The first yogurt trial is a success! Yesterday was a bit crazy and we weren't home for most of the day, so I didn't really get a chance to sample the yogurt. Unfortunately, part of the day out was spent grocery shopping and - as I wasn't sure about the success or failure of my yogurt making attempt - I decided to buy another container of yogurt so that I wouldn't run out.
Today, I cracked open a jar of my homemade yogurt and discovered that it had worked. This is fantastic for several reasons. One, I will be able to have access to a more beneficial product than those available in the store. It will be made from raw milk rather than pasteurized milk. Even Deerfield Farm has to pasteurize the milk prior to making their yogurt (even though they can sell the milk raw). While it is true that it will be heated (110 degrees is the prime temperature for the yogurt-producing bacteria to do their work), it will not be heated to the point of pasteurization. Two, I can save a fair amount of money this way. Rather than buying two separate products (milk and yogurt), I can can simply buy some extra milk and make my own yogurt. The money spent on the extra milk will be less than the total spent on the combination. Three, I can completely control what is and isn't in my yogurt.
I will need to spend more time in the kitchen to make the yogurt, but it really isn't that much of a factor. Now that I have done it once, I know a lot more about the process. I now know that my Crock-Pot keeps food warm at exactly 110 degrees Fahrenheit when it is on the 'keep warm' setting. During my first trial, I had to keep checking it to make sure that the culture got neither too hot nor too cold. Now, I can just set it and leave it for the desired time. The Crock-Pot I own has room for up to 6 of the mason jars that I used, so I can make a slightly larger batch than I did this time.
The cheese/whey trial is still underway. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of separation in the jar yet. I am somewhat torn between waiting for another day or two and trying to run it through a filter to see how much separation there actually is. The recommendation is to wait for 1-4 days and at the this point it has been just a few minutes beyond 48 hours. I guess a was just expecting a bit more visible progress by now. It truly doesn't look any different than it would had I just left the milk in the refrigerator. Maybe another 24 hours will make a bigger difference.