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yogurt maker problems?

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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!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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!

      www.honestlygoodfood.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: Honestly Good Food

        i just wish Dannon - and most yogurt companies for that matter - didn't add pectin to their plain yogurt. every try Pavel's Russian yogurt? great stuff, and no pectin or starch.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I have checked the label on Dannon, I didn't think there was any pectin. I'll have to look again. I know most companies do. I've never had the Pavels. Never saw it before.

      2. 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?

        4 Replies
        1. re: walker

          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.

          1. re: poochiechow

            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):
            http://www.amazon.com/Cuisipro-Donvie...

            but there are other options as well.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              i have no idea how i missed seeing yogurt straining apparatus, seeing as how i endlessly researched machines! that's awesome, thanks! would be much better than washing cheesecloth all the time.

            2. re: poochiechow

              I have not made a new batch yet.

          2. When I made yogurt many years ago, I used a ceramic bowl and our oven as incubator. That worked just fine. The oven was preheated, the yogurt mixture was placed in the oven and the heat was turned off. This process was done overnight. I never tried the fancy-schmancy equipment.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude

              I have a gas stove, is that okay? What temp to preheat to?

              1. re: ChiliDude

                Similarly, I make two quarts of yogurt a week with nothing more than a drugstore heating pad and a large ceramic bowl.

                1. re: ChiliDude

                  i had tried that, but found i had to go back and keep turning on the oven. how do you get yours to stay about 100 F? 200 is the lowest setting on mine, and it kept falling too low when i turned it off.

                  1. re: poochiechow

                    That's why the heating pad is good -- steady low heat that you can walk away from without worry.

                  2. re: ChiliDude

                    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.

                  3. 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.

                    http://alchemybaking.blogspot.com/201...