Monday, April 20, 2009

Making Yogurt - Take 1

This weekend, inspired by my dear friend Lisa's awesome blog, I decided to make yogurt. In response to my Facebook status, which read, "Rachel is thinking about making yogurt this weekend," I had lots of encouraging words from friends:

"Like from scratch??? Cool. I just buy it in the plastic tubs. Ha!" - Jen, college friend

"Don't think - do! Those of us who have tried and repeatedly failed will live vicariously through you." - Kyle, seminary friend

"I make it every week! I use a crock pot. You'll love it!" - Jennifer, high school friend of my sister

"it is fun and sooooo yummy!" - Jennifer, seminary friend

"I've made my own yogurt before. By accident." - Jennifer, college friend

These comments, in addition to revealing just how popular the name Jennifer was during the 1970's, gave my the support and motivation I needed.

I got all of the ingredients and supplies, including the litre-sized canning jars, which I found at Canadian Tire of all places. And I started the process. I carefully monitored the temperature of the milk, heating it up and then cooling it down. I added the started and began the incubation process.

Then I made the fatal mistake: I left the house.

Craig and I had plans to have dinner with my friend (and colleague) Lindsay and her partner Brian before they move to Winnipeg next week. I saw that the directions called for several hours of incubation. Lisa indicated that her crock pot kept her yogurt at the right temperature for incubation. So I put mine in the crock pot and took off.

When I returned, the thermometer read 50 degrees above the incubation temperature; I had overcooked the yogurt. It was curdled and gross. My first attempt at yogurt since 9th-grade biology class was a failure.

However, I am a very cheap frugal and resourceful chef. I don't like to waste ingredients (especially organic milk). And I don't like to fail. So I tried to salvage the mess. I strained the curdled "yogurt" through a cheesecloth and ended up with a delicious cream cheese-like spread. It's slightly sweet, spreads easily, and tastes amazing on some cranberry crackers we had.

So I didn't get yogurt. But I did make a delicious treat that I'll probably never be able to replicate. Perhaps next time I'll actually get yogurt. Craig has already purchased another litre of organic milk for me to try again.

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