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Feb 22, 2010 02:18 PM

Does yogurt "wear out"??

OK, so I used Stonyfield Farms yogurt as a starter for a batch of yogurt that came out fine. Then I used some of that batch to make the next one; it came out not smooth, but leaning toward ricotta texture, & was a bit more tangy. Then I tried to use some of *that* batch to make more... nothing happened. I scalded & cooled the milk as usual, stirred in the starter, left it in a warm oven as usual, but after 5 hours all I had was warm milk with a slight yogurt flavor. Anybody know what went wrong?

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  1. I've seen one or two recipes where they say not to re-use a starter more than twice, but they never said why. I just made my third consecutive batch (which is 2 re-uses) with what was originally Fage yogurt and it is every bit as good as the first one. But I've gone no more than 2 weeks between batches. If you go longer the bugs might be less energetic.

    There are lots of yogurt makers out there. I'm sure they will comment.

    1. hmm... I've always used yogurt that I make as starter for the next batch unless I don't have any on hand (I finished the last bit because it had been too long since I last made it); so as zeldog suggests, it may be because there was too much time in between? I would've thought the contrary--the longer you leave it the more dense the yogurt population, until you cross the threshold where they all die out; but if it tastes fine, it should me that it's still alive.

      1. I buy and use "fresh" starter every fourth batch. Each successive culturing gives me a slightly more tangy flavor; and the third batch is not quite as vigorous in that the yogurt thickens just a bit less.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          I've noted the increase in tang from successive batches

        2. Thanks for the replies! I don't think time would have been a factor, it was about the same each time- definitely less than 2 weeks. I asked my son(microbiology major) about it & I think I may have inadvertently selected for more heat-loving bacteria while making it. Time to experiment a bit I think. Or just buy it; I do like that cream on top, lol.

          1. I've had similar trouble making yogurt from my own homemade yogurt. Sometimes it works fine, other times I have poor results. Now I buy a tub of yogurt (I've been using Siggi's), divide it into ice cube trays, freeze it, and store the cubes in a freezer bag, using each one as my starter. That way it's a fresh starter each time. It works really well, and I haven't had any trouble.

            2 Replies
            1. re: RosemaryHoney

              That's a great tip, RH! I didn't know you could freeze yogurt. Do you just take out a couple of cubes and thaw them before putting them into the scalded milk?

              1. re: nofunlatte

                Yes, completely thaw the yogurt cubes in the fridge, and proceed as you normally would.