I had been making my own yogurt for a few months using a yogurt that cultures at room temperature from Cultures for Health (Viili yogurt). After a couple of unfortunate incidents in which I killed the culture (I had it in the oven with the light on to keep it warm...and yes, I turned the oven on while it was in there not just once, but TWICE, resulting in my back-up starter being killed as well), I had to purchase another one. Given the amount of yogurt that my boys consume in a week, and my intense dislike for specific extra appliances in my kitchen such as a yogurt maker, I wasn't really too upset about buying another starter.
It came in the mail super quick (they are in Oregon!) and I immediately started the first batch.
I followed the instructions exactly (well, at least I think I did!)...checked on it at the low end of the "recommended time" and it was still totally liquid. Checked on it at the high end of the "recommended time" and it was STILL liquid. Uh-oh. And it didn't smell like yogurt.
Thank goodness Cultures for Health has good customer service! I shot them an email and they got back to me super quickly. After I few suggestions, I was ready to try again with the back-up starter.
FAIL AGAIN! Not good. So they quickly sent me out another starter, and to my surprise (and anxiety) a sourdough starter as well! I am afraid of sourdough. I really WANT to make it, and you should have seen how excited John was when I told him - he is a BIG sourdough bread fan (incidentally, we had to go eat at San Francisco Sourdough Eatery this past weekend probably because he had been thinking about sourdough bread all week!). I am just totally intimidated by the process for some reason. I have been using the basic recipe from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for pretty much all of our "bread" needs - pita bread, pizza dough, garlic bread, and just plain ol' bread...but I can't deny that there are health benefits to sourdough bread that you just don't get with "other" bread.
Anyway, my 2nd batch of yogurt is now in the fridge. It must be successful as the boys have consumed massive amounts of it. And thankfully the sourdough starter is shelf stable so I can get up the nerve to try it...at some point.