I wanted to try omitting the sugar this time. I heated the fresh milk up to 190 degrees, cooled it to 110 degrees, dumped the starter (homemade runny yogurt) and a cup of powdered milk into the half-gallon jar, then put it into the oven to keep it warm. And that's where the trouble started. I have no idea how it would have turned out as I made a fatal (for the yogurt, that is) error:
|Jar was saved, but the lid melted to the top and|
the yogurt turned into a cheese-like clumpy mess.
Paul comes up to me about fifteen minutes later and says, "I though you told me not to turn the oven on." What? Oh crap! So I fling the oven door open, grab a pair of hot mitts and take my cooked yogurt out of the oven. Another yogurt attempt down the drain. Well, not exactly down the drain, but into the chicken bucket.
And you know what? I did the exact same thing. That same evening. But this time I caught it before the oven temperature got too hot. I don't know if I'm losing my mind or if I'm not pushing the "Stop" button on the oven hard enough. This time I just used a half-gallon of still warm goat milk (instead of heating / cooling the milk beforehand), about a cup of homemade starter (runny yogurt) and a cup of powdered milk. I left it in the oven overnight, for about twelve hours. And when I opened the jar in the morning, it was like yogurt!! Not thick yogurt by any means, and probably still a bit runnier than store bought, but by gawd, I finally did it!
After it cooled down in the fridge for several hours, I strained it to get a really thick consistency. Out of a half-gallon of milk, I come out with a quart of yogurt. Not the best ratio in my opinion, but it's better than nothing and the chickens get the whey for breakfast.
Although I'm happy about my successful batch of yogurt, I'm now wondering if it was just a fluke. Throughout the whole yogurt making fiasco, I've been wondering if I'm not being clean enough. I think I practice pretty good milking protocol, but there's always the thought in the back of my head that there is some sort of nasty bacteria or pathogen furiously breeding in my dairy products. But I haven't died yet, so I suppose that's good, right? Right.
I have a milk customer picking up her two gallons today, so I'll start my yogurt experimentation again with tonight's milk and try to duplicate my last effort in hopes of getting another quart of yogurt.
In the mean time, I've been finding things to do with all that runny yogurt. Yummy things. But you'll have to wait a day or so for that post!