Monday, February 22, 2010
I used this site to make this batch, but my first attempt was a giant FAIL. I ended up with milk that faintly smelled like yogurt and not what the recipe promised. In reading through other sites I discovered that if the author of the first site had simply added a couple of key items, first time yogurt makers would have an easier time.
The first key item is that the milk is being heated to 185 degrees F. Considering the fact that many crock pots are different and create different temps, including the initial temp is a good idea. After you reach 185 degrees F you want to unplug your crock pot and let it sit, covered, until you reach a temp of 110 degrees F, you will add your culture at this temp. Once your culture is added you whisk the contents thoroughly and bundle up the whole thing to let it sit for 8 hours, or overnight. The initial instructions tell you to let your crock pot sit for 3 hours unplugged, assuming that all crock pots will cool at the same rate. I think mine cooled far quicker and my milk was too cold when I added the culture so nothing happened.
To not waste my first attempt I placed my initial batch back in my crock pot, placed my meat themometer in it, attached the themometer to my timer to beep when it reached 110 degrees, placed the lid back on and set it to heat up. Once it reached 110 degress I unplugged it, whisked the milk vigorously (since the culture was already in it), took the insert out of the base, wrapped it in 2 blankets and stuffed the contents in the microwave to sit overnight. That worked great! I had lovely yogurt the next morning and I now know what I should be doing so the next time will go a lot better. I did drain a lot of the whey out using a colander and some paper towels and Timmy and I had fresh yogurt with fruit for breakfast. Yum!
I used whole milk at I bought at Target, pasturized and homogenized is fine but not ultra-pasturized. I should get Chris' contact for her raw milk cause that would make lovely yogurt. I think when I am ready to make this recipe again I will pick up a half gallon of milk from the Co-op and I can just use the yogurt that I made to create more yogurt, just like one would with sour dough. No idea if I am saving any money yet, but it sure is a fun project.