I got a wild hair earlier this week to make yogurt from scratch. I took the recipe from French Women Don't Get Fat, which author Mireille Giuliano claims is a centuries old recipe. I need to talk about that book in a future blog. Such common sense.
I was seriously hankering for the yogurt and granola from Bouchon and, as usual, with complete lack of regard for sanity or possibility, thought, "I can make that!" The [email protected]##$%^&* Brown Cow yogurt Jenn and I ordered is coming in on Friday but can I wait? No. How many times has that particular blind, obstinate idiocy gotten me into trouble? Like making my first quilt (Anya's baby quilt) in 12 hours?
The book’s recipe:
1 quart whole or 2 percent milk
1-2 tablespoons plain yogurt as a starter or 1-2 tablespoons of a commercial starter culture (available at natural food stores)
1. Warm up the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles appear around the edge and steam rises from the surface.
2. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl to cool until the temperature reaches 110 to 115 degrees on a cooking thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, do what the locals do: the temperature is correct when you can keep your index finger in the warm milk for 20 seconds.
3. Put the starter in a small bowl, add some of the heated milk, and stir until well blended. Return the mixture to the large bowl, a third at a time, making sure to stir and blend well after each addition. End with a final stir, making sure all is well blended. Cover with a heavy towel and keep in a warm place 6 yo8 hours or overnight (a gas oven with a pilot light is fine, or placing a saucepan of hot water in the oven to raise the temperature will help if your home is not warm enough).
4. When set, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. If thicker yogurt is desired, empty chilled yogurt in a muslin bag or cheese-cloth, suspend over a bowl, and drain.
Okay. So, first of all I have exactly a quart of 2% milk left. I grab the remainder of my plain Brown Cow yogurt from the fridge intending to use it as a starter. The thing I dread most about opening plastic containers is mold. Even before I moved in with a guy, this was a problem I frequently faced (somewhere there is an email about eating cereal with sour tasting milk and not noticing). And there, on the Brown Cow yogurt, was fuzzy white stuff. Dammit. On further inspection however, it appeared that the fuzzy white stuff was ICE. Ice? In the FRIDGE? And sure enough, those are ice crystals and half the yogurt was frozen. Apparently it had been pushed to the back of the fridge where cooler air prevailed. I briefly considered using it but discarded the thought as soon as it entered my mind – because I’m dealing with frickin’ BACTERIA here. Acidopholous – good. Botulism – BAD. That left as a possible starter, the Yoplait Strawberry custard yogurt. Vile. I’d bought it for Hubby to tuck into his lunch box but given the frequency with which those jars were returned, UNOPENED, I need to stop. This jar was about 3 days old and I figured, what the hell? I opened it and just stared, dumbfounded. Instead of strawberry fruit on the bottom with pristine white yogurt on top, the whole thing was PINK. No wonder Hubby refused to eat it. PINK! But what was left to use? Nothing. I’d dumped the Brown Cow already so I had no real choices – and the milk and vanilla were already boiling. So I scooped out two T of pink yogurt and mixed it per directions above.
By the next morning, I had a smooth bowl of slightly pink yogurt. It was lovely.
I’m not quite ready to share it. I’d hate to poison people I care about. So I tested it on myself this morning and so far, no ill effects. It's a little tangier than I like but I think that can be modified. I’ll see how this goes. If I’m dead tomorrow, it won’t matter though I should probably leave a warning note for Hubby on the fridge. If I’m sick, I’m never telling anyone because auto-food-poisoning sounds ridiculous.
And the Brown Cow starts coming into Peachtree Natural Foods on Airport Thruway beginning Friday. They said if they get a good response, they’ll start carrying it. I’m going to implore everyone to buy from them.