Monday, February 1, 2010
Week one: yogurt
4 cups of fresh, organic 2% milk
1/3 cup powdered milk
½ cup organic yogurt
Ideally, you want your milk-plus-yogurt mixture to stay at 110°. For anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. If your oven goes that low, it’s not a problem. Two days ago, I discovered that my oven does not go that low, but because I’d remembered my Persian friend saying something about towels, I wrapped the pot in several old towels, heated the oven to 170, stuck the bundle in and turned the oven off, but left the light on for warmth.
At this point I was so seized with anxiety that my yogurt would not yogurtify that I immediately started a no-fail dish for which I no longer use a recipe: dal. (Here’s how I make it if you’re interested.)
At 3 p.m., unable to sit on my hands any longer, I checked it and found it much firmer, with a bunch of yellowish liquid floating on top. I took this as a good sign because it was exactly like the liquid you get on top of plain or vanilla yogurt when it’s been sitting in the fridge for a while.
Because my goal is Greek-style yogurt, I dumped the whole thing into a strainer lined with paper towels, set into a big pot. At this point I feel obliged to say that yogurt is so disgusting at this stage that I don't even want to describe it, because I like my readers and want them to be happy.
The recipes I read all said that you must refrigerate your yogurt, preferably overnight, before you can consider it fit for consumption, so I made room in the fridge and snuck a taste from a bit left in the pot. The texture was a weird dry-gritty-squishy amalgam, but it tasted like yogurt – another good sign.
About four hours later, I turned the stuff out of the strainer and into an old yogurt tub. It’s very thick and chalky, but the flavor is great (the hubs agrees – I had him taste it). I’ll be giving it another shot, probably with 2% milk and possibly with dry milk – if I can find a non-family-size box. Whatever happens, I’ll write about it here.