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Mar 25, 2014 09:17 AM

Adventures in Yogurt

Ah, once again, bacteria surprises. Not worried, this happens sometimes and I can use everything this episode of the yogurt follies has produced but maybe some other CHs can comment.

I have produced 3 things in this batch: distinct curds - whitish pink strong flavor, sort of feta-ish; lots of very watery whey (pale yellow/green, nice flavor); thin layer of yogurty milky.

I used slightly less than 1/2 gallon regular whole milk (supermarket) mixed w/1/2 c non-fat dry milk and several big Tbs of White Mountain Bulgarian yogurt (as starter). Milk was warmed, not hot. All mixed together, put back in the 1/2 gallon jug, that was put in my tall, blueware pot filled w/warm water (about 90. Left undisturbed overnight in the oven w/light left on.

Above is what i found this morning, i'm not depressed. Yogurt is a living culture that takes unexpected directions.
But observations from experienced CH yogurt people are appreciated

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  1. Was the jug sterilized? Did you heat the milk to 180 degrees before processing for yogurt?

    The pink mold you discovered develops once yogurt has gone bad; I'd have to imagine the fermentation materials were not properly sterilized if you got growth overnight.

    1. I've never quite understood why people add powdered milk to yogurt. Is it to give a different texture?

      I make my yogurt old school Indian style. Bring your milk to just before it starts to simmer. Turn it off, and let it cool a bit. Then mix in about 1/4-1/3 cup of plain yogurt (I use natural, gelatin free yogurt when I'm starting from scratch, then keep yougurt from each batch to use as the next culture). cover the pan and put it in the oven with the pilot light on overnight. In the morning, I have yogurt with a layer of whey around it. The longer it sits, the more sour it gets.

      I don't use a water bath -- I'm not sure why you would need to.

      6 Replies
      1. re: boogiebaby

        The Milk Powder make a thicker smoother Yogurt. Much more like the Yogurt I had in South India. I think it imitates the richer Milk that is used there.

        1. re: chefj

          Interesting. I was not aware that South India uses a thicker yogurt. All of the South indian meals I've had (Singapore, Malaysia and So. CA, but in restaurants) have had the thinner, buttermilk consistency yogurt at the end of the meal.

          I wonder if you could achieve the same richness by adding cream instead of powdered milk...

          1. re: boogiebaby

            It was just that homemade Yogurt was nice and thick there. Whether it is on purpose or just the way it comes out I do not know.
            I have seen recipes that use some Cream but they also cal for milk powder. Do you have a beef with Milk Powder?

            1. re: chefj

              No, but it's nothing something I regularly keep at home. Doesn't make sense for me to go out and buy a box of milk powder for $8 when I can use a little heavy cream that I already have at home. But thinking about it again, we prefer thinner yogurt for eating with indian food, so even if I did make thick yogurt, I'd thin it out with some milk before serving.

          2. re: chefj

            We have curd in Sri Lanka made from water buffalo milk. It's thicker than cows milk yoghurt, but also higher in fat, but otherwise quite similar. Are you talking about something like that, or do you mean a cow's milk yoghurt?

            1. re: LMAshton

              Cows. I am sure that the Weather, Bacterial Strain, Freshness of the Milk, Diet of the Cows, length of Fermentation, differences in processing, all have a hand in why the Yogurt in Kerala tasted so good and had such a lovely dense texture.
              I do not believe that it was much higher in Fat. I actually think that it was higher in Protein.
              The Protein is what thickens Yogurt and is why adding Nonfat Milk Powder works so well. Also a longer Fermentation cause more coiling of the Protein strands and a thicker Yogurt.

        2. "Yogurt is a living culture that takes unexpected directions." It shouldn't.
          That is not what you want when making Yogurt. The whole idea of adding live Cultures is to control the type of Bacterium that is growing. The good Bacteria keep other things from growing thus preserving the edibility of the Dairy.
          Your results sounds awful and I would not eat or taste it.

          13 Replies
          1. re: chefj

            Thanks to everybody - will let you know how the next batch turns out. I will sterilize the container: boiling water, mild bleach solution, well rinsed. I will heat the milk to near-simmer. I will use full fat milk. I will not use dried milk powder.
            I will still use a water bath (to keep temp steady).

            I will feed this batch to the dog. Any recommendations on starter yogurt ?

            1. re: kariin

              Don't give it to your dog!!!!!
              Throw it away or you may have a sick doggie!!

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                smile - thanks for your concern. she ate it all. and wants more. probably less problem than the squirel. she leaves the heads and feet.

              2. re: kariin

                Any plain yogurt that you like the flavor of will work. If I have to buy some to start a batch, I prefer either dannon or mountain high, preferably mountain high because they have less stabilizers/other stuff in there. Or look for a brand with the yogurt association certified for live and active cultures.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    just curious, what is the problem w/mild bleach solution and extended hot water rinse?

                    1. re: kariin

                      bleach is nasty stuff. There's no reason to use it when boiling water will sterilize the jar.

                  2. re: kariin

                    Heating milk to 88C/190F is not to kill germs, most milk is already pasteurized. It is to deactivate enzymes in the milk that interfere with thickening of the yogurt.

                    1. re: kariin

                      Do not use bleach and do not feed spoiled yogurt to your dog! Both will only cause further unhappiness.

                      To sterilize your jar, all you need to do is boil it for about 10 minutes. You should also boil the lid if you are using a canning jar. After you drain the jar and while it is cooling, you can heat your milk to 180 to deactivate the enzymes and cool it to roughly 110 - 120 before you add the yogurt starter. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yogurt culture. If you choose to use a water bath to maintain a steady temperature, you will need to refresh the water as it cools otherwise you are keeping the yogurt at ambient temperature.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        Thanks JungMann. did bleach solution cause trouble?
                        If well rinsed w/hot water would that work?

                        Dog loved it, no problems, she wants more.

                        I've made it before and it worked fine. Water bath temp stays @ 80-85 in my closed oven if i turn on the interior oven light

                        1. re: kariin

                          you don't need the bleach -- the hot water will do the job.

                          Food poisoning in dogs is a big hairy deal -- and pink yogurt is infected with strains of bacteria that produce neurotoxins.

                          White mold and blue/green mold are nasty, but won't kill you.
                          Pink and orange molds are toxic and should be thrown away.

                          1. re: kariin

                            The bleach solution is unnecessary if you are boiling the jar. You have to make sure to thoroughly rinse out the bleach to avoid killing the yogurt culture.

                            Most yogurts want a steady temperature of 100 - 110 degrees to set up. There are bacterial strains that prefer a lower temperature, but they're not the typical cultures you find in a supermarket brand of yogurt starter.

                        2. re: kariin

                          Use any that you like the taste of and has live Cultures(important).
                          There is no problem with using dry Milk Powder, it yield a very nice Yogurt that is not grainy.
                          Make sure that the Milk is cooled back down before adding your Starter or you will kill the Bacteria.

                      2. Do you have any thoughts on purchasing a yogurt maker?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jamie_Morgan

                          I personally could not justify the expense. And now hapilly make yogourt every couple of weeks in large sterilised mason jars.

                          1. re: Jamie_Morgan

                            I have a EuroCuisine - I think it was $35.

                            It rocks -- I get 8 little pots of yogurt from a quart of milk and it's made the way *I* like it.

                            No screwing around with pilot lights (hard to do in an electric house) or heating pads or jury-rigging a half-dozen variations on having a yogurt maker.