Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Solar Yogurt

At the beginning of the year I bought a yogurt maker at a thrift store; since then, I've made batches of yogurt on a regular basis. It's amazing what milk, powdered milk, starter yogurt and hours of waiting time can produce.

Each batch of yogurt takes a half gallon of milk, a cup of dry milk powder (which adds extra nutrients and a bit of firmness) and a half cup of live-culture yogurt. After filling the maker's five containers, there's about a half cup of liquid left over. Usually I end up drinking the leftovers, although I don't care for warm milk. Today, since the outside temperature is supposed to get to almost 100° (with a heat index of 107°), I decided to put the extra milk outside to see if it would culture, too.

I poured the leftovers into a pint-sized jar, wrapped the jar in a dishtowel and set in in the sun on the black wrought iron table on the deck. After a couple of hours the deck, which faces east, lost the sun, so I moved the wrapped jar to the west-facing front porch. On the walk through the house I opened the jar and tasted the milk. It was ALMOST cultured!

When it was time to start dinner I retrieved the jar from the front porch. I took the lid off the wannabe yogurt; it smelled good, but was curdled. (I guess it had gotten too hot in the sun.) It still tasted OK, though, so I added it to the can of cream of chicken soup that was the base for the turkey and vegetable casserole I was making. Served over brown rice, the whole thing was quite tasty.

My experimental container may not have turned out too well, but in the meantime the other containers are gradually fermenting. I'll be able to put them in the refrigerator when I go to bed tonight, and they'll be waiting for me for breakfast tomorrow.


  1. I remember your first batch of yogurt, now I see you're a pro at making it and good for you! I had to smile at what you tried and who knows one day it just may work. I bet your supper was delicious.

    How in the heck can you stand that type of weather? I don't think that I'd last at all, that's way to hot for my liking!! It was only about 86 here today and I almost melted, mind you I was working for 8 hours over the hot stoves at the restaurant!

  2. Interesting experiment! Can you believe this weather? Ugh!
    I love homemade yogurt! I haven't made it in years! Maybe when the boys get back in school I'll do that! Yum!

  3. I liked reading about your experiment.

    I think your casserole sounds really good too and I would ove the recipe...

  4. I used to make my own yogurt back in the day. Interesting what happened when you put it out in the sun.

  5. it's never occurred to me to make my own yogurt, doesn't sound too hard.