Since we started Jem on purees at six months we've been making our own organic baby food. Because I was breastfeeding and had dealt with thrush a few times we'd been using probiotics for both of us (luckily, probably because of this, he never got the thrush, just me...ow), so pretty quickly I decided to start giving them to him in the form of yogurt. Since he'd shown signs of sensitivity to cow milk formula, I decided to try using goat milk to make the yogurt (though even some milk intolerant babies do just fine on cow milk yogurt, I preferred to be on the safe side). Unfortunately I found it very difficult to thicken up the yogurt using goat milk. I tried everything: adding tapioca powder, powdered pectin, gelatin...the only thing I don't think I tried was agar agar powder (an apparently wonderful thickener), only because it was so expensive. The yogurt would thicken up a little bit, but stay pretty much the consistency of kefir.
Then a thought occurred to me. If certain fruits naturally contain high amounts of pectin, wouldn't pureeing them up and incubating them with the yogurt help to thicken things up a bit?
After a bit of experimenting with some of Jem's favorite pureed fruits, I came up with the following recipe, which not only thickens beautifully, it tastes great!
Homemade Fruity Goat Milk Yogurt
1 quart goat milk (we use whole Meyenberg...evaporated milk does NOT work for this recipe)
1 medium sized banana
1/8 to 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen...if frozen they must be thawed)
Yogurt starter - Powdered starter, 1 teaspoon storebought yogurt, or 1 packet/capsule Culturelle probiotic
Heat the milk in a pan on the stove just until the milk starts to climb the walls of the pan, not to boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool to about 100 to 110 degrees F (use a candy or meat thermometer). Pour about half of the milk into your blender. Add the yogurt starter, banana and blueberries and blend well (pureeing the blueberries by themselves first might help this step go quicker). Add the rest of the milk, stir, and pour into sterilized yogurt containers (we either use the jars that came with our yogurt maker or a quart sized pyrex bowl, which fits quite nicely). Make sure your yogurt maker is CLEAN and incubate for 12 hours or more (I usually do about 15).
If you do not own a yogurt maker you can make your own using a heating pad and a cooler, your stove or a crock pot. There are various instructions found online on how to do this, just do a Google search! I have never tried these methods for this recipe so I personally couldn't attest to the effectiveness of any of them, but I do have a friend who has used her crockpot to make cow milk yogurt with great success.
I plan to post more of my favorite baby food recipes and suggestions in the coming weeks! Making your own baby food is so easy and can actually be quite cost effective. Have fun experimenting with yours!