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homemade yogurt

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  • katydid Mar 3, 2003 12:39 PM
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I would like to make some homemade yogurt (to save plastic over-packaging, compare it to store bought and just have fun making it) but have questions: is a yogurt maker necessary? does anyone have tips on making yogurt without a yogurt maker? does anyone think homemade yogurt is extraordinarily better or worse than store-bought? thanks!

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  1. When my children were young we always made our own yogurt. A maker isn't necessary but I found that it was easier - not in terms of work required but in terms of mental effort. I didn't need to go find pans, bowls etc. I had two young kids and was working 60-80 hours per week so mental effort was a big thing.

    1. j
      Jeremy Newel

      I used to make yogurt when my children were young, though the yogurt makers at the time were too small to be of practical use for me, since I started with a half-gallon of milk. The yogurt makers then were just one quart size, at least the ones I saw. I used a big pyrex bowl and put it in my bread-rising drawer (just a deep drawer with a light bulb in the back). When the light was on, it was the perfect temperature for making yougurt. I found that I needed to drain my finished yogurt for a few hours to get it to the consistency my children liked.

      1. I've read that using a yogurt maker can make the yogurt too sour since the heat only comes up through the bottom. I think I got that information from The Mexican Breakfast Cookbook. The author has a recipe for vanilla bean yogurt that sounds quite good.

        1. Elton Brown from Good Eats on the Food Network had an episod on homemade yogurt. He didn't use a yogurt, he made one with household material, an electric blanket I think... You might find more information on the FoodTv website.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wendy Lai

            Here's the link to Alton Brown's recipe for fresh yogurt. The show is going to air on 4/19.

            Link: http://www.foodtv.com/foodtv/recipe/0...

          2. A yogurt maker is not necessary. It serves only to maintain the temperature at the correct level. I have used our oven, which can be set as low as 100 degrees, and have had excellent results. You can also use insulated containers with light bulbs or heating pads to maintain the temperature.

            The homemade yogurt was the best yogurt that my wife and I had ever had! I make it a gallon at a time and put it in pint Ball canning jars so that we can use it in small batches. Since it's so good we go through it very quickly, so it would probably be fine in larger containers.

            My advice is to use Stonyfield plain yogurt (if you can get it where you are) as your starter culture. I also used whole milk with additional non-fat dry milk to boost the amount of milk solids in the mixture.

            Link: http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/dairy/g4...

            1. You can make yogurt without a yogurt maker. I started with one and gave that away soon. I make all the yogurt my husband and I eat.

              The advantage to making yogurt without a yogurt maker is the flexibility in the amount you make in one batch.

              The equipment that I find indispensable is a thermometer if you don't already have one. All the other equipment I use in making my yogurt are stuff that I can find in my house so I don't have to buy more stuff. (I have the impression you think along the same line.)

              I tried a powder yogurt starter that I got from a health food store once. It does not taste any different from yogurt I make using a plain flavor commercial yogurt.

              I bought a Greek yogurt, a Icelandic skyr and a Stoneyfield yogurt to start 3 separate batches of yogurt to compare. The tastes were slightly different but not different enough for me. Each time I make a batch of yogurt, I take off about 4 tablespoons and put them in a glass jar which I leave in the freezer. This is the starter I use when I make the next batch of yogurt. This frozen starter stays good in the freezer for months. The starter I have now have yogurt from Greece, Iceland and New Hampshire all mixed together. I figure whatever benefits each strain of the bacteria are supposed to bestow, I have them in my homemade yogurt.

              Just about all commercial yogurts need some thickeners to help the product withstand the transportation. I personally would rather do without them. Overall, I would say my homemade yogurt does not taste that much better than the commercial products. The Greek yogurt I bought has been strained and has a very nice texture. It's also 3 times the price of "normal" yogurt. You can do that yourself but you only get about 1/3 of the volume after the liquid is strained out and it's quite a bit of work. Similar situation with the Icelandic skyr.

              If you have the time, I recommend making yogurt at home. Once you have the process worked out for your own situation, it really takes little work.

              I hope this is helpful. Rosalia

              3 Replies
              1. re: frankrosalia

                Thanks for all that info. I loved the tip on putting the starter in the freezer. The question I have is what type of container do you use to make the yogurt in? Do you then"make" it in your oven, microwave etc and for how long? I have seen the Alton Brown show and even printed the recipe, but he uses a heating pad. Most heating pads these days have an automatic shut-off, which makes it impossible to keep the milk warm long enough to make yogurt.
                Thanks for all your tips . Hope you can answer these questions.

                1. re: frankrosalia

                  Doesn't freezing it destroy the live cultures?

                  1. re: Enso

                    ive never had a problem culturing yogurt with frozen starter.

                2. You don't need a yogurt maker. I use my microwave:

                  Mix two liters of whole milk, 400 grams of powdered milk, two liters of water (meaning a very milk rich solution), a touch of sugar, and starter. Distribute in five one-liter tubs; put all in MW; zap on high for four minutes; then for 45 seconds every one-and-a-half hours or so. Up to 12 hours for really thick, rich, perfectly tasting yogurt. I have to make it on a day I'm at home, but we consume tons of the stuff.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    I'm going to try it Sat....is the powdered milk the grainy stuff from the store or is the powdery milk for health food stores?
                    Thanks for responding.

                    1. re: kanosis

                      I use store bought. There really aren't any health food stores here. You do have to do some initial whisking of powder, water, and milk to make sure all the powdered milk is dissolved.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        My batch of yogurt didn't work out. I don't know what I did wrong. It had the consistency of baby burp, watery and curdled. I want to try again, but maybe stick to something conventional. I started the process late so by the time I needed to reheat it in the micro for the 10th time,, well I just fell asleep! But still I thought I'd see it "jell" by hour 8. No such luck. I threw the whole batch away.
                        :-(

                        1. re: kanosis

                          You could have strained out the curds ended up with some good yogurt. Don't give up because it's too easy. You really shouldn't have to reheat anything. Just heat the milk once. Add the starter and keep it warm. I live in Fla so maybe that helps but if I but it in my electric oven with the light on it gets pretty warm like near 100* without being turned on. You don't have to look at it. If you do it in the evening just go to bed and it should be ready in the morning. My last batch I did before work and just left and when I returned home I had some amazing thick yogurt that didn't need straining by using the powdered milk in addition to regular 2%.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            I shouldn't have thrown it away, you are right, But it looked gross to me. The kids wouldn't eat it.( It takes only one to start the eeeeoow thing.) Now that I think of it, I could've used it for cooking. Well let me tell you and Sam, I started another batch. I just couldn't believe I couldn't make yogurt! My god, you guys rave on how easy it is! So my second batch...on Monday was delicious!!!! My yogurt lasted one day. Friends, family and my sons' friends came over and ate the whole batch! So then I tried another batch yesterday! Again, I screwed up the batch but at least I know why! I set the oven to 350F. ( I was making cookies earlier but forgot to reduce the temp. when I started the yogurt! ) Well although it looked gross, I emptied all the jars and strained the whole mess . I combined blueberries and honey and whirled it in a blender. It's been 24 hours and half of that batch is gone!
                            So, long story short, the whole family is happy with the yogurt and now I have a group of teenagers who want to learn how to make it,too. (fFrst lesson tomorrow!) So thanks for your suggestions and support. :-)

                          2. re: kanosis

                            I owe you a batch. One thing: our great water here has for unknown reasons become more mineral over the last year. I've switched to using good bottled water instead of tap after also getting a less than perfect batch.

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              I think I didn't control the heat. Once I have mastered the whole thing, I want to start adding fruit to the bottom of the jar before adding the yogurt. I learned that the key is everything is at 105-110 F --fruit, yogurt starter and milk. The second batch I added more powdered milk. It tasted creamier and the kids liked it better, but I liked it with less powdered milk. I live in the highdesert and the tap water's fine.. I want this whole process to be cost effective. (got 3 hungry teenagers! ) Thanks for getting me started on this. Why did I wait so long to learn...!

                            2. re: kanosis

                              Did you stir at all or disturb it? The first time I made yogurt it curdled, because I disturbed it.

                              1. re: jsaimd

                                Yea, you could have a point there. I did stir the heck out of it. After reading the Nebraska link, I learned I should have gently stirred it. But I think I just had the heat too high the first time and I really didn't know I could use it even if it looked like baby burp. Live and learn! Thanks.

                              2. re: kanosis

                                look up the recipe for greek yogurt on dedemed.com. it works. (the higher temp is 185). also- a tip and i have done this- if you use ultra pasterurized milk, you only have to bring it to 115 degrees then proceed. the initial higher temperature is not necessary with that UP(ultra pasteurized) milk, since it has already been brought to over that temperature in the processing. one more tip- if you mix the yogurt that you are using as a starter with some of the warm milk/cream mix, like tempering, then stir it back into the pot with the rest of the milk/cream, you will not get the lumps you might get if you just dump the yogurt straight into the pot and stir it. i tell you, i am not a yogurt maker, but i did this and it was so good i could not stop eating it!

                          3. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Why on earth would you use a microwave? That is pretty much defeating the purpose of making a good home made product. Microwaving destroys and changes the structure of whatever you "cook" in there.

                            I have made my own yogurt quite successfully when I used "store-bought" milk--but only whole milk. It came out nice and thick and not sour at all. I don't know how you could make a successful yogurt with low-fat milk, unless you use thickeners.

                            I now use raw goat's milk, straight from a farmer, but found I could not make my own yogurt without a yogurt maker, with the goat's milk--it's much thinner than cow's milk and much creamier. So, I splurged and bought a yogurt maker from Amazon and it works beautifully. My first batch came out thick and creamy, with no need to add a thickener, Why would I bother making my own if I wanted fillers and artificial ingredients? I might as well buy it from the store.

                            I purchased a Yolife yogurt maker from Amazon for $39.95. It comes with 7 glass jars to make about 1 liter of yogurt and a larger lid so that you can use your own larger container to make bigger quantities. I love it.

                            1. re: jazznut50

                              Yogurt can be made with any fat content milk and no thickeners are needed. You just increase the time you hold the warm temp; longer for lower fat.

                              What artificial ingredients and fillers are you talking about?

                              And as for the Microwaving stuff for the most part it does little more than conventional cooking methods.
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/hea...
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwav...
                              http://ehealthmd.com/content/microwav...

                              1. re: chefj

                                Hey Chefj,

                                You are just wonderful! Thanks for the straight talk and links for evidence. I wanted to know everything you just debunked, so thanks again ;-)

                          4. I like my yogurt maker, but I saw that Food & Wine magazine (I think a recent one; I saw it in the library) has a recipe for yogurt that instructs to heat an oven to 175 and then turn it off before putting the bowl of soon-to-be-yogurt in overnight (if I remember right, it should have a layer of plastic wrap right on the yogurt). I'm interested to try it -- we have a small kitchen and I'm always looking for ways to get rid of unnecessary stuff -- but I'm afraid it might get too tart/sour. I usually stop mine at about 4 hours, which keeps it pretty mild.

                            1. I don't remember if I invented this method or read about it somewhere years ago, but it works perfectly: after scalding and cooling your milk to lukewarm, add the yogurt starter (whatever brand or variety you want), put into jars, and put the jars in a cooler. Fill the cooler to the level of the milk in the jars with hot water from the tap - so that the milk in the jars and the water in the cooler are at the same level - and set it aside overnight. The heat retained by the hot water and the cooler provides the perfect environment for the yogurt bugs to multiply; in the morning you'll have lovely homemade yogurt.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Bat Guano

                                Now that's a good idea, Bat Guano (if that's really your name). I've been putting the covered bowl on my laptop overnight, but worry that one day my cats will do something even more messy and expensive than they usually do. Thanks for the advice and the good night's rest.

                                1. re: tummy

                                  LOL- cool old movie reference

                              2. I'm no expert on yogurt making but I can say one thing. In the countryside of Mongolia yogurt was a staple and was made daily. A bit of yogurt was left in a big bowl, new milk was stirred in with it, and it was left next to the woodstove where it would stay warm. Then within a day, as I recall, it was yogurt. The cream of the milk would settlte to the top and make a buttery surface on the top of the yogurt. Most of it would get eaten but a bit was left behind and more milk was mixed in and it was left next to the stove again and in this way there was yogurt every day.

                                1. We've been making homemade yogurt for a couple of months now with great success. We use skim UHT milk with some skim milk powder in our yogurt maker. We usually start with a few tablespoons of something with live cultures (whatever plain live yogurt has the furthest away expiry date) and then use the 1st batch to start the 2nd and so forth. Then we strain it to make it like greek yogurt. Delicious and lots of fun.

                                  Here is my Q for experienced yogurt makers: we've found that we can use the previous batch to start the next one at least 5 times. After about 6 batches the yogurt just isnt very yogurty, so we buy a new container to start it again. Is there anyway to prevent having to buy new starters? Do you have this problem, too?

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: relizabeth

                                    One thing you need to do is take starter from a full container--a bit from the top, bit from the middle, and a bit from the bottom. The cultures seem to differ a bit within each container by level. Anyway, the method has meant that I no longer have to buy new starter every 4-5 times as you've also experienced.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Very interesting! So, once you've made a batch of yogurt, do you take out a generous tablespoon from the top and reserve, and when half way through and when scraping the bottom, you add to it?

                                      We usually strain half of our yogurt a little too much and then mix it in well with the unstrained to make something that ends up the consistency of Greek yogurt. And then we used that strained, blended yogurt to start a new one. This next batch- which I think is the 6th- I will start before straining the most recent one with your method.

                                      1. re: relizabeth

                                        I have been using the Salton one qt. yogurt maker for about a month now and love it. I have been using 2% Straus cream top organic, a scant 1/2 cup of organic powdered non-fat milk and a packet of Yogourmet Starter. Five hours seems to be perfect for us as he doesn't like it really tart. Using the starter is cheap enough and to me, is much easier than saving some from the last batch.

                                        I don't like yogurt, Gawd knows I have tried, because deep down I think that there is a direct link between yogurt and world peace -- but my husband loves it and eats about a quart a week. I take out some from my batch, a cup or so and strain in to make yo-cheese, which I absolutely love.

                                        Question: I have used whole milk, and 2% (mostly), and would like to try it with 1%. How would the end result compare with using 2% - taste, texture, thickness?????

                                        1. re: Canthespam

                                          I make it with 1% or skim all the time. I prefer 1%, but hubby was raised on skim and it is hard to move him the other way. I find that I have to add more powdered milk, but probably not much more than you add. It is a bit tarter without the fat. If you don't add the powdered milk can be thin. With those I get a nice thick yogurt. Give it a try and see if you like it. Some people just don't like low-fat yoghurt. You can also try a non-fat yoghurt that isn't thickened with gelatin or pectin, like the strauss and get an idea of the texture.

                                          1. re: jsaimd

                                            Thanks, I'll try the 1%. I only eat the yo-cheese that I make with my yogurt - mostly 2% - my husband is the yogurt eater. I drink and make my smoothies with non-fat milk.

                                        2. re: relizabeth

                                          reliz, just dig down through the one liter container with a spoon. My yogurt comes out as thick or thicker than Greek because of the hihgh amount of powdered milk relative to water that I use.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            will do! Our yogurt maker came with a bizarre spoon (and very scanty directions) which will be perfect for the job! Also, we will try upping the dry milk %.

                                    2. i've made it three ways: yogurt maker, thermos, and gas stove. it is amazingly better than typical name brand store bought stuff. amazingly. way sweeter, less bitter.

                                      i just get some milk (lately, skim), bring to a boil for a couple minutes, take off heat and allow to cool until i can put my finger into the milk without it hurting. then whisk in a few TBSP of plain yogurt and pour into dish or jars (depending on method). then it sits overnight (or all day) while it firms up and cultures, and then promptly goes into the fridge to cool. when using skim milk, i add some powdered milk to thicken, usually just a couple TBSP. otherwise, i don't bother.
                                      as for starter, i usually get a tub of plain yogurt with active cultures, scoop it into an ice cube tray and freeze it into starter cubes. then, if i forget to keep some yogurt from a batch, or it seems to be losing strength, i have some readily avail in my freezer.

                                      -yogurt maker-
                                      convenient, clean. picked mine up at the thrift store along with extra little jars. great for single serving jars, or to add small amounts to recipes. kinda annoying if you are using for large quantity sauces or to strain.

                                      -gas oven-
                                      if you have a gas oven, i found this was the easiest method by far. the pilot light creates just enough heat in a closed oven to perfectly culture the yogurt. just pour your milk and starter mixture into a dish of choice and close the door. leave overnight. (or do it in the morning before work and take it out when you come home to make dinner)

                                      -thermos-
                                      now that i don't have a gas oven anymore, i use this method when i need lots of yogurt, not in tiny jars. warm the inside of a quality thermos while you prepare milk mixture. when milk mixture is ready, pour into the pre-warmed thermos and seal. wrap a towel around the top and sides of the thermos and place on top of your fridge all the way to the back, so that part of the bottom of the thermos is suspended over the gap in between your fridge and wall. the heat from the fridge motor is enough to keep the thermos from cooling off as it sits over night. mine is metal, in and out, which probably helps with the heat.

                                      1. I pour the yogurt into jars and place them in a cooler filled with 110 degree water. Works great.

                                        Debs

                                        http://food.gofrolic.org

                                        1. I had a half gallon of 2% milk that I wanted to get rid of so decided to make yogurt. I just made it in a 6 qt saute pan. Warmed the milk to 190* F held there for a few minutes then turned fire off. When it hit 130* F I scooped some out some of the milk and added it to a pint of plain store bought yogurt blended and returned to the saute pan. Let sit on the stove then transferred it to the oven that had been warmed. Let it sit in there for 8 hours. The appearance before refrigerating was that it was setting but still very loose. This morning it had thickened to a nice consistency. I placed it in a strainer lined with cheese cloth and placed it back over the pot and it's in the fridge now straining. Should be nice and thick after losing some water. Initial taste was good. More tang than grocery store yogurt. You really don't need a yogurt maker. The recipe that I had given to me years ago did not specify temperature. You brought the milk to a lite boil then cooled till you could hold your finger in with out pulling out for 10 secs. I tested and that's just about 125-130* F.

                                          1. I made yogurt yesterday for the first time since I was a kid. I can't say I saved any money, because of the cost of milk and nonfat dried milk powder, but it was still a satisfying experience. The yogurt is delicious plain, with a balanced flavor.

                                            I was inspired by my stepmom, in a roundabout sort of way. When I visited them earlier this month, she was making yogurt by heating the milk with the powdered milk in the microwave, then culturing it with leftover from her earlier batch. Her yogurt had an incredibly gelatinous texture. It fell in swoopy sheets from a spoon, stretching out like mozarella first before separating into the swoopy bit, incredibly weird. I was concerned that using the powdered milk would give my yogurt this quality, but didn't have this happen. She said this result was intentional, in order to get the yogurt to "hold" jam without the whey separating. Do you all have any idea why her yogurt was so gelatinous?

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: amyzan

                                              I have had that weird texture when I don't keep it hot enough. It is gross and my family chokes it down so as not to waste it. Re the cost...

                                              Here a gallon of milk is about $5 and the powdered milk I say about $1 (probably less) per batch. I get 5 quarts of yogurt for $6 and a quart of yogurt is around $3.50 so it certainly is a savings even though I didn't think it would be!

                                              1. re: jsaimd

                                                We drink only pastured milk, so that's why there's little to no savings above the organic yogurt we've bought. But, that's allright with me. I'm pleased with the results and as long as I'm working from home, I enjoy making time for good food. I just wanted to avoid mistakes as much as I can, because I'm starting with premium product, you know? My stepmom's yogurt is from the same base ingredients, but I was happy to see I could get better results. I just wanted to avoid having to choke down bizarrely textured yogurt! I appreciate you sharing the bit about the temperature, so I'll know this is what to avoid. I have a setup that will hold the yogurt at a steady temp while it cultures, and it seems to have made all the difference.

                                              2. re: amyzan

                                                I made yogurt many times before and easily ended up the right consistency.

                                                However there was a time I was living in a remote part of the world, where they do not have unsweetened, unflavoured yogurt in the stores. So I took some flavoured yogurt and tried to make my own using UHT milk. As for equipment, I could do nothing better than putting the mixture in a warm water bath in a saucepan (and insulating it), and I had to reheat the water one more time to get the yogurt to thicken enough.

                                                The yogurt I made that way was consistently gooey and slimy, even though it still tasted fine. So I suppose it matches jsaimd's experience that the slimy yogurt comes from not keeping the mixture warm enough.

                                                1. re: tarteaucitron

                                                  I make my yogurt in glass jars that I put in a plastic cooler for about 8-12 hours. After 4 hours, I add hot water (not boiling hot) from the tap to the cooler so the jars sit in about 2 inches of hot water. Whenever I come across a batch that looks gooey and slimy, I add the hot water and give the bacteria another 4 hours to do the job. That works well for me.

                                                  I experimented with making yogurt without heating the milk. I think the yogurt did not quite come together.

                                                  I do not use powdered milk in my yogurt because I have read that it contains exceptionally high level of oxysterols (oxidized cholesterol), which may be atherogenic and carcinogenic. I also do not want to use a highly processed food item if I don't have to.

                                                  1. re: frankrosalia

                                                    I'd be interested to hear where you read that powdered milk contained oxidized cholesterol. Is it the processing method that's the culprit, or is it a particular brand that was tested with oxysterols?

                                                2. re: amyzan

                                                  Gelatinous, mozzarella-stringy yogurt explained here:
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567084

                                                3. I used to have a (?) Sunset book on making yogurt that had a Sweet Vanilla Yogurt recipe that was amazing with fresh strawberries. It used dried and fresh milk and also some sweetened condensed milk. I had Haitian vanilla that I'd put in. Fantastic. No idea where the book is now :(

                                                  (Look what I just found!)

                                                  SWEET VANILLA YOGURT

                                                  3 c. warm water (120°F, 50°C)
                                                  1 c. instant nonfat dry milk
                                                  1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
                                                  1/4 c. plain yogurt, room temperature
                                                  1/2 t. vanilla extract

                                                  In small bowl, place warm water, dry milk, sweetened condensed milk and yogurt. Mix with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Pour into a 1-1/2-quart container or individual containers. Cover. Incubate 3-4 hours at a constant temperature of about 110°F (43°C). Do not disturb during incubation. After 3 hours, remove cover and gently shake mixture to see if it is firm. If not, let stand 1 more hour and check again. Refrigerate as soon as yogurt begins to set. Chill at least 6 hours before serving. Makes about 1 quart. (Note: you cannot save the sweetened yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch.)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: dockhl

                                                    That sounds good! I don't like the flavor of dry milk, so I'd use skim milk heated to 190, and then cooled to 110, I think.

                                                    1. re: bakergal

                                                      My babysitter is from Syria and she told me that to have thicker consistency, don't cover your yogurt as it is proofing with a lid, but use a towel. And she was right. I always make my yogurt with whole milk and I don't cover it and the texture is awesome. Each time I have yogurt, I do put about a teaspoon of turbinado sugar in one cup of yogurt, or some fruit. If the yogurt doesn't sit too long (over 6 hours) then it remains sweet.

                                                  2. On the advice of a Sunset magazine article from the eighties, I've used non-instant dry milk (buy in a natural foods grocery) to fortify the low fat fluid milk that has been scalded. Makes a nice, thick, mild yogurt with extra protein and calcium - yes, extra calories from the dry milk, too. I use 2/3 cup of dry milk to each quart of fluid milk. Granulated dry milk from the regular grocery store makes the yogurt grainy.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: rexsreine

                                                      By your wording, I'm guessing you add the powdered milk after the liquid milk has scalded then? I'm curious, because I'm currently experimenting with different techniques, etc. So, do you use a blender and wait until the milk is room temperature or blend it while it's hot?

                                                    2. HELP -- I really dislike the taste of dry milk powder. How can I make sure my yogurt is thick enough without using it? I prefer using nonfat or 1% milk.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: fmlyoung

                                                        The dry milk flavor isn't strong. Try it in a batch and see if you like it. We make 7 quarts at a time and use between 3-4 cups of dry milk to 6 quarts of milk.

                                                        Other techniques include straining, gelatin or other thickeners, and transglutaminase.

                                                      2. If you heat your milk to where it just starts to boil then cool it down, it restructures the proteins giving you a much thicker texture in the finished product.

                                                        After cooling it down to 110F, I will add my starter yogurt and just put the pot (that I used to heat the milk) right into a cooler with a couple of tubs of hot water on each side of the pot and let it sit for 5 hours.

                                                        1. I'll throw in my 2 cents as well...I just made yogurt for the first time this past weekend and it came out fantastic! I wanted to use skim milk so I assumed the nonfat dry milk powder was necessary. What I did was:

                                                          Whisk half gallon of milk and 1 cup of milk powder really well, then heated it up to 185 F; I did not hold it at that temp, just brought it up then cooled it down. I cooled it to 110, added 2 tablespoons of Fage 0% plain, then covered it and stuck it in my food dehydrator on the "yogurt" setting (which I never even realized it had that setting!). I waited 7 hours and it was the right taste and the texture of traditional yogurt. The next batch I will strain to make the consistency more like that of Greek yogurt. Plus I will use the strained whey in my bread making.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mels

                                                            Congrats on success with your first attempt.

                                                            When you brought it up to 185 and then dropped it, it held at a range that would kill off competing bacteria. It doesn't take long at that temp to kill off a lot of germs. I would see no reason to hold it there for any length of time.

                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                              Heating the milk to 180-F is not to kill off bacteria, unless you are using raw milk, it's already pasteurized. The heating is done to transform the milk proteins in order to prevent curds from forming and make a thicker yogurt.

                                                              http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nch...

                                                          2. I make homemade yogurt all the time. A yogurt maker really isn't necessary. I use either my slow cooker or my rice cooker. The taste is phenomenal and as long as you don't use reactive surfaces, the yogurt will not need straining to get a thick texture. Basically, don't use metal - use glass or ceramic. http://insunee.blogspot.com/2011/10/m...

                                                             
                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: insunee

                                                              I just made homemade yogurt for the first time and used my slow cooker. It's far less than perfect, so hoping I can get some tips. First, the recipe I used said to heat the milk on low for 2-3 hours until it reaches 180 degrees F. Well, that took about 5 hours even after I turned it up to high for a half hour. Then the recipe said to cool to 80 degrees before adding the starter. After it took so long to get to the high temp, I was running out of time so I cooled the bowl down in a sink filled with cold water. It was at 77 degrees when I stirred in the starter.

                                                              The end result tastes ok, but it's kind of gummy-slimy. Not inedible, but not what I wanted at all.

                                                              I'm thinking that the rapid cool down (which still took more than 2 hours) is the problem, or maybe it was too cool when the starter was added. Could also be that the bowl became too cold, so it affected that the incubation afterwards (about 10 hours).

                                                              I'm making this with organic high pasteurized (don't think this is the same as ultra, but hard to know from foreign labels) whole milk and organic 1.5 percent yogurt for the starter.

                                                              Any suggestions would be appreciated. I'll probably mix some fruit in this mixture I have and call it a yogurt drink.

                                                              1. re: Transplant_DK

                                                                i started making my yogurt this way too and it does take forever! now i still use the crock of my slow cooker but only for incubation. you dont need powdered milk or a thermometer - i spent a lot of time (and milk!) fussing over time and temp when you dont need to.
                                                                bring any type of milk to 180 (i use pastuerized 2%) on the stove top. you dont have to do this on low, i actually do this on a medium setting. if your not using a thermometer, watch for bubbles forming along the sides of the pot and it should thicken up to lightly coat the back of a spoon. dont worry if it goes above 180.
                                                                then put the pot in a sink with cold water with or without ice cubes. the amount of time it takes to cool doesnt matter but you want it to get around 110 - when you can stick your pinky in it and it doesnt burn its ready.
                                                                take out a couple scoops of milk and mix it with your starter and combine well. put everything in your crock with the lid.
                                                                after so many failed batches, ive finally found my secret weapon: an old heating pad i found in the basement! 10-12hrs set on med-low under my sink while i sleep and i have perfect, thick yogurt every time!
                                                                i thought at first i was using the wrong milk, the thermometer was broken, maybe there was other bacteria interfering?...but no, i finally realized that my good batches were made in the summer and now its winter. duh. so for me, the whole trick was keeping it at the right temp during incubation - i live in WNY and this time of year, there arent very many places in my house where it stays at a constant 110...
                                                                so in short, dont fuss over it. bacteria will find a way to thrive no matter the type of milk or how long or how fast you changed the milks temperature. but you do have to keep them happy - or in other words: warm. good luck!

                                                                1. re: bflobear

                                                                  I've been incubating in my oven, off with the light on which keeps things just toasty enough

                                                            2. I was making yogurt today but accidentally boiled the milk instead of just bringing it to 185F. Can I still use the milk for yogurt? Would be such a shame to waste it.
                                                              Thnaks!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: anit

                                                                As long as the milk is not "broken" it is fine to use for yogurt just let it cool before you add your starter.

                                                              2. My husband's been making yogurt all the time since the fall. He uses a plain yogurt as a starter, warms the milk to the right temp and then puts in a glass bowl on top of a heating pad, covered with a towel. Lately, he's been draining the final product through a tea towel to remove a whole lof of liquid and it ends up being really, really good Greek-style yogurt. So,no you don't need a whole bunch of special equipment.

                                                                1. Vietnamese Yogurt

                                                                  I made this recipe several times and it's really good.
                                                                  It has a delicate sweet / sour flavor combination. It's not as sour or as tart
                                                                  as regular yogurt. I really like it. The finised product has a delicate
                                                                  sweet / sour taste, but doesn't taste heavily of sweetended condensed milk.
                                                                  You can eat it for breakfast or as a dessert.

                                                                  Google "Vietnamese Yogurt" for more info, suggested uses, etc.

                                                                  Ingredients:

                                                                  1 - 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
                                                                  2 cups boiling water
                                                                  1 - 12-oz can evaporated milk (or 1-1/3 cups fresh milk - I used fresh milk)
                                                                  2/3 cup regular plain yogurt (used as a starter)

                                                                  Instructions:

                                                                  Heat 2-cups of water to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in sweetened condensed milk.
                                                                  Whisk until the sweetended condensed milk is completely mixed. Set aside and allow to cool to 105-F or below.

                                                                  In another bowl, mix 2/3 cup regular plain yogurt into the evaporated or fresh milk.
                                                                  Whisk well until the yogurt is completely mixed and no lumps remain.

                                                                  Check the water/condensed milk mixutre and make sure it's 105-F or lower.
                                                                  Any higher and you will kill the yogurt starter and the recipe will fail.

                                                                  If temperature is right, whisk the water/sweetended condensed milk and
                                                                  the yogurt/milk together until they are completely mixed.

                                                                  If you have a yogurt maker, incubate for 6-hours, until the Vietnamese yogurt
                                                                  is set up (thickened) and has a sweet / sour / tart taste. It's not sour like regular yogurt.
                                                                  The finished product is not thick like regular yogurt, but more like a milkshake.

                                                                  If you don't have a yogurt maker, heat your oven to 200-F and TURN IT OFF.
                                                                  Place yogurt mixture in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
                                                                  Place in OFF oven for 6-hours. Leave oven lightbulb on, it will help to keep
                                                                  incubating yogurt warm.

                                                                  Place finished Vietnamese Yogurt in fridge and chill before eating.

                                                                  Makes about 4-cups.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                    An interesting alternate. What's the Vietnamese name for this?
                                                                    How is served for dessert or breakfast? With sliced fruit, what kind, all that...
                                                                    Thanks!

                                                                  2. My crockpot will run on its timer for up to 20 hours. Its internal cooking temperature is around 200-F.

                                                                    Ok here are the results of my experiment to use a crockpot to keep a bowl of bread dough warm for rising.

                                                                    The room temperature of my kitchen was 75 degrees F.

                                                                    I set up my 6-qt oval crockpot as follows. I added 2 inches of 80 degree water to it and placed the lid on it, inverted. I set the crockpot to cook 4 hours on LOW.

                                                                    Since the glass lid of the crockpot is dome shaped, when inverted, this left a hollow in which to nest a towel and bowl to warm dough in.

                                                                    I folded a kitchen towel several times until it was about 1-inch thick and placed it on the inverted crockpot lid.

                                                                    I took a 4-quart stainless steel mixing bowl and filled it with 2-inches of 80 degree F water. I placed the bowl on top of the towel on the crockpot set to LOW. I covered the 4-qt mixing bowl with a metal pie pan.

                                                                    After 1-hour the water in the bowl was 85-degrees F. After 2-hours the water in the bowl was 90-degrees F. The room temperature was still 75 degrees F.

                                                                    So it appears you can use a crockpot to keep a bowl of dough warm for rising. Next I will have to experiment with real active bread dough or maybe sourdough starter.

                                                                    You could probably use this setup to incubate yogurt.

                                                                    With a thinner towel or using less folds, and maybe running the crockpot on HIGH you could achieve higher temperatures if desired.

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