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Help with yogurt making

I never have difficulty with my yogurt setting up, it's the resulting texture that I'm not loving. I would be happy with a thick curd with whey or a smooth whey-less result but what I end up with is a thick, viscuous, ropey texture - as if I'm eating one continuous strand - not appealing. For my most recent batch I used local non-homogenized not ultra-pasteurized 2% milk combined with an organic nonfat powdered milk for my base and mixed a full fat Greek yogurt with some Stonyfield lowfat as my starter. Would I be better off using a purchsed starter from a cheesemaking supplier, or is it the addition of powdered milk, or perhaps another factor? I'm going to try and drain this batch for a yogurt cheese since I just can't abide eating the yogurt-goo out of a bowl.

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  1. I use whole milk plus powdered whole milk and saved starter (or just a cup of purchased plain yogurt). I've always gotten perfect texture.

    1. You guys, can you help me out please? I too have been trying to make yogurt. First, with part skim - results, not good. Then with whole milk and starter yogurt, it was just ok, barely set and gooey as described above. (I use 2 quarts milk to 1 cup yogurt).
      How do the 2 of you use powdered milk - what ratio? And are you making it without a machine, like I am attempting to do? I have a friend who swears it's easy to make without a machine.
      Thanks!

      1. I don't use powdered milk in my yogurt, but I do use the 1-qt Salton machine. I'll make a batch using whole or 2% organic, ultra-pasteurized milk and a plain yogurt for the starter. If I use a new carton of milk, I don't bother heating to 110 (or whatever the temp is supposed to be), but I will if I'm using an opened carton. I read that you need to kill off any non-yogurt bacteria or they will compete in the yogurt and it won't turn out as well.

        I've never had a problem with "ropey" yogurt, though, so I'm not sure what would cause that. Most homemade yogurts won't have the consistency of storebought yogurts and you definitely won't get the Greek consistency without some draining.

        1 Reply
        1. re: leanneabe

          Thanks for the replies. I'm thinking it might be the milk I'm using although that would make make me sad since it's the closest to raw milk that I can find in my area. I don't remember this happening when I used a lesser quality milk whole or 2%.

          As for the making, I stir in 1/2 cup powdered milk to one quart liquid milk (whole or 2%). I heat this to 118-120, and let it cool down a few minutes - approx. 115 - and then stir in my starter which has been tempered with some of the warm liquid. I pour this into clean ball-mason jars of whichever size I need, place the jar/s in a bath-towel lined mini insulated cooler, shut the lid and check the consistency every few hours. Last night I prepared my yogurt before going to bed and it was fine this morning except for that icky consistency - which happened the last time I used the same brand of milk.

        2. morebubbles, I use two liters of (newly opened) whole milk + 400 grams of full powdered milk + 1.5 liters or so of filtered water. I add starter and a tsp of sugar (more for the organisms to chew on). Whisk all together. No need to preheat. I put all in one liter tubs, put them covered in the microwave: 4 min and 30 secs on high; and then 45 seconds roughly every hour and a half. The longer you go, the firmer the yogurt. I make yogurt when I'm going to be around the house and have let it go for 12 hours. Perfect, tart, good.

          cc, maybe the near raw milk is separating and then making separate strands.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Maybe it is the milk...I'm going to make another batch with another brand of (homogenized) milk. This yogurt even drained oddly - very syrupy whey and even after 14 hours does not resemble yogurt cheese, however, the flavor is delicious. I made myself a nice mango lassi for breakfast - chunks of frozen mango, freshly ground cardamom seeds, a grating of nutmeg, splash of agave nectar, pinch of sea salt and some cold filtered water. Now that was tasty.

            1. re: chitta chef

              To follow up: I made up another batch, same recipe, different milk (Organic Valley 2%). The resulting yougirt was rich, smooth and creamy - lovely texture. The milk I was using befire must have been the goop culprit.

            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

              SF-Thanks for your technique - interesting! Also chitta chef's insulated cooler method.
              I guess I'll try to make it different ways before giving up. I hadn't tried with the powdered milk yet. Sam, one question: how powerful is your microwave? I have a fear of killing the bacteria...

              1. re: morebubbles

                Normal MW. You can't kill the bacteria with a MW with the four-plus minutes. The idea is to get the mixture to, and maintain it at a wrm temperature.

            3. I found out what causes the slimy, stringy yogurt!
              Read here:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567084

              1. Very happy with mine I use a one quart yogurt maker not the little ones. 4 cups orgainic 2pct 4-6z of condensed milk. Organic plain or vanilla yogurt 3/4 of the container.

                dc

                2 Replies
                1. re: don515

                  What's the brand of yogurt maker you use?

                  1. re: walker

                    It's a Salton paid $15 on ebay.....

                2. Thanks to all for the tips. I made my first batch of homemade yogurt last week and was really put off by the texture. I wanted a thick, creamy Greek-style yogurt, and instead got this viscous, almost gelatinous, goopy stuff. My kids are plowing though enormous quantities of the 750 mL tubs of the store-bought stuff and I'm looking forward to offering a yummier, healthier and cheaper option.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Miss Mac

                    Miss Mac, I got the same gelationous, goopy stuff -- then I found out why that happens -- you really have to heat the milk to 180 degrees F. I wrote more about
                    my success with making Greek-style yogurt here, after I figured out what I did to get the goopy, slimy stuff. Same link as above:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567084

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Also make sure you keep the temp up. If you let it cool down too much at the beginning of the process you will also get the ropey stuff. We make all of our yogurt now in a method very similar to maria lorraine - except we do use the microwave. I have more microwave space than cupboard space in my house!