Another failure this morning…tea light burning, again. I never expected tea lights to be SO HOT!
Perhaps I should clarify – I incubate it wrapped in the silver heat blanket you see behind the jar, but with the bottom exposed so the heat gets to the yogurt (see incubation experiment 5). Looks like tonight I’ll try again, and this time I’ll do two more experiments – another like yesterday, and I think I’m going to go back to my dish towel method of before, to see how the heat distributes when it’s enveloped in cloth instead of metal.
HOWEVER, there is some not-bad news to report on the yogurt-making front! Yesterday’s mediocre, watery yogurt is now straining, and I am hopeful! Turns out the yogurt in the bottom of the jar was much creamier and more delicious in texture than the top part. :) So it’s over a sieve with some good ol’ cheesecloth (no invisible science that challenges and frustrates me there), and hopefully in under an hour I’ll have some nice thick “Greek” yogurt.
A note on cultures: This yogurt is not as sweet and delicious as I prefer in my favorite yogurt. It actually, no surprise here, tastes like the Fage yogurt that used as cultures, which I find a little bland-tasting for my liking. — Proof of what I’ve said that the yogurt you use as culture really does influence your final product!
An update to yesterday’s heat caveat: Last night I actually used my thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk when I added the cultures. It’s supposed to be at 120°F – which is surprisingly hot! Before I had a thermometer, I always decided when to add my cultures by waiting until the milk was hot enough for me to stick my finger in it for a couple of seconds…which turns out to be closer to the “ideal” incubation temperature of 105-110°F. I’m curious how important that temperature is now, and whether it really depends on local environmental conditions just as much (or more?) than the bacterial cultures contained in your yogurt jar.