Become a contributor!

This button doesn't work at all, but you're welcome to press it. And to contact me (Dustin), should you wish to become a contributor.

Monday, January 31, 2011

adventures with bacteria

FIRST STORY: So, I really like kind of thick yogurt. A lot of store-brands bother me, because they are weird and runny and also advertise how good they are for your digestion. I have nothing against good digestion, but I want to just eat yogurt because it's delicious and not because I am being Healthy. So, the other day I saw a brand that was just the ticket--Fage Total greek-style yogurt, made with whole milk. Sure, it was five dollars, but then everything is a little expensive in this store [side note: New Haven has no true grocery stores. Fun Fact. The place I get my groceries is a shop kind of like Broadway market only like a third the size. Actual stores like Trader Joe's or ShopRite or what-have-you are out in the boonies and hence inaccessible to carless me.] Guys, be warned: THIS IS THICK YOGURT. It was basically indistinguishable from sour cream, and while I love sour cream, it is not a breakfast food. [Fact: this school year, I have consumed at least 104 ounces of sour cream.] So, let this be a cautionary tale.

SECOND STORY: After hearing recommendations for "How to Cook Everything" from multiple independent sources, I became convinced that this was a book I needed, and, never having seen it in the flesh, ordered it off Amazon (the new, revised version). Cost me about twenty dollars, and, friends, that was money well-spent. It's pretty much the best ever. If you are the lone solitary person on this blog that has not yet gotten this wondrous book, well, you should.

COMBINATION OF ABOVE STORIES: Soooo, leafing through the cookbook I realized there is a recipe for making yogurt! Gosh, I thought, then I could make this kind of strange and overpriced yogurt go to good use! I too will make yogurt!

Making yogurt is, superficially, a pretty simple process. First you boil your milk , and then you cool it to about 110 degrees F (I discovered I had a thermometer lying around, and used it!). And then you add some room temperature yogurt. [Oddly, the internet seems to unanimously declare the rations to be 2 T yogurt to a gallon of milk, but the cookbook has 1/2 a cup.). Then you put this mixture somewhere and keep it at about 100 degrees. [Above 120 and the bacteria die; below 90 and they get drowsy and fall asleep again]. And then you wait for 6 hours at least--or a lot a lot longer--and disturb it minimally. And then you get yogurt.

SO. I don't have a nice yogurt maker or a thermos or whatever, so I wrapped the container up in some tea towels and put it in a slightly warmed oven, which I sort of reheated from time to time, nervously checking the oven thermometer.

THE RESULT. Well, I don't have any pictures, because this wasn't what you would call an unequivocal success. I don't know if maybe things got too hot or too cold by accident, or if this process just turns out funny, but my yogurt was kind of bizarre. It was really runny, with tiny yogurty lumps in places, and tasted--well, kind of like warm milk actually, even when cold. I mean, it was pretty good--I ate the whole container for breakfast--and it wasn't sour like a lot of store yogurt which I guess is a plus? (My original yogurt wasn't that sour either, which may have helped.)But it was a little strange--which is why I decided not to save some for the next batch of yogurt but decided to buy some more later, since I can't tell if I killed the happy bacteria or not. IN CONCLUSION I really want to try this again, because then I will have self-perpetuating yogurt. INFINITE YOGURT. Maybe someone else can try and tell me if it works?

I'm also planning to make cottage cheese some time. I was actually going to do this today, but you need buttermilk and the store was out of buttermilk, so it will have to be another time.


  1. lol, super-like. Maybe you should make a "future projects" post and include yogurt and cottage cheese?

  2. Yes, dairy projects! Also bread; making bread in Germany is useless because every bakery everywhere has the best bread ever. But I want to hear about someone else's experiences.

  3. @ Dustin: wish about to be granted.