to say. Linseeds sound like a great addition as well! xx

  10. So glad to read this. I tried making yogurt this week and it didn’t work (made great bread though). I think, from what you say I must have let the temp drop. I put in warming cupboard, but no heating on during the day. I’m encouraged to try again using your oven method. Thanks.

    • imen says:

      Hi Sally, the heating bit is important so that could be it….let me know how you get on! Thanks for your comment, look forward to seeing you at Inishfood! xx

  11. Chrisina says:

    I just started food blogging last autumn, and I wanted to say that I love your blog! I’m from Scotland, and went to Ireland for the first time 3 years ago…I just wish I could get back more often, but blogs and websites like yours can help keep me connected 🙂 And yes, I voted for you! Christina

  12. Sinéad says:

    As ever Imen, YUM! Being honest, not a huge fan of natural yogurt but the addition of vanilla pod seeds makes it sounds very, very acceptable. Hoping the 3rd May brings lovely news for your blog!!!! Best wishes Sinéad

    • imen says:

      Thanks Sinéad! I’m not crazy about the flavour of natural yogurt either, hence the flavouring…you can use fruits, honey as well, just fold in after the yogurt has set. Really appreciate your kind words of support.xx

  13. Commercialized granola- and- yogurt is so delish … What to say about the homemade one? SINFUL — it’d be perhaps the proper word. Thanks for sharing these simple but yet comfy and delicious recipes here. I’m so craving them now. xx

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