what? you didn’t know i was betty homemaker? well, there’s a lot you may not know about me.
i’m doing my best to get back to basics in many ways. stay tuned to see how this turns out for me.
my oldest uncle told me off hand once that my grandmother used to be in charge of making yogurt when she was a girl. and that she hated it. i was intrigued. make your own yogurt? why hadn’t i heard of this before? i eat a lot of yogurt. plus, i was getting more and more confident at handling bacteria since i started making my own sourdough bread back in the summer (see? i told you there’s a lot you don’t know). i hadn’t known my grandmother long enough to really ask much about her childhood and anything i can glean, i view as a secret peephole into my heritage. my grandmother, i’m told, and my memories confirm, was a character. one of those light hearted people that remains young in spirit through life’s turmoil. believe me, she had turmoil. she had ten kids. if that’s not tumultuous, i dunno what is.
the thought of her standing, sulking at the stovetop stirring the milk into yogurt had me charmed. that night i looked it up online and it’s incredibly simple. to the point that i am so surprised that i hadn’t heard of it before, especially from a friend who loves nothing more than to experiment with different bacteria-riddled foods.
here’s how you do it (and, yes, it is this simple, i’m not exaggerating). buy a half gallon of milk and some yogurt from the store ( i always get the kroger brand because it’s days cheaper than the name brand bastards and it’s the same stuff). dump the milk into a saucepan and heat over med heat to 200 degrees. this is probably the trickiest part because you need to have a liquid thermometer and also have time to stand at the stove monitoring it (which i don’t mostly have with two young kids around) and also stirring. i forgot to mention that. you have to stir it so it doesn’t stick and scald to the bottom. once you hit 200, take it off the heat and let it cool to 115-120 degrees. this takes about 20 minutes or so and, again, you need to be pretty anal with your thermometer. once it gets to that temp, take one cup of it and mix it with half a cup of your store bought yogurt in a separate bowl and whisk until it’s all uniform, then dump it back into the original pot, stir it around, and bam. you’re done. you’ve got your chemically changed milk, and you’ve introduced your bacteria from your store bought yogurt. now, all you have to do is wait. the instructions i read said to place the pot in the oven to retain some of the heat (i guess you want it to be around 115, but i never checked it after this point, i just let it do its thang). then you let it sit for x amount of hours, at least 4, but maybe as much as overnight. the lady who typed the instructions i read said it depends on the bacteria that’s in your original yogurt as well as your personal taste. i guess it gets thicker and more tangy as it sits. so, after four hours, start tasting it. if it tastes like yogurt, looks like yogurt, i’d call it yogurt.
i am by no means an expert and have only made the one batch (i had to cut short the yogurting process because i needed the pan it was in to make dinner with). it turned out ok. it is a little lumpy which i can’t account for, but it tastes ok, so, good enough for a first shot, anyways.
for me it was fun. it’s kind of nice to have anything to be able to put your full attention into when you’re dealing with multitasking small kids all day. but i could understand why a little kid would hate it. you have to have patience by the ass load, something that comes pretty easily to an adult, but for a small child would be torturous. i could imagine her standing there, wanting to go outside and play, trapped at the stove top, stirring the milk, waiting for it to cool, mixing the yogurt. yeah, that would drive a little kid crazy. exhibit a: i couldn’t get either of my kids to help me and they usually love poking around in the kitchen. i just loved the vision i had of her impatient at the stove and then flying out the back door the instant it was finished, relief washing over her little young body as her feet took her to her next adventure.
in any case, try it if you like. it’s fun. and it’s cool. when the kids are older, it’ll be worth it to look into the chemical and biological reactions taking place in that pot to know exactly what the hell is going on in there. chemistry and biology and home economics all in one. (hashtag: doesthiscountashomeschooling?) haha!
happy yogurt ing (i’m coining that phrase)
a quick amendment: i forgot to say that there will be liquid whey in the container which you can either whisk back in or pour off. i dunno the benefits of each, so i poured mine off hoping for thicker yogurt. then, also, once you are either done or need to be done because you’ve waited long enough, damn it, dump the yogurt into containers and put it in the fridge. it should keep 2 weeks. there you go. now i’ve said it all.