Sheep's milk is a nutritional powerhouse, far surpassing cow's milk in nutritive density. The Old Chatham website has a great write up on the benefits of sheep's milk products, but here's a synopsis. An 8 oz serving packs 13 whopping grams of protein with only 10 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of fat. Did mention it is a full fat yogurt, the kind with a luscious layer of cream on the top? Truly the best kind, in my opinion. But here's the thing: sheep's milk contains stearic acid, a neutral saturated fat that doesn’t affect cholesterol or formation of plaque in the arteries. Sheep's milk is also high in B vitamins, especially B12, and in important minerals like niacin, iron, and zinc, and one serving of their yogurt provides almost 40% of your recommended calcium intake, the highest of any milk. Plus, it is often tolerated by those that don't do well on cow dairy - like me. It is easier to digest and does not encourage the formation of phlegm in quite the same way that cow's milk does.
Take that, cow's milk!!!
I ate half my container of sheep yogurt this morning with a perfectly ripe pear (divine!). Since I'm leaving for Florida on Friday, and still have half a container of yogurt to use up, I decided to make yogurt muffins. Muffins travel and freeze better than an open container of yogurt does. Besides, I get the itch to bake every few days, and I needed to scratch. Yeah, I'm trying to pack, and studying for my Chinese final, and also doing a lot of other things tonight, but you can always fit in time to do a little baking and writing, right?
Want 12 of these little beauties? Double it, darlin'! And probably end up with 14!
As a side note, this recipe involves soaking the flours for 12-24 hours in the yogurt before baking. Why, you ask? To break down the phytic acid, an anti-nutrient present in grains that interferes with absorption of nutrients and has the potential for irritating the digestive tract. Soaking and fermenting grains is a practice that has been lost in much of modern cookery, but is an important step in properly preparing grains for optimum digestion. So, if you've never tried it, here is an easy place to start! Don't worry - you won't get sick from letting the yogurt sit out on the counter. In fact, you might be better off for it! I hope you enjoy, and happy baking. This is my 100th post on the blog! Thanks for being with me through the first 100, and I look forward the next!
SHEEP YOGURT BUCKWHEAT QUINOA MUFFINS
yield: 6-8 muffins
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 c quinoa flour
a generous handful dry kasha/Bob's Creamy Buckwheat/coarsely ground buckwheat groats (about 1/3 c)
a generous handful quinoa flakes (about 1/3 c)
1 c sheep's milk yogurt (could substitute kefir, or use soy, rice, or coconut yogurt/kefir if dairyintolerant/vegan)
1/3 c pureed peach, or other fruit puree
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 T agave nectar (or more if you want a sweeter muffin)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp corn-free baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 T coconut oil, warmed to liquid
The day before...
Mix flours, kasha, quinoa flakes, and yogurt in a large bowl to form a thick, floury yogurty paste. Perfect.
Preheat oven to 325*, and prepare a muffin tin.
Beat together fruit puree, vanilla, salt, coconut oil, agave in a large bowl. Gradually add chunks of the yogurt/flour mixture to the liquid. Toward the end, add baking soda and baking powder, and stir until just evenly incorporated. Do not overmix! Spoon into muffin tin, and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool a 5-10 minutes in muffin tin, then remove and finish cooling on rack...or dive into one warm, like I did! Yummy...
- add chopped nuts or seeds
- add dried or fresh fruit (blueberries would be delicious!)
- add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or ginger
- add grated fresh or minced crystallized ginger
- add 1 T fresh orange or lemon zest
- add a handful of carob or chocolate chips/chunks
- instead of fruit puree, use pureed leftover cooked vegetable (parsnip, carrot, squash, rutabaga, etc), and make savory muffins (omit agave if desired). Add dry or fresh herbs, crumbled sheep's cheese, or roasted onion or garlic...