We celebrate fat on the Wheat Belly lifestyle.
With yogurt, it means we never eat the thin, insipid non-fat or low-fat stuff. We laugh at the anemic 2% yogurt that you can practically drink rather than eat–and they’re filled with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, anyway.
You could go for the full-fat (3-6%, though typically 4% milk fat). Or you could go for the Super-Duper High-Fat Wheat Belly Yogurt made with heavy cream that is about 33-36% fat–really fatty. Almost like melted cream cheese, thick and rich.
Fat, including that in dairy, has been demonized. Ironically, it is clear that the fat is the best part of all and does not cause weight gain or cardiovascular disease. If there’s a problem with dairy (and I mean real problem, not just distress from lactose), it’s the protein casein beta A1 that has been associated with triggering autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes in children, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (from both infant and maternal consumption of dairy).
That is part of the beauty of making yogurt: lactate fermentation denatures (breaks down) much of the casein protein, reducing it to less harmful peptides. (Little intact protein remains.) Fermentation also reduces lactose content, as fermenting microbes convert lactose to lactic acid. And, when you make yogurt yourself, you can extend fermentation time to further denature casein and consume lactose, making it even safer.
If you want a really super-thick and rich yogurt, so rich that you don’t even need a sweetener, start with heavy whipping cream or half-and-half. You don’t need any special equipment: I stopped using yogurt makers years ago, when I learned that simply putting the cream in a glass bowl, placed in the oven at a temperature of around 300 degrees F for around one minute, just enough to warm the air, got the job done. (Avoid heating the glass dish beyond warm, as it will kill fermenting microbes.) You can use a food thermometer to be more precise, aiming for a liquid temperature of around 110 degrees F. “Seed” the cream with a starting culture that you purchase or a couple tablespoons of yogurt purchased at the grocery that contains live cultures (typically stated on the label). (I used a Trader Joe’s full-fat organic yogurt as the starter and had vigorous fermentation within 24 hours.)
Here’s what I did recently:
16 ounces heavy whipping cream (preferably organic)
2 tablepoons full-fat yogurt with live cultures or one packet starting culture
Combine whipping cream and starter in mediums-sized glass bowl. Place in oven as described above. Reheat oven every 3-4 hours; it’s okay to leave overnight without heating.
Voila: yogurt in 24 hours. Allow to ferment an additional 24 hours, continuing the periodic heating, to further ferment. Serve with blueberries, strawberries, or other topping. Shown in the photo is my result after 48 hours fermentation. Because it’s full of fat, you will find it wonderfully filling, as well as delicious with delectable mouthfeel. And it gives you further reason to make a rude gesture at the ridiculous U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, AKA “How to eat in order to profit the processed food industry and agribusiness.”