Saturday, February 26, 2011

Leftover Yogurt

Last week I bought a liter of Kefir yogurt thinking we'd eat it all by this time next week.
Well, saturday is here and after discovering what I had actually bought (a fermented milk drink) sadly we didn't even eat half of it. Silly me. When I bought keffir, I thought I'd return home with something similar to greek yogurt --> thick and rich. Kefir (pronounced Ke-feer) originated in the North Caucasus regions of Russia. It was happened upon accidentally when shepards left fresh milk (either cow, goat or sheep)  in their leather carrying pouches all day. And then, there is a gaping hole in the story. Obviously someone tried it... and thought it tasted good... Because of its fantastic, microbiotic nutritional benefits, people in the region have been making it ever since. It's a wonderful source of folic acid and it aids in lactose digestion. Studies show that it suppresses and increase in blood pressure and it also contains antimutagenic properties that are thought to prevent cancer. Of course, at time time it was invented, people didn't know this information. They might have noticed an improvement in digestive health as well as skin complexion, (plus it gave them a way to avoid throwing out spoiled milk) so the tradition continued. Even Marco Polo guzzled the stuff during his travels through ought the 1200s. Good kefir-making is now a science. Kefir 'grains' are used instead of leather-pouch fermentation. Enough grains to equal 2-10% of the total volume of liquid is added to the milk. The mixture is agitated a few times daily for several days. The longer it ferments, the more sour the taste. (Just like a sourdough starter). The final consistency is like thin yogurt. It's glossier and less milky than heavy cream. You can add it to smoothies, deserts, dips, curries, sauces or just drink it on it's own.
To avoid throwing away my kefir, I made a yummy kefir-honey snack cake. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup kefir yogurt
1 cup honey (I used summer-blossom from the Hurons)
3 large free run, organic eggs
2 teaspoons allspice (not local to Ontario, but it was bought locally on a trip overseas)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil or unsalted butter

For the glaze:

1/3 cup of honey


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large bunt pan or spring-form cake mold.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, the eggs, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil (or butter) into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully invert on a cake stand or round dish. While the cake is still warm, pour over the honey and allow it to soak in. Cool and serve with more kefir and honey.

This is a nice, not-too-sweet snack cake. I think it'd be right clever to slice it the day after, soak it in milk and eggs and fry it in butter like French toast. Drizzle it with maple syrup for a nice winter breakfast. Not amazingly healthy... but awful tasty. Besides, you can work it off here -->  by attempting the 95 pound Sumo deadlift high-pull!

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