Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lactose-free / reduced lactose yogurt

lactose-free yogurt with berry compot
I have been experimenting with making my own reduced-lactose yogurt.  I got lactase drops from Bodykind; I am sure there are many other suppliers but these had both the lactase and the glutenzyme I wanted.

The lactase is very easy to use.  You just put four drops per pint ( I used six for the litre) into the milk, stir it, and leave for 24hrs in the fridge.  The milk tastes a little sweeter when the lactase has broken down the lactose into its constituent smaller sugars.  I have used treated milk to make yogurt, a drained yogurt that is like a soft cheese, and paneer.  The end results in each case were very similar to those made from untreated milk, with just the faint extra sweetness.

If you want to make yogurt treat the milk first and then add the yogurt starter.  The lactase doesnt work in an acidic environment (which I learnt by reading after I had tried it) so you just end up with normal yogurt if you put the lactase in at the same time as the spoonful of yougurt.  Yogurt has less lactase in it than milk but still enough to cause me colic.

The Wikipedia aricial on lactose intolerance is interesting and clearly written.  It is worth reading for its comments on which products have most lactase.

I ate enough yogurt last night to have expected problems this morning ( sorry- but I don't have a lab to test, have to use my own body). My enjoyment of the channel island milk yogurt with mixed berry compot last night was not marred by pain this morning.

You might wonder why I don't just buy the ready made lactose-free milk.  I don't like to be limited to one type of milk, TT likes milk from Jersey and Guernsey cows, and if you want to make icecreams, soft cheese, pannecotta, yogurt etc then being able to start with the right type of milk is useful.  The lactose free milk is semi-skimmed, and for the potatoes dauphinoise I intend to make next a creamier milk is better.  Once you have the lactase drops you can do what you like, and as the lactase free milk is more expensive, getting the drops and keeping them in the fridge works out about the same I think (not actually calculated, but it is close enough).

I have tried the lactase-free cheeses available in the supermarkets.  I find the cream cheese a pleasant addition, but the 'hard' cheese is a bit flavourless.  I have been tending to make pizzas using blobs of the cream cheese and a bit of parmesan.  This gives a complelety different style of pizza to mozzarella, but it is pretty good and means I don't have to constantly calculate how many mouthfulls I can eat without suffering.  Whilst the parmesan is the standard reggiano, the longer cheeses are matured the less lactose they have in them, so going for a highly- flavoured aged cheese you reduce the amount of lactose you eat.

I have some cheese making culture in my freezer, which I bought for making fromage blanc.  I'll be using that on my treated milk shortly as well.  Maybe a cheese making course?

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