Sunday, January 23, 2011

Massive Failure

I promised to let you know when my attempts at this simpler life wreak failure. It is now time to deliver. I’m particularly embarrassed about this one because the attempt was one that I’ve been told is something sooo easy anyone can do it!

So after months of overcoming my fears as well as timing everything correctly so I wouldn’t be up at 3:00 in the morning, I prepared to make some yogurt. I’ve made some before with a friend and hers turned out just fine. Of course she had been making it for years.

I decided to use a crock-pot method for ease my first time. How difficult could it be? There are two ingredients and about five steps including “turn on your crock-pot” and “wait”. There isn’t even any temperature checking. I used this recipe and several people commented on how easy it was.

We get our milk raw in a co-op from It’s the kind that’s never been touched by a machine except the milking machine, which I’ve witnessed firsthand. No pasteurization, no homogenization, no hormones, steroids etc. It is simply beautiful grass fed cows producing lovely milk with the cream that rises to the top for my coffee.

If you look closely you can see the separation.

So armed with my crock-pot, raw milk, and yogurt starter (also from Nors Raw milk,) I set to work.

v Turn on crock-pot and pour milk. ü

v Heat on low for 2 and a half hours. ü

v Turn off crock-pot and let milk cool for 3 hours. Oops.

(My husband says he’s going to buy me an apron one day embroidered with the word: “Oops” across the front. It’s a common word heard when I’m in the kitchen.) I accidentally skipped this step. I realized I skipped it but not until after I also put my spoon that had already been dipped in my starter into my heated milk thinking that I was about to mix them soon anyway. So I backtracked and simply turned off the crock-pot and hoped for the best.

v After 3 hours remove some milk and mix in starter. ü

v Mix in heated milk. ü

v Wrap in towel. ü

v Let is culture overnight, 8-12. ü

I woke the next morning hoping to find a pot of smooth, creamy, tasty yogurt. Instead I woke to a soppy, runny, smelly mess.

I have a couple of theories. The yogurt I used had once been frozen. Perhaps the bacteria died in the freeze? Also, the yogurt that I used was already kind of thin and runny. Perhaps it was not fully yogurt? (My milk farmer made it from his milk.) Fortunately, it was only a $5.50 mess-up. I am sad that I lost a half-gallon of milk, though.

I’ll let you know if the next time ends in a success or another massive failure.

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