yogurt maker problems?
hi all -
i recently got a eurocuisine ym100 yogurt maker, since i couldn't get the temperature in my oven to stay constant. however, i just tried to make my first batch of greek yogurt. heated skim milk to 180, cooled to 110, dumped an entire container (6oz) of chobani plain fat free yogurt in with a bit of the hot yogurt, then poured it all into the maker for 10 hours. basically, did everything according to directions.
out of curiosity, i took the temperature of the yogurt a few times over the incubation period. i noticed there was some variation in the jars, which is ok - but some were about 110, some as high as 130-something after a few hours! isn't that way too hot?! it came out all right, but not as thick as i would like (more like the consistency of regular yogurt), and some of the jars are lumpy.
there's a lot of variables here - perhaps i should try the powdered milk trick, or higher fat yogurt/milk, or maybe less of the starter? but i'm also concerned about the temperature of incubation - i feel like 130 is probably killing all the bacterial cultures.
anyone else encountered this with this maker, and any quick fixes? obviously this is one data point and i need to try again, but it's disappointing...
thanks in advance!
1. just because you used Greek-style yogurt as a starter doesn't automatically mean you'll end up with Greek-style yogurt. it has that consistency because it's been *strained* to remove some of the whey, so you have to strain yours after you make it to achieve that same thickness. and yes, you can also add powdered milk to thicken it, but straining is what makes Greek-style yogurt.
2. you added too much of the "starter" yogurt - you only need 1 oz (2 Tbsp) per quart of milk.
3. did you *whisk* the starter yogurt in and make sure it was all smooth before incubating? that could account for the lumps.
4. make sure your thermometer is properly calibrated because yes, 130 is a bit too high. the Euro Cuisine is *supposed* to maintain a temp of 110F, so if it really is running that hot, yours is defective.
Yeah, using greek yogurt as a started does not get you greek yogurt results. My yogurt maker came with a cheesecloth bag to make strained "greek" style. You can use the leftover whey to add to healthy smoothies.
You can also use a packet of plain gelatin as a thickening agent. Whisk it carefully into the hot milk. It won't give you quite as creamy results as straining.
I've also found plain Dannon to be the best starter, it's cheap, too!
I have a eurocuisine machine with the little glass jars; have tried it twice with 2% milk and have had trouble with yogurt being grainy toward the bottom. CHer's have advised me to take temp DURING "cooking" and see if it's going over 110; I have not made a new batch, yet, to test all this.
Maybe we both have defective machines?
did you retest? i was still getting hot temperatures, but as someone else thoughtfully noted, perhaps it's my thermometer? in any event, i'm now:
1) using less starter (1-2 tbsp)
2) straining immediately after taking it out of the machine with a cheesecloth/colander setup
3) getting amazing greek yogurt!
making your own yogurt is awesome.
glad it's working out now! as i said above, you were definitely adding too much starter.
if you want an easier alternative to the cheesecloth/colander method for straining, get a yogurt strainer. i have this one (actually i have 2 of them):
but there are other options as well.
The way that we did it was to heat the milk to 180, cool to 120, add a couple of tablespoons of our starter (Fage, I believe), then pack it into a cooler with a blanket to insulate it. By next morning, we had yogurt! As we like it thicker, we would drain it in a colander with a cheesecloth lining for a few hours.
I've been making homemade yogurt for awhile now and I get it to come out quite thick everytime. I do add nonfat dry milk powder, about a half a cup for 5 jars. And I cook the milk at 185 for 10 minutes. This helps it set up thick every time. Then I cool it to 110 over an ice bath, add the 2 tablespoons of yogurt and dry milk then place in the yogurt maker overnight. I get very thick yogurt with very little whey.
I did a post on yogurt making on my blog along with a dozen different ways to incubate.