Saturday, March 12, 2011

A tale of two yogurt makers

It has been many many years since I made yogurt the old-fashioned way: heat the ingredients, cool the ingredients, add the culture & let it sit, warmly, for upwards of eight hours.  It has, in fact, been decades.  The last time I made yogurt this way had to be sometime before 1992.  How can I be so sure?  Easy:  in 1992 I moved to north joisey & they have laws against doing anything good-for-you that does not involve a hefty gym membership...

OKay the real reason is we moved out of our apartment in Storrs, CT.  & what made this such a magical yogurt making apartment, you ask?  Well, let me tell you: sometime before my residence there hot water was included in the rent, but that changed.  As a result each apartment had to be fixed with its own hot water heater & in almost every case this meant what was the front closet became the hot water heater closet.  The hot water heater filled most of the space, but there remained a shelf at the top (for storing anything that could be subjected to daily increases in temperature with or without high humidity depending on the water heater's state of repair).  Between the water heater itself & the shelf there was a gap just big enough for a glass topped bowl & with a little big of plywood rigged up a yogurt making/bread dough rising space was created.  All I had to do was the heat, cool & add cultures thing, then A took a shower, then I took a shower, maybe did a few dishes, etc.  With adequate insulation & spreading these tasks out over six or so hours, it was perfect.

After we moved & alas, no such space existed, or could even be made to exist.  In Joisey, landlords never ever included hot water so there was space accessible only from the outside for the hot water heater & I caved & got a yogurt maker.  Actually I acquired my mother's yogurt maker, a machine that was looking retro even then.  & for many years we were happy together.

Sure, me & that old yogurt maker, we had our ups& downs.  That timer looking thing on the top there is more like a dial; you set it to the time you should turn off (which in the absence of a fancy-shmancy switch means unplug) the yogurt maker; the appliance itself does nothing on its own except make kinda-even heat.  More than once I had a batch of very very tangy yogurt when I left it too long, but it made lovely cheese so all was not lost.

Last week, I taught C****** the heat & add & keep warm thing & sent her home with a batch of not-yet-yogurt & my mother's old yogurt maker.  I did this, of course to make room for my new yogurt maker.  It arrived on Tuesday, just in time for me to gaze at it longingly while I got ready for bookclub.


  1. You remind me of long ago days when i was Earth Mother and grew my own veggies, made sourdough bread, and homemade yogurt. I really liked that persona of me, but alas, I have fallen into slovenliness and commercialism.

  2. I make yogurt occasionally but use my oven and oven light to keep it warm - seems to work ok.

  3. We used to make a yogurt a lot a few years ago. The home made stuff is always awesome.