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Dithering a bit

So my yoghurt-making experiment hasn’t been going as well as I’d like.  I can get the milk scalded okay, and get the culture going, but after that, I’m having trouble keeping it at a stable temperature. My first batch I kept in the oven, at an ultra-low temperature, turning it off every so often and then back on afterwards.  It was going okay, but I was not comfortable with how variable it was.  When I brought the bowl out of the oven, the outer edgers were thickly set, even a little dry, due to the drying nature of the warm oven air, but the middle was still softer than I wanted.

The second batch was, I am a little embarrassed to say, made on milk powder.  We were running low on milk, and I was impatient, since a friend had leant me their EasiYo flask. So I made up some milk-powder-milk, then proceeded as normal. Poured the cultured milk into a jar and then set the jar in the EasiYo flask covered with boiling water.  The idea is that the flask keeps it warm for long enough for the culture to grow and turn the milk into yoghurt. Nup. No dice.  What came out of the jar the next morning bore a remarkable resemblence to that which had gone in.  Down the sink it went.

Attributing my lack of success that time to the use of powdered milk, I bought some proper, full-fat moo milk and had another go.  Again with the scalding, the introduction of the culture, putting it in a jar and submerging in hot water in the flask overnight.  No dice.  The milk had a tangy, yoghurty smell to it, which suggests to me that the culture was definitely there, but had not been kept warm enough to turn all the milk into yoghurt.  Third batch down the drain.

But I am nothing if not, by nature, an optimist.  On Friday, I am borrowing my Mumini’s yoghurt maker, and, I expect, will be applying the exact same recipe and process and hoping for different results.  I have decided that home-made yoghurt features in my destiny, and home-made yoghurt I shall have, one way or another.  I am already weighing up alternatives if that yoghurt maker doesn’t work: I have been considering trying to keep the cultured milk warm over a hotplate, but I might need a diffuser to slow the heat down, or something. I don’t know: I’m just kind of thinking out loud now. I’m concerned that our cold kitchen is overwhelming the warmth-retention capacity of the yoghurt maker flasks: I’ve got a sourdough starter at the moment that’s a little more sluggish than I would like, and that would also suggest maybe things are too cold in there.  Hmm.

Meanwhile!  M replanted our Aerogarden with basil and oregano seeds and they have sprouted a mere four days later!  I am thrilled and hope for a big lush crop of both.  I’m hatching plans to thin out the seedlings and cultivate them in the bottom of a milk carton filled with potting mix and fertiliser, so that we’ll have lots of healthy seedlings to plant out in spring and forcibly give away to hapless visitors. Yes indeed. I don’t know how well it’ll turn out: I lack any sort of green thumb, and my gardening has always been more along the “wait and see if it survives” lines.  So who knows!

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