Dairy products taste marvellous! There was nothing I enjoyed more, on a hot day, than an ice cold glass of milk or a bowl of velvety ice cream. What are nachos or baked potatoes without a little sour cream? For me, yoghurt and cereal with fresh fruit were a marvellous way to start a new day. All that disappeared for me a couple of years ago when I learned that my digestive issues were related to gluten and grains. Because of the internal damage done by grains, I had become lactose intolerant.
For two years, I either avoided dairy products or I suffered with digestive upsets. I discovered I could eat hard and semi- hard cheeses, but nothing else. I tried soy products, but learned from my research and experience that soy beans are a legume and I can’t tolerate them. I tried almond milk, but the taste and texture were unappealing to me. When I started following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for Celiacs, I learned some very interesting facts about dairy and began to explore new options.
In her book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”, Elaine Gottschall explains why lactose is so difficult to digest for people who have a compromised digestive system. She also goes into great detail to explain how to make homemade yoghurt so that the lactose is eliminated. In order for the lactose to be “eaten” by the bacterial cultures, it’s necessary to incubate the yoghurt for 24 to 36 hours. Commercial yoghurt is only fermented for a few hours. As a result, it still contains lactose.
So I decided to give it a try and make my own yoghurt. I purchased a yoghurt maker and got some starter from the health food store. I used organic milk, followed the directions carefully, and waited patiently for 26 hours. The end result was a wonderful, tangy, rich yoghurt, which I could eat with no digestive difficulty. I was thrilled!
I tried using my own yoghurt as the starter for the next batch, but learned that wasn’t going to give me the results I wanted. The yoghurt was thin and runny because it didn’t have enough live bacteria. I am now using a commercial, organic yoghurt with an abundance of live bacterial cultures and that’s working very well.
This week, I decided to branch out and try making a crème fraiche style product using whipping cream with 35% fat content. I made it in my yoghurt maker following the same directions as for regular yoghurt. I let it incubate for 26 hours, as usual. The end product was extremely velvety and rich. I had read in “Every Day Grain Free Gourmet” by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass, that this could be whipped, just like normal whipping cream. I was sceptical, but thought it was worth a try. To my amazement, it did! I sweetened it with liquid honey instead of sugar and added some fruit preserves to make a lovely filling for my rolled pizzelles. It made a very tasty and elegant dessert: Cherry Yoghurt Pizzelles .
My next goal is to try and mix regular yoghurt and the whipping cream style crème fraiche to make yoghurt ice cream. From there, I’m going to try making cream cheese. Elaine Gottschall explains how in her book. It seems the sky’s the limit. Now, I’m not feeling dairy deprived any more. My diet has widened and I’m able to enjoy a much wider variety of foods on my menu. To me, that means a lot. The easier and more interesting my diet is, the easier it is for me to stick with it. When you are looking at a life long commitment, every little bit helps!
I have gone ahead in the intervening months and experimented with all sorts of “Sweet Treats” that are made with dairy products – everything from forzen yoghurt ice cream to ice cream sandwiches to frozen desserts. You can find all these recipes and much more in “My Recipes” under “Sweet Treats”.