Author Topic: Yogurt?  (Read 29945 times)

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Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #20 on: Wednesday March 14, 2007, 10:47:11 AM »
In adding dry ingredients like chopped nuts and oatmeal I would do a couple of things.
 
I would heat them carefully in the oven to about 225F for a short time, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes.  This will reduce the possibility that you will culture the yogurt with any surprise organisms from the packing plant.  After heating let the dry ingredient come back to room temperature before adding to the yogurt.

Although I eat the old fashioned oatmeal which requires additional cooking, for yogurt I would use the quick-cooking variety.  It will get softer quicker in the yogurt.

Now, I realize there is a bit of a contradiction here.  I already culture my wines and cheeses with "wild organisms."  I am doing this not just because I like the idea of eating strange unidentified bacteria and fungi.  I don't.

What I want to determine is, are deleterious organisms likely or highly unlikely to set up camp.  I do not say "Hey, the bread is molding.  I think I will throw a clump of that blue-green stuff in the cheese or wine."  If you did this, you would be throwing in a whole colony ready to fight for its' existence.

No, my criteria are these.  Is the organism airborne?  If it is in the air under ordinary circumstances, our skin and respiratory system and digestive tract are generally pretty likely to be able to deal with it unless we have developed special problems.

I have demonstrated to my own satisfaction that with reasonable care, using ambient organisms from the air to ferment drinks or culture cheese and yogurt does not seem to pose a health problem for me.

When I make yogurt I use a commercial starter.  That is to say, I throw in a glop of yogurt.  If I didn't do this I would technically be producing a "clabber."  Now clabber is probably still 99+% safe to eat, but it is going to be a bit more variable in its' taste and smell.

The important rules are; look at it.  If the top surface is not smooth and featureless, if there are little round colonies floating, or fuzz or any other indicators of unusual mold or fungi, maybe you shouldn't drink it or eat it.  Next, smell it.  If it doesn't smell right, don't drink it or eat it.  Next, consume a small amount, a teaspoon or so.  If you don't find it disagreeable, then eat a larger portion.

We want to be cautious, not pathologically fearful.
To your health!

 
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

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Offline itchychick

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #21 on: Wednesday March 14, 2007, 11:50:42 AM »
As far as airborne organisms go, that's how bread starters were initially made anyways.  My grandmother used to describe the process of breadmaking when she was girl - the building of the starter (the translation from the Greek is literally "the pre-dough"), and then the saving of a little of the starter to make the following weeks' bread.  I suppose though, that with bread, you are effectively killing the yeast/bacteria in the cooking process, so it's less of a saftey concern and more an issue of taste.

anthro, you wouldn't take the same precaution of heating nuts and oatmeal if you were adding them into the yogurt right before eating, would you?

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #22 on: Wednesday March 14, 2007, 05:18:07 PM »
Exactly correct Itchy,
With a bread starter, you look at it, smell it to see if it smells the way it usually does, and use it.  The baking has killed off the organisms.  The reason you look and smell first is to be sure you didn't get a few of the byproducts of metabolism of less savory organisms in the bread which could possibly do you some harm.  The organisms themselves would not be able to propagate further after the baking.

With yogurt and many cheeses, and with the naturally fermented beverages, the temperature stays in a range which is hospitable to several possibly troublesome organisms.  You are at least in part dependent on the organic ecosystem itself to police its' own territory.  Part of what accomplishes this is the pH level.  Most of the organisms that like acidity are good guys.  Cheeses, yogurt and fermented beverages are generally somewhat acidic.  Even the name of one of the frequently used organisms reflects this.  Acidophilus.

If you add your additional ingredients immediately prior to eating no additional precautions are necessary.

Remember that in our herbs and spices a few percent of the ingredients can be rodent feces, hair, dead weevils, things of that sort.  This is one of the reasons I buy my black pepper in whole form.  I do not use a conventional pepper-grinder either.  I crush each peppercorn with a pair of pliers.  I control how coarse the pepper is by how hard I squeeze the pliers.  And if I came across an elongated peppercorn I think I would just discard it. 

(Of course, if I were cooking for twenty or thirty people I would use a hammer and an old frying pan to crush the pepper and then sift the results for the amount of pepper I needed.)  There is a considerable difference in the character and aroma of the pepper when it has been freshly prepared in this way.  This definitely comes out in the final feast.
 
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #23 on: Wednesday March 14, 2007, 07:23:44 PM »
  My grandmother used to describe the process of breadmaking when she was girl - the building of the starter (the translation from the Greek is literally "the pre-dough"), and then the saving of a little of the starter to make the following weeks' bread. 

My grandmother used exactly this process to make bread too. My mother tells me how wonderful it used to be to get bread that was baked in town when she was a girl, as they didnt like home made bread! How things change!

Offline itchychick

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #24 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 03:04:46 AM »
I made another batch today, using the leftover batch I made last week.  After 10 hours, it had barely firmed, so I'm wondering whether the bacterial culture was too weakened/dilute?  As an experiment, I opened a capsule of acidophilus (well, actually, it's several strains of probiotic), and added the powder to the milk.  We shall see how that goes.

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #25 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 03:23:36 AM »
Yes it does dilute or weaken, Im not sure why.... it is best to use commercial yoghurt each time. Also the temp can affect how quickly it sets, if you are a little out it wont be as good. Good that you are still doing it though, it saves a lot of money if you eat a lot of yoghurt .... and it is nice to eat something you make yourself.

LG

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #26 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 05:48:04 AM »
There is not much chance of going wrong here.  If the yogurt is too liquid you can add some fruit ant throw it in a blender for a smoothy.

Or add some dry milk or ice cream and blend.  Or cream cheese.  Last night I had some Port wine cheddar that was too sharp for my mood.  So I dug around in the refrigerator and found some Mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese.  The two, laminated lightly on rye toast were just right for the grape ferment I was tasting.  Being creative at table is really rewarding.  My original perspective was that it might not be all that rewarding or profitable, and the cheese hasn't saved me all that much.  The wines have.  And just being able to make food and drink is a survival skill worth having.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #27 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 09:27:01 AM »
I agree that being creative with cookery is rewarding Anthro, and I am really enjoying it lately, as for the first time in so many years I have had time to indulge. I used to do the same when I was young before I had kids, I made yoghurt & bread etc.

I made a goat cheese cake the other day and worked out that the amount of goat cheese required would cost $50 in the shops! No way I would pay that amount to make a cake. Anyway the cake was delicious and I can post the recipe for anyone who is interested.
« Last Edit: Saturday March 24, 2007, 10:00:53 PM by LIGA girl »

Offline itchychick

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #28 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 11:12:01 AM »
Ooh, that sounds fabulous, LG.  I'd love the recipe! :)

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #29 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 07:10:39 PM »
Here 'tis then ... I didnt use the topping, but it was in the recipe. I also used honey insteead of sugar. It was easy to make. Let me know how you go and if you use goats cheese, itchy ....
        
   Yogurt Cheese Cake    
      
Make a graham cracker crust using:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
Combine ingredients well and press mixture firmly onto sides and bottom of an 8-inch pie pan or cheese cake pan.
Bake for ten minutes at 350°. Cool before adding the filling.    
      
Filling:
16 ounces Redwood Hill Farm Plain Chevre
1 cup Redwood Hill Farm Plain or Vanilla Yogurt
3 eggs
3 tablespoons honey or 5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
grated rind of one lemon

Combine and beat eggs, chevre and yogurt. Beat until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, beating until well blended.

Pour into cooled crust and bake at 450° for ten minutes. Cool oven to 350° and bake an additional 35 to 45 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). Cool.

If desired, mix 3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla and pour over cake. Bake 5 minutes at 425. Let cake cool and chill well before serving.

Offline itchychick

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #30 on: Tuesday March 20, 2007, 07:20:13 PM »
Thanks!

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #31 on: Thursday March 22, 2007, 05:26:17 AM »
no worries, let me know how it goes ...

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #32 on: Friday March 23, 2007, 01:45:47 PM »
You can also try adding a little rennet to the yogurt after it has cultured for a while.  That should thicken it nicely.  Also, in the other ferments adding powdered vitamin C seems to increase the speed of biological activity.  In the wine particularly this seems to produce much greater carbonation.

In making yogurt though, I haven't noticed any carbonation at all. 

I suspect that the wild organisms in the wines are less robust than the yogurt organisms and are unable to compete when the yogurt is well established.

It makes me wonder what would occur if a little yogurt culture was added to fresh grape juice, or if a little yeast was added by itself to milk.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Offline Bamawing

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #33 on: Saturday March 24, 2007, 09:54:33 PM »
"The experiment," as Dan is grudgingly calling it, is presently sitting in my oven. ;D
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Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #34 on: Saturday March 24, 2007, 10:07:21 PM »
What were the parameters of the experiment?
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline Bamawing

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #35 on: Saturday March 24, 2007, 11:43:07 PM »
I took a 1/2 gallon of organic 2% milk ("Organic milk!!! Without any hormones or perservitives??? How unnatural!!!" wailed poor hubby), poured myself a glass, and drank it. Then I put in a glop... and then another glop... and finally the entire single-serving yogurt container into the milk. It was also organic, much to hubby's dismay. He's calling me the "L" word (liberal). I deny it. Sort of.

I gave it a good stirring, and then set it in the oven. I had "preheated" the oven by turning on the light about 30 minutes in advance. It's been in there all day, and I'll take it out in a little less than an hour. I'm all excited... I've been wanting to peek in there all day but havn't done it. :)
I'm more confused than a mood ring on a paranoid bipolar schizophrenic chameleon in a bag of skittles!

Offline LIGA girl

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #36 on: Sunday March 25, 2007, 12:21:02 AM »
How did it go Bama? Success?

Offline Bamawing

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #37 on: Sunday March 25, 2007, 12:30:03 AM »
:( I left it in for 8 hours, and there is no gelling/firming whatsoever. :( None. I have liquid yogurt. :(

Could I leave it for longer? It does smell right...
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Offline anthropositor

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #38 on: Sunday March 25, 2007, 12:33:29 AM »
What you have described is a normal way of making yogurt, not an experiment in the conventional sense.  You can still experiment with some of the yogurt though.  For instance, you could add some sugar and breadmaking yeast to the yogurt.  If bubbles begin to appear and rise to the top then you would have an indicator that the yeast can coexist with the yogurt culture and continue to thrive.  If bubbles or foam do not form it would indicate that a well established yogurt culture does not provide a hospitable environment for yeast.

The next question might be, if you added yeast and sugar to milk without any yogurt culture at all, would the yeast grow and thrive?  If it does, the milk will become carbonated and have some alcohol content.

You can draw useful conclusions from such experiments, which are designed to answer specific questions.  Will yeast propagate in a yogurt environment?  Will yeast propagate in a milk and sugar environment with no yogurt?  Would the growth be increased or decreased by adding Vitimin C to the mix?
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline Bamawing

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Re: Yogurt?
« Reply #39 on: Sunday March 25, 2007, 12:41:45 AM »
Actually, Anthro, our experiment answered far simpler questions.

What happens when Bama tries to make yogurt in the oven? Scientist B (for Bama) says she gets a milk jug full of yogurt. Scientist A (for hubby) says that the milk jug will explode, causing a large, toxic mess and possibably destroying the oven. His last arguemnt was "oven lights aren't designed for that kind of use." (He has issues with what things were and were not designed for. He goes bananas, for example, when I use a pencil to knot my hair into a bun. "That's not a hair thing!! That's a writing utensil!!" I swear, all engineers fall on the autism spectrum. I swear this.) He's now convinced that I'll burn out the oven light. ::)

I put my milk back in there and hoped for the best. If it's not firm by tomarrow morning, I agreed to clean up the milk explosion that Dan swears is going to happen and admit he was right all along.

Help?
I'm more confused than a mood ring on a paranoid bipolar schizophrenic chameleon in a bag of skittles!