Friday, July 1, 2011

Edible East End's Festival of 7 Ingredients: Homemade Yogurt

It's always fun to try a do it yourself project at least once -- yesterday's homemade raw and whole milk yogurt for Edible Publications Eat Drink Local Week falls under the category of "if at first you don't succeed try try again".
A delicious tasting product, after 11 hours at 100 degrees in my convection oven, however, it still had a watery consistency closer to milk than yogurt.
Here's what I think went wrong:

First, I raised the temperature of the raw milk to 118 degrees so as not to destroy the live enzymes (typically 185 degrees for pasturized milk), then transferred the hot milk to a glass canning jar. (Next time, even if using raw milk, I think I'll heat it to 185 degrees which is customary.)

Once the temperature dropped to 100 degrees, I immediately stirred in live yogurt cultures from a container of Fage 0% Greek yogurt. (Next time, I will research alternative live cultures as some suggest Fage is not the best source of live cultures for yogurt making -- read more on 101Cookbooks.com). 

And moved the jar to my convection oven. At 100 degrees for 4 hours (that's the maximum amount of hours on the Viking microwave and convection oven before it shuts itself off), I had just enough time to take my nephew to the movies.  (Next time, I'll follow the advice of Michael Psilakis, chef/owner of Kefi on the upper west side, who keeps his yogurt warm at 105-110 degrees.)

After 4 hours, I had a taste. Tangy. Yogurty. Thin. Then, I let the yogurt ferment another 4 hours, and tasted it again.  Then another 3 hours in the convection oven to ferment (by now it was midnight and time for bed). (Next time, I'll weigh my options -- either use a dehydrator or conventional oven at the higher temperature using Psilakis' method or invest in a cheap and cheerful yogurt maker).

In the refrigerator it went. I hoping to get some strawberries at the farmstand (I have struck out twice this week) and make some yogurt pops with my Zoku Quick Pop Maker tomorrow when I get to Southampton.

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