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Jun 24, 2010 06:36 PM

I tortured my yogurt; will it survive me?

I neglected my poor yogurt in-the-making. I made the yogurt, poured it into a plastic container, and had it on the third floor of our house wrapped in a blanket and stored under some cushions. However, I left it there too long and it became somewhat cool. I tried to boost it back by popping it in a warm oven, but came back to check and it was (just barely) too hot to touch. It's now back in its resting place. Have I allowed too much potential for nasty bacteria/killed the cultures? Can I still eat it? Will it eat me?

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  1. It's fine. If you pasteurized the milk, the cooling down only slows the maturation of the yogurt culture you introduced. Warming it back up will reactivate the culture.

    1. Before I my dear wife got me a yogurt maker for xmas I went through all kinds of gyrations and contortions to make our 2 qt./wk., every wintwer, in a Maine house heated by wood. As the jung man said, fine as frog's hair. Very fine.

      1. My only question is how hot you got it when you popped it into the warm oven. If it's continuing to thicken and develop, then you're good. On the other hand, if the process stalls out, that's a good indication you got it too hot and killed the cultures.

        8 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Amen. But, if you're lucky, just add more culture & continue.

          1. re: alanbarnes

            Well, the oven I left it in was set at 250 (not preheated) and I forgot about it for roughly 20 minutes. What exactly happens if the cultures are killed? Would I just have yogurt with no particular benefits that still tastes good?

            1. re: khoops

              What you have is like kefir. I can't see why it's not good to eat. Why do they put an expiration date on sour cream?

              1. re: khoops

                When you kill the cultures, they stop doing their job of turning milk into yogurt. What you would have under those circumstances is a pasteurized dairy product of some kind. If they hadn't done their job at all, you've got pasteurized milk. If they had completed the yogurt-making process, then you've got pasteurized yogurt (still a healthy food, but without probiotic benefits). If they were somewhere in the middle of the process, I'm not sure what you'd call it.

                Regardless, by now you should know if the cultures are dead or not. If the yogurt has gotten thicker and tangier since last night, you're in good shape. If it's exactly the same, the cultures are probably dead; I'd stir in another bit of starter and let it get going again.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I'll probably save a small portion to eat while the "renovated" version kicks up. I should warm it again before I add the starter, correct?

                  1. re: khoops

                    Just up to body temperature. I wouldn't pasteurize it again.

                    1. re: khoops


                      Atilla the Hun and his hordes lived on yogurt (and horses' blood) made by keeping a stomach (horse? cow?) filled w/ milk, turning into yogurt, under their saddles as they rode & conquered Europe.
                      It ain't rocket science.
                      Some historians think that the protein rich diet let the Huns triumph of the Europeans w/ their groat greul subsistence.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        That's a good point upon which to pause and ponder the unknown figures who helped shaped history.

                        Just imagine the job of the evening horse wranglers who were also responsible for strapping the yogurt bags onto the mares' backs for overnight warming to keep the gurting cultures alive. And the bloodletters with blades and bags who kept a balanced and sustainable crop of the blood protein coming.

                        Worst of all, imagine the political plight of the advance scouting parties who were responsible for finding the next day's pasture that were rich enough for grazing to replenish the protein flow from the horses, yet still offer the army the maximum daily distance toward the next military goal to be conquered.

                        In unmapped terrain, these were folks who had to really know how to read the landscape. Lest their heads be left upon a spike, by Genghis, for low performance.

                        Making yogurt seems pretty easy these days.