Saturday, May 9, 2009

What went wrong?

People frequently ask me if I'm worried about doing something wrong when making cheese, mayonnaise, or other foods that modern people don't make. Usually I just say that it's pretty obvious when something goes wrong. You'll know it's bad when you see it -- or smell it. So, for those of you who have never made yogurt before, how many of you would eat this?

Yes, this was supposed to be yogurt. I woke up this morning and knew something was wrong when I saw foam oozing out from under the lid of my yogurt maker. "Oh, this is not good," I said to Mike. He lifted the lid, and this is what we saw.

Then I took a spoon and tried to move aside the frothy-looking substance and realized that the milk had separated into curds and whey -- and not yummy curds and whey. They had separated into wrinkle-your-nose curds and whey. So, somewhere along the line, some unwelcome bacteria must have gotten into this batch of yogurt. I should have known something was wrong last night. That's when it was supposed to be "yogurt," but it was still just liquid milk. It didn't look or taste like yogurt, so I said, "Just let it stay overnight." Bad idea.

See, this isn't so hard. One bad batch of yogurt in seven years is a pretty good record. And it's so obviously bad that any novice yogurt maker could have figured it out. Actually, I think most four year olds could tell you that this isn't yogurt.


Caprifool said...

Two guesses. Wild or domestic yeast (have you been baking prior to setting the yogurt?)or coli bacteria. No biggy. Cause as you say, one batch in seven years. That's a good track record.

Deborah said...

Thanks for the ideas! Yeast certainly sounds possible, because it foamed up a lot like rising bread dough! In fact, it "fell" after I touched it with the spoon. We bake a lot here, so a little stray yeast is certainly possible. Wild yeast sounds more exciting though. This reminds me that I've been wanting to try sourdough bread.

Gizmo said...

That's an amazing track record. I can only hope to achieve it. We have some very happy pigs that "hide" my mishaps. :) Sourdough bread sounds good too. I wonder how long it will take to get THAT out of my head? LOL


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