Friday, October 27, 2006

My New Toy

A yogurt maker.
I know, it's nothing more than a fancy, plastic heating pad.
But the rounded dome lid is so cute, like a Volkswagen Beetle, and it comes with SEVEN cool little glass jars and white plastic lids.
I'm making my second batch today. First time I used commercial yogurt as a starter culture. This time, I get to use yogurt I made myself for the starter.
But the directions tell me I should only use my own homemade yogurt as a starter one time; then I'm supposed to go back to using store-bought yogurt (and then I guess I get to use my homemade yogurt as a starter, but only once, after that, and so on). Anybody know why this is so? Should I experiment with a quart of good milk and an "illegal" second-generation starter, or would that be a waste of money?
Anyway.
Verdict on first batch, pure and unflavored with any fruit/sugar adulterations: Yogalicious.

18 comments:

sfmike said...

Did you actually take that photo? I can't stand yogurt but the photo had me feeling dreamy about it.

dancingmorganmouse said...

GO on, live a little, make the illegal yogurt, that's how they used to do it before you could buy it in the shops!

The Old Foodie said...

I think the reason for not reusing your own yoghurt is that it is virtually impossible to keep the culture "pure". There is no harm in keeping doing it - if it starts to get too sour or develops off-flavours, just go back to the store-bought. You can buy cultures online too, I think.

Kevin said...

CC,
Back when I was married my wife bought a yogurt maker -- and taught me to like yogurt. The heating thing didn't last long, but the little glass containers did. The last one broke last week after 30 years of service. The last 15 years of service were spent as a container for bacon grease, which somehow strikes me as ironic.

Liz said...

I usually use store bought yogurt as culture (I dole it out into ice cube trays and freeze it for later use), because I've found that I can't get a good product from my own culture... it's much runnier.

A friend of mine sells the best yogurt at the farmers market and he uses powdered culture from a cheesemaking supply company. It's thick and tangy. Mmmmm.

I would have tried to talk you out of buying a machine if I had known. When it breaks down, try a low-tech small cooler and a bottle of hot water. Works every time!

cookiecrumb said...

SFMike: Yeah, that's my photo. I wonder what about it was evocative for you. I think it looks a little clinical (but for you, the good thing is the yogurt isn't in focus).

Dancingmorganmouse: Ooh. You think I'm up to the challenge? I love a dare. Heh.

TOF: Oh, I hadn't thought about it becoming too sour; I thought the problem might be that it wouldn't get sour enough. I'll experiment.

Kevin: I'm sorry the final remnant of your marriage ended in shards!! Hey, but you know what? They got plain ol' jars you can use for grease. Me, I use a tin can with the label peeled off; it looks rustic.

Liz: That will be my next project. Wow, I never even thought about freezing yogurt. And that's two votes now for powdered culture (which I would have summarily dismissed; see how stupid snobbery can make you?). Oh well. $30 for some plastic and a wimpy heating element. I'm not only a stupid snob, I'm foolish.

shuna fish lydon said...

I think you should live a little, be a yogurt outlaw, draw your guns of acidopholus (sp?0 and let no bacteria stand in your way!

also-- take note that the culture found in the st benoit yogurt is one not found in America-- be sure to try that one out as a starter...

Cyndi said...

Your new toy looks like fun, and it makes something yummy. I et you'll have lots of good flavors.

Dagny said...

You have the coolest toys. I love yogurt and often dream of making my own. I can't look at that photo anymore. If I do, I will have to run out and get some yogurt.

Greg said...

You gonna do something illegal?? You know you have the right to remain silent,anything you say....
The word yogalious is probably illegal as well ;)

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cookiecrumb said...

Shuna: I'm planning on giving the St. Benoit's a try. I didn't know that about their culture!!

Cyndi: I can't bring myself to flavor yogurt. I like it pure.

Dagny: OK, well, don't buy a yogurt maker, eh? Little cooler, bottle of hot water... :D

Greg: I should be arrested for "yogalicious." Oy. Of course, you know I meant "yogatastic."

sfmike said...

I have no idea why that photo is so evocative other than the fact that the RGB green is so utterly cool. I really wasn't paying any attention to whether the yogurt was faded in or out, it was simply the colors and how they resonated. Good photos are usually accidental and always magical.

Sarah said...

I wouldn't feel bad about buying a yogurt maker, especially now that you've gone and done it. :) I did the hot-water-in-a-low-tech-cooler method for a while and ended up with pretty uneven results - the water kept getting too cool and the yogurt just sat there getting sour. The big plus for that method was knowing that I hadn't used any electricity. I have a yogurt maker with little cups too, and they travel exceptionally well!

cookiecrumb said...

SFMike: Ah, that green. An Ikea plate!

Sarah: Well, no regrets so far. And the second batch was even more delicious than the first, so something's going right.

drbiggles said...

Oh, Mama did the yogurt thing. We gots one of them old ranges, so no heating pad. Not sure why she ain't doing that no mo'. Oh yeah, she was the only one eating it. Biggles ain't no friend of the yogurt. Freak.

Biggles

Tim said...

I used to be a big yoghurt maker and am not sure why I stopped! I always used the packaged mix - but a workmate with whom I shared an office made her own with no pre-mix. I am tempted to give it a go!

cookiecrumb said...

Dr Biggles: We used to have an old Wedgwood oven with a pilot light that ran so hot, we probably couldn't have used the oven to incubate yogurt.

Tim: I've always made it by using a scooperful of fresh yogurt -- especially one made with a culture I find tasty, like Pavel's Bulgarian. But reading comments here about packaged culture got me interested. I prowled all through Whole Foods yesterday without finding any, though.