Monday, February 14, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and moms (and you know how the rest goes)

You may remember this post, where I wrote out my method for yogurtmaking. Well, suffice it to say, I'm still learning. That isn't to infer that I've had a bunch of "failed", trashed batches - I've actully had relatively few of those - but the consistency of some of them has been lacking something. Namly: Thickness.

Recently, and I only figured out why over this past weekend, my yogurt has been runnier than I've liked. Now, I could just skip adding gelatin, and instead run it through cheesecloth, but then I end up with a much lower yield of yogurt, so I've been trying (and trying and trying, to the extend that yogurt making is no longer a money-saving project, but rather a hobby that I'm DETERMINED to make worth the money I've put into it) to get it as thick as I like it without sacrificing yield.

Well, I finally got it. I ended up changing just a couple things. First, I decided to add my sugar (about 2/3C now) after my milk cooled back down to 115 degrees. Second, I sprinkled my gelatin (now 1.5 packets instead of just 1) over the (cold, organic) yogurt starter and let it "set up" for 3-5 minutes before dissolving it in the warm milk. Ok, so, all these things (and a few other little details) worked together and I ended up with BEAUTIFUL yogurt. I took it out of the crockpot, divided it into my little 8oz cups, and the next morning I could set them on their sides and they would hold their shape - without any yucky gelatin mouthfeel whatsoever.


I can't get over how perfect it turned out. Needless to say, I was thrilled. Not so much thrilled about having great yogurt, but more thrilled just to have conquered my problem. To have figured it out. But alas, the penny pincher in me was also happy to have a half gallon of thick, creamy, whole milk yogurt for my son and husband to enjoy.

Wow. was it thick or what? (if you're one of the few reading this who actually make yogurt, and you want the detailed breakdown, lemme know)

And so you may be wondering why I am referring to said "perfect batch" in the past tense. Well, that evening as I was cleaning up my yogurt-making dishes, I came upon my trusty candy thermometer. Although I had rinsed it off, it still appeared to have milk on it. Wait, no, that milk was INSIDE it.

No. Way.

My candy thermometer was broken. The simple fact that it had milk inside it told me that it had indeed broken whilste inside my milk-filled crockpot - I likely bumped it on the inside of the pot when I was checking it's temperature. So, somewhere inside my ten perfect containers of perfect yogurt were whoknowshomany teeny tiny shards of thermometer glass.

Carnage though it was, all of that beautiful yogurt - along with Saturday morning's time and effort - went down the drain. Literally.

I'll be honest and tell you that I had to dump it quickly. It was like ripping off a bandaid.

And you can laugh if you like (because I do realize the ridiculousness of mourning a half gallon of milk, 4oz of starter, 2/3C sugar, and 1.5 packets of galatin) but hopefully you won't have another chance to, because yesterday, I ordered one of these.

And so, hopefully, this will be my very last post about yogurt making. Unless of course I get all crazy and making flavored items - then you may just hear about it.

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