Fearing Fear Itself
RainyDayKitchen has been yearning to make yogurt for years, but has always been thwarted by the fear that its, output, would give everyone in the office food poisoning.
This holiday season, however, we put on our big-person aprons and made room on our counter for the Kidsline Artisan Yogurt Maker.
With its controlled temperature and environment, we felt confident that we would not, actually, end up creating the wretchedness that only those who wretch can, uh, appreciate.
Cute AND Accurate
The Artisan Yogurt Maker is compact and takes up hardly any counter space, and should make plenty of yogurt to meet our needs.
In the Gut(ter)
Yogurt is basically a controlled souring of milk. Milk goes “sour” when bacteria convert milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid, giving the milk that distinctive, tangy taste. The acid also interacts with the proteins in the milk to give it that firm texture. In other words: science.
If milk was just left out on the counter, the souring of the milk would be done by both “good” and “bad” bacteria. “Good” bacteria produce no harmful by-products to people. “Bad” bacteria will, and we all know what havoc they can wreck on the human digestive system (as in, we’ve got first-hand knowledge).
Here is a list of the “good” bacteria found in popular commerical yogurts:
As you can see, they are very similar, so any of these yogurts (or similar) will do the job.
“Cook Until Cooked”
In order to allow just the “good” bacteria to feast on the milk sugar, milk needs to be heated to 180°F to kill ALL of the bacteria—good and bad bacteria both reach their demise at approximately the same temperature.
The heating process also breaks down the milk proteins so that they set smoothly (rather than form lumps). This heading process is done on the stove.
The milk is all cooled to about 110 °F, and “good” bacteria is added to the milk from the existing plain yogurt. The mix is poured into the pots, the pots are put into the base, the based is topped by its lid, and the temperature is maintained for 4-7 hours allow the fermentation to occur.
The Artisan Yogurt Maker has only one control (on/off), so the operation is completely manual/up-to-you. You get to decide whether your yogurt has reached its desired tanginess, not the yogurt maker. Well, not the non-human yogurt maker. We just shut ours off when things looked about right: thick but not rigid, soft but not watery.
We have already made a few batches using whole and 2% milk. We are now trying out non-dairy products (particularly almond and soy milks). We’ll let you know how things turn out.