Fast Homemade Yogurt

Let me just whip up some yogurt real fast!

I’ve made homemade yogurt before several times, and my first exposure to the process was in my microbiology lab.  Making yogurt in lab was probably the most fun I ever had earning a grade.

When I taught biology, I decided to sneak in a lesson on microbes and a lab for making yogurt.  It would be nice to take a poll of my former students to see if they thought that was the coolest lab ever, but just hunting down my old students and asking them this question might be borderline weird.

During my first pregnancy I ate yogurt all the time, and I contribute a lot of my good health to that.  Sadly, I did not make any of my own yogurt while I was pregnant because I forgot I knew how to make yogurt (“baby brain” at its finest).

Later, I miscalculated and thought that store bought yogurt was about the same price as homemade yogurt, but I recalculated correctly.  A quart of plain, store bought (store brand) yogurt cost around $2.50.  A quart of plain, homemade yogurt costs about $0.75.  I might quit my day job and start selling yogurt!

Yogurt making is “so easy…” That is, unless you have two monkeys hanging off your leg.

The process is simple:

1. Heat a quart of milk to 185 degrees Farenheit (I had to invest in a candy thermometer)

2. Cool the milk to 115 degrees.

3. Add a starter (I used 1/4 cup of plain yogurt from the store).

4. Incubate for about 12 hours.

During step one, I encountered difficulties and it took me way longer than normal.  I was stirring my pot, stirring, stirring, stirring.  After about 5 minutes, I realized I had the wrong burner on.

During step two, I also encountered difficulties.  Once I discovered the wrong burner was on, my milk appeared to heat up in two minutes!  Wow!  That was fast!  So I took it off to start cooling down, and I furrowed my brow.  Hmmm… I don’t remember it being that easy.  And guess what?  It wasn’t that easy.  I read the thermometer wrong.  I had only heated it to like 120 degrees.  The temporal thermometer we use when we are sick must be spoiling me.  Please don’t judge my skills in biology by this confession.  I’m sure I can blame it on the monkeys (the ones that live with me).

I had to repeat step one, again.  Here I am, stirring, and stirring.  And stirring.  Gee, this is taking a really long time to heat up.  About 5 minutes later, I realized that once again I had turned on the wrong burner.

Thankfully, that is the end of my yogurt woes.  Oh wait… no it isn’t (see, my brain does not work very well anymore.)

“This is your brain.  This is your brain on kids” <—- that is me.

The final woe, (and I promise it really was the final woe) was that I thought I would easily incubate it with my heating pad all afternoon and all night long.  I totally forgot my heating pad has an automatic shut off, so I had to keep turning it on every 90 minutes.  So much for fixing it and forgetting it (or sleeping).  Instead of waking up every 90 minutes during the night, I just opted to stick it in the fridge before bed.  As a result of less incubation time, it just doesn’t have a very tangy flavor, but the consistency was amazing and turned out super thick (just the way I like it).

That was my real fast yogurt making experience.

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