29 April 2009

Yogurt Revisited

Yes, another post about yogurt!

Why do I keep reading others' yogurt recipes?  Because I just might learn something new.  Well, I think I have.

A couple weeks ago, after the yogurt was done and ready for the fridge, I discovered that I didn't have any quart jars clean.  We had room in the fridge ('Wonder of wonders! Miracle of miracles!'), so I put the whole 1-gallon crock in.  The next day, the yogurt was the thickest I've ever seen (yes, even thicker than store-bought with all its gelatins and guar gums).  We ate it from the crock in the fridge until it was time to make more (it helped that I have two crockpots - I'm 'bi-potal' according to my friend Renee).  I did the same thing with the next batch of yogurt to see if this was a fluke or a discovery - put the whole crock in the fridge, and again, it turned out super-thick.  I thought I was onto something, but unless I assumed all my readers (all 10 of you) are also bi-potal, this wasn't a tip for public consumption.

'So why am I posting this publicly?' you ask.  Good question.  This morning, I was reading Strategic Eating: The Econovore's Essential Guide by Elise Cooke (review coming soon) and she outlined her process for making yogurt.  Honestly, the crockpot is much easier as far as I'm concerned, but she included a step that put the final piece into my yogurt puzzle and that makes this a tip everyone can use.  

After adding her cultures, Elise pours the liquid into jars and then she warms the jars in a hot water bath or in a slow oven.  Well, being the tea connoisseur that I am, I know that no pot of tea is worth its weight in tea leaves unless it's been pre-heated by pouring boiling water into it (and then emptying it) before putting in tea leaves and more boiling water.  Put these two things together and I think I've found an easier way to make my yogurt yummy and thick.

I've got half-&-half heating in the crockpot now.  When it's closer to being the right temp, I'll pour boiling water into four quart-sized jars and one half-pint jar (to hold my starter for the next batch).  I'll mix my starter in, then I'll pour the cultured liquid into the hot jars, wrap the jars in a beach towel, and let the bitty cultures grow.  Once they're firm, I'll put the jars in the fridge.

I'll report back and let you know how my experiment goes.


1 comment:

  1. I will be waiting anxiously for your results. I have tried a couple of times to make yogurt in the crockpot and somehow it comes out a little runny and grainy. I think I overheat it? I was expecting the yogurt to be more on the thick side and so far I haven't quite got the hang of it. I will try again after you post your results.