Citizens, one of the most healthful things you can ever eat are fermented foods, and by far the easiest fermented food to make is yogurt! Most yogurts require heating the product, which is both complex and actually unnecessary if you use the right kind of mesophilic bacteria starter.
Mesophilic-based yogurt cultures set at room temperature and this is quite literally the easiest recipe on the planet!
From the always-delicious wellspring of culinary delights known as TFD comes matsoni, the most healthful of all yogurts, straight from the mighty country of Georgia!
I remember reading a 1970s National Geographic story about the abundance of centenarians in ‘Soviet Georgia’, but it was the 1977 Danone commercial of 100-year-olds in the Abkhazia region of Georgia eating yogurt that stamped the first images of the country into many American minds!
Apparently, the producers of the commercial read the same story and other articles by Dr. Alexander Leaf, of Harvard University Medical School, who studied longevity and noted how yogurt is a diet staple among centenarians around the world.
There is an apocryphal story that the Georgians brought to the United States by Buffalo Bill and packaged as ‘Cossacks’ for his Wild West Show introduced yogurt to America. Whether or not that is true, it is certainly a testament to the Georgian adoration of their beloved matsoni. There is even a story of how a Georgian nanny smuggled matsoni culture in her bra when she moved to Washington D.C. to be with her new family!
To make matsoni is simplicity itself. You can easily purchase matsoni starter here.
Follow the matsoni starter instructions by whisking the stated amount of starter culture with the stated amount of whole milk (TFD prefers 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup half and half for a thicker, richer end-product) in a medium bowl, and pour into a jar. Cover loosely and place it in a warm spot in your kitchen, where it will culture for 24 to 48 hours.
When the milk forms a semi-solid mass and pulls away from the sides of the jar when you tilt it, the matsoni is ready. Transfer it to the refrigerator to halt fermentation. Serve as you would any other yogurt, I like it sweetened with honey or berries.
Reserve ⅛ cup of the matsoni to culture another batch by adding it to 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup half and half – repeat the process ad infinitum.
Following this process means you will always have the best possible yogurt at your disposal! 🙂 Even better is that once you buy it, you will never need to buy more ever again!
I found this excellent description on a now-defunct Etsy store:
*Caspian Sea Yogurt is a fermented milk product also called matsoun or matsoni is also known as Caucasian sour cream or Bulgarian Yogurt. CSY has two major bacteria; lactococcus cremoris and gluconobacter sp. Lactococcus cremoris turns milk into yogurt with or without oxygen present, and results in the yogurt’s unique viscosity.
Gluconobacter sp. multiplies only in the presence of oxygen, and helps lactococcus cremoris multiply. Lactococcus cremoris multiply most at 20 C (68 oF) to 30 C, (86 oF) which falls within the range of normal room temperatures and does not have to be cooked or go through lengthy preparation as regular yogurt. So you don’t even need a yogurt maker!
**TURN YOUR MILK INTO A HEALTHY LIVING PROBIOTIC FOOD!**
*Right on your kitchen counter – Fermented at ROOM TEMPERATURE!*
*Caspian Sea Yogurt supplies high-quality protein and calcium. Rich mineral content help reduce the chances of bone fractures, strokes and osteoporosis, which are major causes of elderly people becoming bedridden.
*Caspian Sea Yogurt viscosity acts like dietary fibers to maintain intestinal health.
*Caspian Sea Yogurt increases natural intestinal flora, preventing the development of pathogenic germs, including salmonella, E. coli and Candida.
This recipe would be a most welcome addition to any Georgian meal, perhaps including the delicious and unique Georgian purple basil thirst quencher!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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