Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cooking marathon, cheesecake, and yogurt


So I never posted about making yogurt. I decided to use the heating pad method. The page you should actually be referring to for temperatures is on the Pecanbread Yogurt page. So be aware that there are some discrepancies between the pages.

I had acquired a thermometer. It was not the best choice, because it was a meat thermometer, and it didn't go any lower than 100 degrees. Oh well, I thought I would just work with what I had.

I held the thermometer in the goat milk as I heated it on the stove. I intended to turn it off once I hit 185 degrees, like the Pecanbread site says, but the temperature climbed really quickly and the goat milk did end up boiling for a few seconds. We're supposed to try to avoid this, but I was going to go ahead anyway.

I took the pan off the heat and put it in my large saucepan which had two trays of ice cubes and some cold water in there.

I then realized another thermometer problem, because you need to cool the milk to at least room temperature. So I kind of had to guess. I splashed a bit of it when my arm and when it felt cool, I added the Progurt as specified -- mixing it with about a cup of the milk and then mixing it throughout the whole pot of milk.

Then it was time for the heating pad. I'd picked a spot on my counter that was pretty cozy, and I made sure to purchase a heating pad that would not shut itself off.

After that, I had to figure out a way to get the thermometer to stay in the yogurt without it touching the bottom of the pan. I tried just wrapping the top of it in foil and sort of balancing it against the side of the pan, but that didn't work.

Then I saw the handle of my colander and I got an idea.

After that, I covered it up and set it on the heating pad. I added some dish towels around the sides of it to keep the heat in, too.

Well, it was hard to tell if it was getting up to temperature because the thermometer was kind of crappy. I got up at 2 a.m. since Clark was up at 2 a.m., and I saw that the yogurt wasn't even up to 100 degrees. So I propped up more of the heating pad against the pan by using a Yankee candle that somebody bought me at my office. I didn't take a photo of it but you get the idea. :)

By morning, it was up to temperature, so I wasn't really sure when to start the 24 hours. I decided to just do 24 hours since 6 a.m. or so and so I ended up fermenting it overnight again.

It came out OK. I was surprised at how thin it was. I dripped some of it with a coffee filter placed in a plastic funnel balanced over a drinking glass. That worked pretty well, as long as I didn't put too much yogurt in there at one time.

And then Clark had his weird reaction, and you're now up to speed.

So. I realized later that my thermometer was in fact off, by quite a lot. I measured boiling water with it, and it registered as 195 degrees. Not good. So all sorts of things could have gone wrong with the probiotics.

I bought a new thermometer, a digital one with a probe. I really like it. It comes with a timer that you can set for 24 hours. That one worked much better and registered the temperature of the goat milk correctly. Hooray!

I was also able to see with my new thermometer when the goat milk yogurt got down to the appropriate temperature to add the probiotics (about 65-70 degrees is a good range to shoot for).

I also started the yogurt much earlier (around 3 p.m.), so I was sure it was up to temperature when I went to bed. The probe balanced in the milk a little easier, and I didn't need my colander this time. I just wrapped some foil around the top of the probe and secured it to the handle of the pot.

And yes, I used the Yankee candle again. :)

I tried dripping the whole batch in bulk but that didn't work so well because there was still too much for it to all go through the colander well. I'll try the handkerchief in the colander method at some point and I'll let you know how it goes.

When I had enough that was dripped, I decided to make a half recipe of the SCD cheesecake in the BTVC book, except I wanted to use all yogurt instead of the dry curd cottage cheese, since we're not eating cow dairy. Here's what I did.

HALF AN SCD CHEESECAKE (STAGE ONE, whenever yogurt is tolerated)

2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup dripped SCD yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp grated lemon rind (I didn't use it)

Bake in a pie pan at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it browns on the edges. It will be only about 1/2 inch thick, since it's a half recipe. :)

So I baked that, and I gave Clark about a full teaspoon of it about an hour before bedtime. I wanted to be sure I got a clear reaction. He seemed fine. In the morning, though, he wasn't fine. He was stimming, stimming, stimming.

So he's not ready for it. That's OK. Good to know. We'll try again in a month or so.

For me, though, at first I didn't think I liked the cheesecake. I even added extra honey to it. Clark said he liked "cheese pie" so he was clearly fine with the taste.

But then later I went back and ate some plain. And then later I went back to even out the edges. And then I ate some more.

So, I changed my mind, and I really liked it! Yum. I can see how the lemon would really complement the flavor of it, so maybe I will look for that lemon stuff. I guess I've gotten past the initial taste of it, finally. It's kind of like when you first go gluten free and you eat a piece of GF bread. It's not much like regular bread at all, so your brain can't get past that at first. And then you learn to like it for what it is, not for what it isn't.

After that, however, I ate my usual amount of the yogurt that I'd worked up to, and I had a bathroom emergency soon after. So I think that the probiotics were much more active in this batch, because I think the temperature in my first batch got too high, and killed off some of the bacteria before the yogurt was done. Or I ate too much cheese pie. Oops.

As for this weekend's cooking marathon, I'm behind again. My script for Pendant Audio finally got out to the cast, and my darling hubby and I went on a date!

We went to see Cloverfield at the Mann's Chinese Theater in downtown Hollywood. It was fun, but parking was a mess. We didn't realize that there was an awards ceremony at Hollywood and Highland that evening for the ASC Awards, so parking was a little tricky but we managed.

After the movie, we went to the Pig n' Whistle, also in Hollywood. I was surprised to see that their only steak was $25 so I kind of freaked at that. Instead, I ordered a plain hamburger for $15, and Jeffrey ate my fries. Even though the Pig n' Whistle is only about a block from Hollywood and Highland (which is where the mega huge parking garage is), it was raining like crazy so we bought a very large and surprisingly nice umbrella from a street vendor for $5.

We had a great time. We don't get to go out often. Since Clark is autistic and is quirky and manipulative in so many unique ways, we have only had our very good friend babysit for us after Clark is in bed. We got home around midnight and got into bed by 12:45 a.m.

At 1:45 a.m. Clark got up, as he had soaked through everything on his bed. I stripped his bed and changed his pajamas, sheets, and blankets, and went back to bed.

So I'm kinda tired today. But I had so much fun, so I am happy anyway.

I just finished cooking the pineapple, soup's on, ketchup's on, and carrots are cooking. I had enough ketchup to last this week -- until the jar slipped out of my hands about 12 inches above our tile floor. Smash. SIGH. What was worse was I had half a bag of onions on the floor next to the fridge, and considering the glass, I pitched them. Oh well, at least onions are cheap.

I bought some mushrooms to play with this week. I think I'm going to cook some spinach with the ground sirloin patties and add the mushrooms...mmm. Sounds like a good way to test food to me!


infmom said...

Oh nuts!!! I had that mega-huge 2 quart Ball jar for you and I forgot to bring it.

Boy, and I thought forgetting my umbrella was dumb. :)

Mom of 3 Guys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nutty Meatfruit said...

Two comments: 1) You are a MASTER of improvisation. Bravo! I've not yet ventured into yogurt-making since I never really liked the stuff pre-SCD! 2) I am SO happy that you and the Mister got a little break. If anyone needs some couple time, it's you :^)

The SCD girl said...

Hey Nutty Meatfruit!

You know, I wasn't a big fan of yogurt before SCD either. I'd certainly never eaten it without loads of sugar and/or fruit. So it did take some getting used to.

I'm glad though because the probiotics in the yogurt are way better than the ones you can buy. Unfortunately I'm going to have to buy some for Clark since he can't tolerate the yogurt, and I'm going to have to buy them online because all Whole Foods has is combo this and that. Argh! :)

Susan :)

Emily said...

You are the SCD MacGyver! That thermometer holder was fantastic!
Had a bad SCD weekend...I accidentally made cashew butter muffins with roasted cashew butter. :-( They were awesome and very cake-like...probably because of all the starch. I am such an idiot! We are still recovering from the aftermath. Boiled carrots and a hamburger patty never looked so good!

dlancelot said...

Tried making yogurt using 3.25% buttermilk...don't try this at home kids :P
The butter in the buttermilk rises to the top and never ferments properly :(
I find using homogenized 3.25% milk works...haven't tried half and half cream yet (as it was twice the price and I go through a lot of yogurt in my protein shakes).