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Fat Guy

Yogurt-making @ home

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recently I made a batch that turned out to be uniformly grainy. there is liquid pooling at the top and it is very thin. the taste is right but the texture is all wrong. what could I have done wrong? and can I continue to use this curdled yogurt as my starter or should I start all over again?

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recently I made a batch that turned out to be uniformly grainy. there is liquid pooling at the top and it is very thin. the taste is right but the texture is all wrong. what could I have done wrong? and can I continue to use this curdled yogurt as my starter or should I start all over again?

That grainy situation will happen if the milk stays too hot during the incubation time.

I've heard in Lebanon they specially make a type of yogurt to have this consistency.

It won't kill you if you eat it - you could also just stick it in a blender to make it smooth or make a yogurt icecream where you won't notice the lumps.

Or you could strain it through a cheese cloth and then stick it in the blender - add some strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and a dash of vanilla - and chill it.

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Tomorrow I'm going to try some "raw" yogurt making :-), hopefully it will work well (but it's just one of those ideas I have that could go wrong) but I'll just have to wait and see.

Instead of heating the milk up (and IMO giving it a slightly cooked flavour), I'm going to mix refrigerator temperature milk with the yogurt starter (not starter culture powder but a small tub of thick greek yogurt that has my favourite combination of cultures) and put it in my oven for about 8-12 hours at a very low temperature (I'm thinking about 115-120f)

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Amazon was selling the Salton yogurt makers for $10 so I figured why not. I've made yogurt once before but something about my OCD nature combined with a digital probe thermometer makes the entire exercise more bother than it's worth. The Salton has the benifit that I can just plunk the damn thing on the counter and forget about it.

So far, I'm on my 3rd batch. First one was whole fat organic milk, 1/4 cup of milk powder and Mountain High yogurt as a starter, brought up to 185, kept for 5 minutes, cooled to 100 and in the yogurt maker for 7 hours.

Second time, I tried normal grocery store milk, same process and kept for 12 hours. Side by side tasting of the 7 hour organic and 7 hour conventional revealed some more sublte and nuanced flavours in the organic but it was pretty much obliterated by the tang of the yogurt so I'm going to stick to conventional milk.

Third time was conventional milk, brought up to 100F and dumped straight into the yogurt maker for 10 hours. I think about 10 hours is the sweet spot for me, just enough tang to make it interesting without overwhelming the toppings.

My next trial is to just dump milk straight from the fridge into the maker and let it run an extra 2 hours or so to compensate. It would be great if it could be made truly that easy.

Oddly enough, I got the gummy texture problem on my first and 3rd batches but not my second. I can't think of any particular factor that would explain that but I don't mind. It's kinda interesting how it feels in your mouth as there's a slight chewiness there. Kind of like the texture of wheat gluten, only not as extreme.

So far, I've been going through about half a quart a day, largely thanks to some excellent jam I've been making at the same time.

Also next on the agenda is some dried rose petals and rose water and honey mixed in with the yogurt while it sets to see what happens. Does anyone know how many generations a starter can last? The salton manual said 4 or 5 but I've heard reports that the starter only gets better with age.

Also, the yogurt maker seems like a great place to keep a sourdough starter and since I have a 6qt pot now, I can finally make the no-knead bread. Best damn $10 I ever spent.

edit: Alton puts the honey in with the yogurt but every recipe I've seen here adds sweetener afterwards. Is there any harm in flavouring the yogurt while it's fermenting? What if I were to mix some jam or vanilla in at the start?


Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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Since I've been making yogurt for a few years now i thought I'd add an update on what I like best these days...

I stopped adding the powdered milk--I was out of it one time and made the yog without it and decided I liked the taste much better--fresher----and i don't think it's less thick without it.

I heat the milk, give it a quick cool down in an ice bath and then incubate it in a cooler with a heating pad inside--I put a plastic lid over the heating pad so the yogurt isn't in direct contact with the pad.

I also discovered that if i pre-heat the cooler i get a faster and better yogurt--thicker and less likely to separate--I've found that longer and hotter incubation can result in too much whey and also the graininess mentioned above.

With pre-heated cooler it's usually seven hours to get perfect yogurt.

Zoe

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I recently picked up a used yogurt maker and I'm very excited to try it. I've searched the internet for recipes, but many of them seem... questionable, or like the same recipe repeated over and over. I'm looking for yogurt recipes (your standard fare - plain, vanilla, fruit, honey, etc) and any tips that you might have. For example, I know there are different kinds of starters, such as "French style," but I don't know the difference and the Goog hasn't been a huge help. Also, is there a different technique used for using different milks, such as cow, goat, sheep, etc?

Any tips, caveats, or recipes you have would be lovely!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie Stiavetti

Food blog: http://www.wasabimon.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sstiavetti

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Also, I have a recipe here that calls for heating the milk to 170F, but another recipe calls for 114F. I know you shouldn't boil milk (why, I don't know) but what difference will it make heating the milk to 114 versus 170 (or anywhere in between)? Will there be a difference in consistency, or will the cultures work faster if it's brought to a higher temp?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie Stiavetti

Food blog: http://www.wasabimon.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sstiavetti

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Also, I have a recipe here that calls for heating the milk to 170F, but another recipe calls for 114F.  I know you shouldn't boil milk (why, I don't know) but what difference will it make heating the milk to 114 versus 170 (or anywhere in between)?  Will there be a difference in consistency, or will the cultures work faster if it's brought to a higher temp?

Heat the milk to 185-205°F (190°F is ideal) to kill the bacteria in the milk.

Then cool to 112-114°F, then add to starter. Yogurt bacteria will die if over 120°F, and is ineffective if under 90°F.

(This info is from Sonia Uvezian's Book of Yogurt)


Monterey Bay area

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Thanks for this. What do you think of that book? Are the recipes unique or sort of run of the mill? I've been eying it online, but haven't been able to take a look at it.

Heat the milk to 185-205°F (190°F is ideal) to kill the bacteria in the milk.

Then cool to 112-114°F, then add to starter. Yogurt bacteria will die if over 120°F, and is ineffective if under 90°F.

(This info is from Sonia Uvezian's Book of Yogurt)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stephanie Stiavetti

Food blog: http://www.wasabimon.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sstiavetti

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Also, I have a recipe here that calls for heating the milk to 170F, but another recipe calls for 114F.  I know you shouldn't boil milk (why, I don't know) but what difference will it make heating the milk to 114 versus 170 (or anywhere in between)?  Will there be a difference in consistency, or will the cultures work faster if it's brought to a higher temp?

Heat the milk to 185-205°F (190°F is ideal) to kill the bacteria in the milk.

Then cool to 112-114°F, then add to starter. Yogurt bacteria will die if over 120°F, and is ineffective if under 90°F.

(This info is from Sonia Uvezian's Book of Yogurt)

Isn't store bought milk "Pastureized", which heats it to some temp over 200F for a set amount of time, thus killing bacteria???? and negating the need to reheat?

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I use a Salton yogurt maker that has five slots in it [actually I have two of them]. I've replaced the jars with some 8oz mason jars.

To make yogurt, I plug in and heat up the applicance with jars for about a half-hour. I measure out my starter of 1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt and let it warm on the countertop for that half-hour.

Then into a blender jar, I put the 1/4 cup of whole milk yogurt, four cups of water that I've ran from the tap at 105 degrees, and one cup of spray-dried non-instant non-fat milk. Whizz it all together and pour into the five glass jars. Replace the cover, and cover with a towel.

Five to six hours later, I have perfect relatively nonfat yogurt. This way I don't have to heat up milk and then cool it down; I only have to get the water coming out of the tap at 105 degrees. And each jar is enough for breakfast.

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My method of keeping the milk at the right temp for becoming yogurt is a combination high-tech/low tech bundle:

Place it on top of the cable-TV box with a knitted wooly winter cap over it.

My friend from Kazakhstan ( I think they are known for a long history of yogurt) has a very simple method. Warm milk in a glass jar (in the microwave) , stir in yogurt starter, set on top of fridge. Leave it until as thick as you want. No cute wooly hat though.

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I have a simple Salton that was a Christmas present a year ago....I thought I would never use it. But I tried it so I could say I'd used it. I liked it and now I use it every few weeks. With a gallon of milk at Wegmans around $2.50 a quart of yogurt made at home is a bargain.

At first I had powdered milk on hand so I used that with the liquid milk and yogurt. When I ran out of powdered milk I just used 1%, and starter yogurt. I think it was thicker with the powdered milk so maybe I will go back to that.

The directions say to stir in the yogurt starter very carefully, stirring gently, never whisking hard or it won't set up. So I was surprised to see some directions for whisking. Maybe it is hard to ruin yogurt.

My favorite flavoring......just a dab of orange syrup made with sugar, water, oj, lemon juice and lots of orange zest. Fabulous!

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I am due for a new crock pot and I see that I can now buy one with a digital temperature control. Does anyone know if I can use this to make yogurt also?

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Bumping this to ask, can I drain yogurt that's just finished culturing, or do I need to chill first and then drain? I've drained only cold yogurt in the past.

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You can drain right after culturing at room temperature, or refrigerate until you need to drain at room temperature or drain in the fridge. It all depends on how tangy you like your Labneh (drained yogurt). We always drain at room temperature.

gallery_39290_2121_21660.jpg

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Just bumping this thread to post Harold McGee's yogurt making article in Tuesday's NY Times.


"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Interestly, McGee recommends chilling the yogurt before draining it, "to firm its structure and slow the continuing acid production."

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The NY Times article and reader response to it prompted me to make my own yogurt this week. I'd always thought that you HAD to have a yogurt maker to do it (my father used to make yogurt in the yogurt maker when I was a kid) so I'd never tried it. I was surprised at how well it worked out without any high-tech equipment at all.

For my first batch I boiled a quart or so of 1% milk in a small saucepan and turned off the stove when I caught it nearly boiling over. I left it to sit in the pan until it was cool enough to dip a finger in without wincing (about 30 minutes just sitting on the stove top), then mixed in the yogurt from the top of a Publix fruit-on-the-bottom yoghurt because that was all we had in the house! I put the lid on the saucepan and popped it into a slightly warm oven with the oven light turned on, and in the morning I was amazed to find a saucepan full of yogurt. It was yummy, if a little strange-looking because I had to decant it from the saucepan into a storage container so that I could use my favourite saucepan for other things.

Today I'm making a second batch and I've refined the technique to make it quicker and easier. I washed a couple of big peanut butter jars to put the yogurt into, and while they dried I heated up two jars worth of 1% milk (no thickener added). When it came to the boil I turned the stove off and left it on the heat for five minutes, then I sat the saucepan in a sink full of cold water (no ice). About ten minutes later the water was warm and the saucepan was lukewarm so I mixed a small tub of plain publix fat free yogurt into it and poured it into the jars. I heated the oven to its lowest setting (ours goes to 170F) while I was boiling the milk and turned it off as soon as it was heated up.

And now the two jars are sitting in the oven with the oven light on, and come the morning I'll be able to see how well they worked out.

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McGee's "Times" piece made me wistful and weepy, because it took me back to my twenties, when I let mandarin segments dry out on my old fashioned Chicago steam-heat radiator, a la MFK, and made my yog in exactly the the way he described. I wrapped the bowl in a couple of towels and set the big bowl on the radiator. I've owned a couple of yogurt makers since then, but the towel-wrapped bowl method rules.

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow?


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I first began making yogurt when I was in the Army, stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco back in the late '50s.

I shared a room with two other girls, one of Japanese descent, one Greek.

I learned how to make yogurt and used a Sunbeam heating pad to wrap around a one-gallon pickle jar that one of the mess cooks gave me.

We shared many "fusion" meals......... :rolleyes:

I have a few yogurt appliances and also occasionally use my big dehydrator for big batches (in several quart jars) but usually make a two-quart batch in a Yolife using the tall cover.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Yogurt batch two turned out yummy - perfectly pot-set and nice and smooth. I ate one jar of it and put most of the second into a paper-towel-lined sieve to drain for a few hours... and that came out delicious! I just used the last part of Jar two to start a new batch of yogurt, and we'll see if was a viable continuing culture - since I only made the yogurt about three days ago I'm hopeful.

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I have been making consistenly for the last two months - much cheaper than Fage and feel like I am making my contribution to the environment by not throwing out a yogurt container every day. I started trying to make in my crock pot but it didn't reach a high enough temp - resulting in slimy yogurt. Then I switched to heating in a pot on the stove and finishing by putting it in my oven with the light on. Now, to save dishes, I just microwave it until it reaches proper temperature (in my microwave - 1/2 gallon=18 minutes), then cool, add yogurt from last batch, and stick in the oven.

I started my first with Fage but found I actually like Stoneyfield better as a starter. Normally, I just use the end of the last batch but sometimes it all gets eaten before that happens. I have been straining to get the thickness I like but am going to try adding powdered milk (since I make using skim milk). Hoping it will thicken without compromising the flavor.


Edited by llc45 (log)

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