Well, first I borrowed it from the library, got a feel for what all was in it and then months and months later, finally bought it. After poring over it for a couple of days I sidled up to the computer and placed my first order for cheese and other dairy making gear. It arrived on Monday and Monday night, late as usual, I made my first batch of yogurt with the Yogotherm from the Dairy Kit and it was awesome! Much better than my previous yogurt. Thicker, too. I think the insulated canister and the longer resting time helped. That 1/4 cup of powdered milk seems to be the key. You have to whisk like mad to incorporate it, but then it's just a matter of heating up the milk to 185, cooling it down to 110 (Next time I'm going to put 110 degree water in the sink and then put my pan in to cool it down. I think I cooled it down a little too fast this first time.), adding the culture and waiting 6 hours, plus cooling time. (As Elisava mentioned in the comments on my yogurt post, you can buy packets of the yogurt culture and keep them in your freezer until you want them.)
OK, so it's not as easy as making buttermilk
(Heat milk to 86 degrees, add culture, ignore for 12 hours.), but --! It's so good! Also, it means less plastic containers in my life. Besides, it's hard to dislike having 2 quarts of fresh yogurt in the fridge which pairs so well with the fresh peach jam. Together they are delicious!
Add in a blue cornmeal muffin and you've got breakfast!
Next up, determining which cheese I'm going to make first. I'm debating between fromage blanc or a really simple buttermilk cheese or cream cheese. Or maybe just some sour cream?
I'm a wild woman, I am.
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A friend asked me, not too long ago, when looking over my bizarre collection of cookbooks (e.g. bread making, cheese making, preserving, grilling, slow cooking, complicated Cook's Illustrated cooking) why I was doing this to myself? Life is hard enough and complicated enough with the twins and the 8 year old. If I barely had enough time to keep up with the ordinary housework, why was I adding all of these extra layers of crazy homemaking on top of that? Homemade marshmallows? Really? Why?!
I thought about it for a minute and what it really boils down to is this: I don't get to go out, alone, much at all. I can't currently go back to school. I am not currently working outside the home. This is my way of keeping myself challenged, intellectually, in a way that has big positive benefits for the whole family. It keeps me sane, even though I complain about my messy house and the fact that I haven't weeded the garden for months now. I get to learn new things, muck with science-y procedures (I play with bacteria!) and then I get to eat my experiments!
How cool is that?!
Pretty darned cool, actually.
I suppose I could clean the house from 9:30 pm until 12:30 am instead, but where's the fun in that? Making 2 quarts of yogurt that we inhaled half of in the first 24 hours after it was done was time better spent, I think.
While the yogurt is just as ephemeral as a clean house, the yogurt has way more bragging rights associated with it. As an extra bonus, you can give some to your friends.
But only if they get here before we finish it off. Better hurry!