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Weasel’s bug farm


I’ve since made a second batch of yogurt using a tablespoon of the first. After the cooling off, I decanted it into a Pyrex measuring cup and used the slow cooker for the long-term heat source. I was easily able to keep it between, say, 108° and 115° (just about optimum). It occasionally sneaked over, but that didn’t seem to do any harm. This is, honestly, one of the most forgiving processes ever.

After less than four hours, it was very hard set. I took it off heat and let it cool to room temperature overnight. The result was as thick as cream cheese, sweet, with almost no whey. It’s gorgeous. Some variation of this method will do me for the foreseeable. Though I really should get a better thermometer, I’m rather skint after my last self indulgence, so I’m trying not to by any new gear.

In the big supermarkets here you can still buy Jersey milk (I buy this one). It’s homogenized, so no separate layer of cream on the top, but it’s a lovely golden yellow from all the milk fat. And not at all expensive. Last batch I made with a pint of ordinary supermarket whole milk. It was very nice, but I decided to try the hard stuff this time. I don’t know if it contributed to the final product, but this stuff is really more dessert than breakfast.

I pinched the picture from this fascinating article (yeah, you didn’t think I put all that effort into a post, did you?). If you’re interested in yogurt-making, do read it. Upshot is, this woman decided to see what the optimum amount of the previous batch you needed to make the next batch. Much against my expectation, the less of an inoculation she used, the thicker the result with less whey (up to a point, naturally).

Even the 1/4 teaspoon (the smallest she tried) set to a firm yogurt, as long as she gave it closer to six hours than four. Can anyone think of the mechanism?

Well. Billy Graham.

My father sat next to Graham at a luncheon once. Not really his milieu, but my dad was a mid-level GOP fundraiser and fancy lunches with famous people is one way they thank the footsoldiers. He instantly took a dislike to Graham. A really intense one that he wasn’t shy about sharing. I shall withhold details in the immediate aftermath of the man’s death (and in deference to any readers who were admirers), but it’s naturally what comes to mind when I think of the man and I had been dreading having to write him up for the Dead Pool.

HOWEVER, I think I’m going to call Dead Pool 106 jointly for RushBabe (who picked Dr Graham) and Carl (who carled his way to another win with Morgan Tsvangirai). At this point, I owe Carl something like the Sistine Chapel Ceiling in dick drawings (there’s a sentence I never expected to type), and Graham was one of the epic picks. I think that needs some acknowledgment.

I reserve the right to be arbitrary and capricious like this. You guys are going to love it when I take over the world.


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 21, 2018, 10:19 pm

Awesome post Dame Sweasy!

You need to put a like-o-meter on your own work!

(now, is that pronounced Like-oh-meter? or Like-omm-iter?)

Comment from RimrockR
Time: February 21, 2018, 10:38 pm

fascinating yogurt experiments! I read somewhere that adding too much starter can cause a grainy texture. I didn’t see that manifesting in the experiment. Oh one thing I recently learned is that it’s possible to nearly eliminate the possibility of scalded milk in the bottom of the pan during the initial heating by putting a thin layer of icewater in the pan before pouring in the milk. That seems crazy but it really works.
Thank you youtube for that tip!

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: February 21, 2018, 11:43 pm

Now I’m all inquiring minds!!! Do dish on Graham.

Comment from RushBabe
Time: February 22, 2018, 12:31 am

Woohoo! Braggin’ rights!

Comment from CantHarkMyCry
Time: February 22, 2018, 12:56 am

Huhn. I’ve always used skim milk–whole would indeed yield a rich product. Sounds like you’re off and running!

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: February 22, 2018, 1:04 am

We have one good commercial yogurt which is made with whole milk and its cream. It is amazingly different than most of what passes for yogurt – the difference between Wonderbread and a baguette.

The chances of homemade yogurt in our household are essentially nil, as someone is obsessed with sanitation and the idea that you could leave out some warm milk for several days and only the bacteria you want would grow in it is beyond my ability to explain. Butter, Peanut Butter, and bread all get put into the refrigerator unless I put them high enough to be out of the reach of little (very clean) hands.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: February 22, 2018, 2:43 am

yogurt – I heat the milk in the microwave; thirty seconds, stir and measure temperature – thirty seconds – stir and measure – thirty seconds – and so on and so forth until 108 degrees. A couple of tablespoons of milk powder to thicken it, and when it is yogurt, stir in some fruit or jam.

Billy Grahm – I immediately thought of Johnny Carson, wonderful on-air personality, real life not so wonderful.

There is something about meeting people in real life; pheromones, sixth sense, instinct, telepathy, something.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 22, 2018, 8:50 am

It’s nothing juicy, Mrs C. He was just really stuck up and full of himself. Bragging about the places he’d been and the people he’d met, when he was sitting a table full of people who had been places and met people.

Another famous man at the table (who I shall not name, in case this was a unique meeting) was taking the piss out of him and leading him on without Graham catching on, which my dad thought was hilarious.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: February 22, 2018, 6:04 pm

Sweasy – according to the six degrees of separation concept, you were only 2 people away from God.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 23, 2018, 12:28 am

@Skandia Recluse:

Billy Grahm – I immediately thought of Johnny Carson, wonderful on-air personality, real life not so wonderful.

There is something about meeting people in real life; pheromones, sixth sense, instinct, telepathy, something.

The only generally well-known people I’ve ever met whose public and private personalities were exactly the same were both l/Libertarians: Harry Browne and Dr. Ron Paul. I suppose not many remember Harry these days, though.

The handful of others I’ve had the “pleasure” of knowing are in private mighty darned full of themselves.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: February 23, 2018, 3:35 pm

Interesting thing about the starter in your yogurt. The exact same thing happens with sourdough bread. A little starter makes for a better loaf, but it does take a bit longer. Apparently the yeast is more eager when it’s breeding like mad, and the bacteria have produced less byproducts that give that sour tang (alcohol, lactic acid, acetic acid).

I wonder if a similar situation exists for beer brewing, because these are all similar kinds of fermentation.

With sourdough, you want to feed your starter the day before to get it happy and eager. Is that a specific step with yogurt? ( although making a batch today, and taking a bit and making another batch from it the next day, etc, would amount to the same thing I think. )

Comment from lauraw
Time: February 26, 2018, 2:32 am

Make a batch of yogurt with light cream instead of milk.

It’s ridiculously good and the only way I make it now. Always thick and rich, no need for straining or adding dry milk powder to thicken it. More spendy of course, but you just can’t eat as much in a sitting, so.

To incubate, I float the containers in an insulated beverage cooler full of 115- 120 degree water, and shut the lid until the morning.

Comment from lauraw
Time: February 26, 2018, 2:43 am

…but of course, I have no idea where to get Jersey milk here in CT. I hear it is much better for us than Holstein, which seems to be the standard here. Some protein difference in the milk.

Comment from BJM
Time: February 26, 2018, 4:03 am

Stoatie…You just wait until the early strawberries…nothing better than homemade yogurt and strawberries. Then afore you know it; apricots followed by peaches and then blackberries.

Anonymous…I think all three processes, whiskey fermentation too, are more similar than not…cuz yeast, like politics, is local. No matter what you begin with the wild yeast in your environment takes over.

I have a sourdough starter I’ve kept going for over twenty years and it changed when we’ve moved and with the seasons. I figured out that if I use starter after it has been fed and is all happy, I can make 3 hour no-knead bread. The crumb isn’t as open, but turns out crusty, tangy and danged good.

I love making bread…when a loaf sings on the cooling rack it makes me very happy and brings this to mind as I fetch the butter crock from the pantry.

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