Thursday, March 02, 2017

DIY Yogurt: Preliminary Results

I did my first batch as written, and added one full pouch of milk powder--to the one quart of skim, thinking I'd boost the protein. 

I put it in the slow cooker and followed the directions exactly.

Did everything exactly, to be ... EXACT.

And yet, no set. There was a skin that formed on top, yet underneath the contents were still liquid.

So I brought the water in the slow cooker back up to a boil (with the jars of yogurt fixin's in there), and then turned the cooker off and put the lid back on and ignored it all day. When I came home everything was set, but upon further inspection it looks like before I put everything in the jars, the milk must've scorched a wee bit, as there were flecks of brown in there. Totally edible no doubt, but the eye appeal was lacking.

And then there was the matter of the texture. Obviously, homemade is not going to be that glorious, luxurious, smooth texture. Mine was, for lack of a better word, mealy. Perhaps the proteins all clumped together. I don't know, to be honest. This was my first batch, so I'm behind the learning curve.

My mother-in-law in India makes yogurt without a slow cooker, without a yogurt maker, she just puts the remains of the previous day's yogurt into a vessel with some milk, and leaves it out at room temp. Nothing more complicated than that. But then again, she's in south India, where January temps are in the low to mid 80s--not to mention warmer after January, so pretty much the optimal temperature for all things fermentable.

I think next time, I'm not going to use the slow cooker for cooking the milk. Rather, I'm going to lazy bones it, and nuke the milk in the microwave, and with thermodynamics being what they are, when you microwave something, it's almost Newtonian: just as fast as something heats up, that's how quick it cools down.  

I'll bring the milk to a boil in the microwave, making sure it doesn't boil over, and then let it sit out to cool off, and once it has, I'll add some yogurt to it, and just let it be--for however long it takes for it to start to curdle up.

Anyway, grainy/mealy or no, it was still salvageable. I threw a handful of blueberries into it, and blitzed it with my immersion blender, and all was forgiven, to a degree. So this turned out to be a good blueberry smoothie--but let's try again to see if I get this yogurt thing figured out.

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