Yogurt – A Cautionary Tale

Free Kefir Recipe eBook from Cultures for Health

Yesterday, I wrote about how easy it is to make yogurt at home. It’s just about foolproof – unless, of course, I am the fool in question.

I started another batch last night, because a pint wasn’t going to last long, and we had some of last week’s milk still to use up. We get three gallons per week from our dairy share – 2 gallons of whole, 1 gallon of skim. The skim is usually reserved for kefir, et cetera.

the cast of "white collar"I got everything heated, cooled, and into the warmed oven by about 9:30pm, just as we were ending our evening watching “White Collar” (a clever show about white collar crime and the FBI; I recommend it.) After, I went upstairs to wrap up some work stuff, which took a couple of hours. I took my (fairly hefty) bedtime drugs, and went downstairs to let the dogs out.

As I walked past the oven, I popped it on for the few minutes it would take to go let the dogs out. The went out, did their business, and during that process, I realized I didn’t have my cell phone with me – which was odd.

I looked in the living room, in my office, in the kitchen. Picking up the phone, I started calling it, even going out to the chicken coop whilst I did so, because maybe it fell out of my pocket out there. Frick, no sign of it.

I even went into the basement and pulled the chicken bedding out of the washing machine I’d just started on the off-chance it had somehow fallen in there. It hadn’t.

I called it while standing in the living room, because that was the last place I’d seen it – and heard a faint buzzing coming from under the couch arm cover. <facepalm> Good grief, no wonder I hadn’t seen or heard it easily.

Happy I’d found the phone, I trundled upstairs and went to bed.

About an hour ago, when I woke up, I went down, let the dogs out again, and noticed an odd, sweet smell in the kitchen. “Huh,” that’s strange, I said, heading into the bathroom to relieve my nearly-bursting bladder.

While in there, I heard the telltale “click!” of the oven turning itself on.

OH SHIT.

Quickly wrapping things up in the bathroom, I went to the oven, which was indeed on – at 350 degrees.

THUS, not only had the yogurt become Too Hot, it had been utterly obliterated and burned to charred bits.

I opened the oven door, and found smoking, but sweet-smelling, ruins within. So, instead of delicious yogurt for breakfast, I gave myself the gift of a horribly difficult-to-clean crock pot liner. Good times!

So – what have we learned today? It’s very fricking important to remember to turn the oven off after only a couple of minutes. That’s right. Don’t be like me, man.

And now, enjoy some photographic evidence of my short attention span:

a ruined batch of yogurt

a ruined batch of yogurta ruined batch of yogurta ruined batch of yogurteven the lid got some action - ruined yogurt

Help me to feel better – share some of your stories of stupidity in the kitchen?

Free Kefir Recipe eBook from Cultures for Health

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8 responses to Yogurt – A Cautionary Tale


  1. I came home to a melted spatula the other day because I left the stove on “warm” and it was on all day.

  2. Brian

    I’ve taken to setting a kitchen timer for important stuff like that!

    • Erin D.

      I usually do, too, because otherwise I will TOTALLY space it. This time, it was a perfect storm of being addled by the drugs, being unexpectedly distracted by the cell phone and dogs, et cetera. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Next time, I’m setting the timer right after I turn on the stove!

      Ironically, it would have been Just Fine without the extra heat. Le sigh!

  3. I came so close to doing this exact same thing a couple weeks ago, I figured I’d better find an alternate method.

    Instead, I’ve been using a cooler with about 6 inches of hot tap water. My tap water is about 120° F, and as long as I preheat the cooler, it stays hot for long enough. I usually let it go for about 12 hours. Sometimes I’ll add some more hot water halfway through, but often I don’t. Doesn’t really seem to make a difference.

  4. Mel

    Oops. I have found the crockpot works well for making yogurt, but I have a casserole with lid that fits inside the crock with room for some tea towels in between for insulation. I set the warm milk with culture inside a nest of tea towels, put on the casserole lid & cover with more tea towels, then put on the crockpot lid and leave it on low overnight. It keeps the temperature pretty much perfect without overheating. You can’t make as much at one go that way, but if you make some daily it would work well.

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