I use more goat yogurt than any other dairy product. It’s easy to make, lasts a long time in the fridge, and has a wider range of uses than anything else I make from the milk of our goats. My closest grocery store is about 30 minutes away, so necessity has been the mother of invention with regard to substituting yogurt for all manner of creamy and/or tangy ingredients when cooking. These substitutions are not only a matter of convenience, but also allow me to increase and diversify my intake of probiotics. One of my favorite examples is this quick and simple blue cheese dressing.
The classic blue cheese dressing recipe from Cook’s Illustrated uses sour cream, buttermilk, and rice wine vinegar to achieve the right balance of creaminess, thickness and tang. I have found that an equal volume of goat yogurt is a perfect substitute for this combination of ingredients, providing all of the necessary characteristics, simplifying the recipe, and making my blue cheese dressing a nutrient dense addition to meals and snacks by adding in probiotics and healthy fats. It’s much easier to find yogurt with active cultures in the final product than sour cream or buttermilk, for example, so even if you make this recipe with entirely store-bought ingredients, you can enjoy the benefits by selecting your ingredients carefully.**
If you have time to make the mayo with a high quality not-too-flavorful oil and farm fresh eggs, great, but it’s still delicious with mayo from the grocery. Any blue cheese will do, but a raw milk blue cheese allows you to double down on your probiotics and enjoy exceptional flavor. At many grocery stores you can find Point Reyes Original Blue. But if you have time to visit a local cheese shop, you can really up your blue cheese dressing game. I asked my friend Marnie from Cheese Cave in Claremont what she would recommend, and she pointed me to Jasper Hill Farms Bayley Hazen Blue, which is available at her shop and also at DTLA Cheese. Some blues are too creamy to easily chop or crumble for dressing, but both of these choices are workable. Marnie also reminded me that Jasper Hill has a goat milk blue in the works, so I’ll definitely be trying that when it’s released.
1 cup mayo
1 cup goat yogurt
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
fresh ground pepper
If you want to tickle your salty-sweet bliss point, you can add a ¼ tsp of sugar. Combine in a bowl and mix, smashing the blue cheese chunks until you like the look of it. Cover and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your meal so the flavors have time to marry. Keep refrigerated and eat within 3 days.
The obvious use for blue cheese dressing is on a classic iceberg lettuce salad or wedge, but we also use our dressing on burgers, as a dip for veggies, or for breaded chicken fingers. Sometimes I tear apart a roasted chicken by hand and dip it in blue cheese (this is a too-lazy-to-make-the-salad-this-meal-deserves approach). Generally my strategy is to make 2x what I need for my meal, and then use the remainder over the next few days as a dip for snacking.
** The manufacturing processes for both sour cream and buttermilk involve the use of bacterial cultures for souring, but generally the cultures are pasteurized out of the final product, probably for shelf life and product consistency. This is why even when shopping for yogurt, you have to look for the “active cultures” in the ingredients list. Out of curiosity, I contacted Daisy about their sour cream and got this interesting answer from Rebecca Cruise in their customer relations department: “Our products do contain live cultures. However, they are not probiotics. The actual culture is proprietary to Daisy Brand.”