It is so easy to keep doing nothing when you’ve been doing nothing for a month or so. This inactivity has to stop, and today is as good a day as any.
I’ve always enjoyed playing with ferments, and used to make yoghurt in a curious contraption with little hexagonal glass pots and a double-walled aluminium lid that kept the milk warm. Then I stopped, although I kept going with kefir and viilli for commercial reasons. But I still like the stuff. So it didn’t take much of a nudge from the great Harold McGee to get me going again. He had a brief piece in his New York Times column about six weeks ago that got my juices flowing.
So I made some. And it was good. And now I’m making it every couple of days, and enjoying it immensely. Home-made yoghurt is somehow tastier than store-bought; tart without being sour, if that makes sense.
One thing I’ve discovered. I accidentally added the culture at a higher temperature than McGee recommended, 52℃ rather than the 46-49℃ he suggests. The yoghurt was much less slimy, presumably the result of the exopolysaccharide-producing bacteria being outcompeted by the others. I remember that when I made viilli, which is utterly dominated by the slime-producing species, I used cold milk. So that kind of makes sense. (I also heat the milk slightly more than McGee recommends; don't know why, or what effect that has.)
I haven’t yet attempted to replicate Greek yoghurt by draining some of the whey off. After two weeks in Greece eating the dreamy stuff almost every day, I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed.