I'm getting pretty good at making sourdough bread, so I decided to learn something new.
Our family drinks pasteurized (but not ultrapasteurized), homogenized, non-rBST, 1% fat milk. I would prefer it straight from the cow, but for now this is what I'm stuck with.
We also enjoy Greek yogurt from Chobani and Fage, those delicious single-serve cups with fruit on the bottom. (Except for my little brother, who only eats the sugary Go-Gurt and Danimals.) My goal is to make a yogurt that:
1. is healthy (I'm probably lactose intolerant)
2. tastes mild enough to be eaten at breakfast
3. has other uses (tzatziki sauce, substituting whey for water in bread, kim chee, etc.)
3. has a pleasing texture and is thick enough to eat with a spoon 4. is less expensive than store-bought Greek yogurt
5. is easy to make
So far, I've made three batches of yogurt using the following recipe: Pour 4 cups of milk into a one gallon stainless steel pot. Heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit (I use a candy thermometer) while stirring. Let it cool to 110 degrees, then stir in a few spoonfuls of the store-bought Greek yogurt. Turn the oven on for a few minutes, then turn it off. Pour the warm milk into a glass bowl and set it in the oven overnight.
The first batch had a horrible rough texture and was very runny. I think the problem was that I accidentally let the milk boil. The second batch had a good taste and texture. However, it was still runny. Very tasty with homemade blueberry jam and a dash of cloves! For the third batch, I decided to let the milk stay at 180 to 190 degrees for about half an hour to see if it would make thicker yogurt. It was a little bit thicker, but it also wound up with an off-putting cheesy/buttermilky taste. (I've never made buttermilk pancakes but do you think I could use my failed yogurt by making some?)
This whole business of heating the milk and keeping it warm overnight is a lot of trouble, especially when you wind up with such disappointing results. I might try using a crock pot, but it's still a pain in the neck.
Has anyone had any luck with mesophillic cultures? I don't want the buttery/diacetyl taste of filmjolk. I don't want the snotty texture of viili. (I might learn to like it, but the rest of my family would not!) And I don't think kefir is what I'm looking for either. Matsoni sound promising, and so does the non-snotty viili from www.culturesforhealth.com
I make it a whole lot simpler. Probably wrong but it has worked for me for years. I make a LOT of yogurt, mostly for our pigs. I use it to inoculate our three 1,025 gallon dairy tanks. I also make some for us. See:
When making it for human consumption you want to be more careful than I need to do with making it for the pigs. I just use a 30 gallon drum for them. Don't heat the milk and I just leave it out in the sun or near the woodstove to age depending on the season.
Since the milk's already pasteurised, I'd only heat it to blood-temperature, to activate the yoghurt 'bug'.
I think the most important thing is to source a good starter to innoculate the warm milk with.
I understand that many manufacturers heat and kill the bug after it's 'done its thing', so it won't work as a starter.
When I need a new starter, I use yoghurt from the local Indian shop. The ingredients list is 'milk, starter'
I do all this in our equivalent of a Mason jar:
Whisk a small dessertspoon of yoghurt (more starter is not better...), into about 800mls of lukewarm milk. I suppose that's .8-ish of a quart?
I fill my 'easy-yo' thingy with quite warm (but not hot) water, insert the lidded jar and leave overnight.
The 'easy-yo' thingy is basically a thermos that a powdered-yoghurt company manufacture to make their product in.
You'll have a local version; there's loads in second-hand shops round here.
I freeze some starter in an icecube tray, that way I can just drop one into the warm milk. I find my yoghurt gets 'weaker' if I keep using starter from new batches.
I use raw milk though, and it can be a bit temperamental.
I find that using dried fruit makes my yogurt less runny. Some of the purchased dried fruits are already sweetened but if I dehydrate my own blueberries or strawberries it reduces the sweetness, they seem to plump up take away some of the excess fluid and firm it up to greek yogurt consistency.
Our inability to change everything should not stop us from changing what we can.
Gray, I make yoghurt every week (or more often) and use dehydrated cultures because it's more reliable and less expensive. I've never made yoghurt with mesophilic culture, I stick with the thermophilic cultures. Using your procedures where milk is heated to 180-degrees F, you should use the thermophilic cultures. The mesophilic cultures should not use milk that goes over 100 degrees or so.
There are a couple of thermophilic strains that are available and each gives a different result, so it's best to try them and see which one (or combo) suits your taste. Many yoghurts use Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii spp. bulgaricus and they'll work in concert to bring acid into the milk, allowing it to coagulate.
I have made yoghurt using my own previously homemade yoghurt, as you are doing, but it typically produces a more 'liquid' yoghurt. You can reculture your own yoghurt for 4-5 times before needing to make a new batch, just to keep the bacteria alive.
To thicken yoghurt, some people will bring the milk to a boil beforehand. Of course, it is cooled before it is innoculated. Some people also add some nonfat dry milk to thicken the finished yoghurt -- to me, the addition of a commercial product to homemade yoghurt from my own organic goat milk makes no sense.
I've never incubated yoghurt overnight, as in 8-12 hours, because I'm not interested in exceptionally 'tart' yoghurt. My yoghurt is incubated in 4-6 hours and last Spring I invested in a Yogotherm -- it's so much easier using it on the kitchen counter instead of juggling thermos jugs or coolers.
The insulated container to incubate the soon-to-be-yogurt does seem to be what you are missing. I've heard some people have had luck with using their oven overnight, but a small or large cooler with some extra water in it (thermal mass) pre-heated to the right temp, works very well.
Any live culture yogurt (most of them?), without flavoring or fruit additives should work fine for a starter culture.
If you want a more thick product right out of the cooler, add a tablespoon or two of non-fat powdered milk to the milk before adding the yogurt starter culture. Mix it in well and it usually helps. Otherwise, use some cheesecloth that is folded several times and strain out the whey. You will end up with the greek yogurt texture after awhile (varies). If you let it go further, you get a nice spreadable, soft-cheese (labneh?).
"Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari
Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
I ordered a Viili starter from Cultures for Health. Unfortunately, it shipped during a 106 degree heat wave. I took it out of the mailbox as soon as the mail truck left, and followed all of the instructions. The first packet just turned the milk into curds with an unpleasant texture and smell. However, I have successfully made five batches of yogurt from the second packet (by saving a tablespoon of the yogurt each time and stirring it in a fresh cup of milk.) However, this Viilli yogurt has a strong buttery taste that I don't like at all. Their website says Viili has "the mildest taste, making it our most popular yogurt culture particularly among customers switching their family off commercial yogurt." Unfortunately, nobody in my family will touch the stuff. Maybe I can use it in place of buttermilk, but that's it.
I make yogurt once or twice a week and it turns out nice and thick each time. I use raw milk, so I heat it initially to 180. You can skip this step if you aren't using raw. Here is how I do it:
Pour milk into 1 quart jars. No lids.
Set the jars in a large pot (I use my black canning pot) and fill to just below the neck of the jars with warm water.
Clip a thermometer to one of the jars to read the milk temp.
Heat the milk to 180 for raw milk, 110 for pasteurized milk.
Once the milk is at 180, cool it down to 110.
While cooling, turn on your oven to lowest temp. 170 for mine.
Now add 2 TB of your yogurt starter to each quart jar. (I use a plain Greek yogurt from the store). Stir.
Turn off oven, Turn on oven light.
Put lids on the jars, put back into the pot of warm water. Put a lid on the canning pot & put everything in the oven. Leave for 12hrs.
Thick & creamy every time.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
Just to complicate matters further, I don't even heat my raw milk before adding the culture, as I've inadvertently pasteurised it too many times.
Just adding warm water to the thermos thingy does the trick for setting it.
I just made yogurt for 1st time from my goats milk. LOL I think I really screwed it up and don’t know if it will even turn out.
First off I boiled the milk, second I put the culture in when it was hot didnt wait till it was 110'. LOL I bet that kill the bacteria I needed to make yogurt.
Well we shall see by tomorrow morn If it works. SHOULD I EVEN EAT IT?? WILL I GET SICK??
Oh the one thing I can’t seem to find out is, when do you put the fruit in?? When it's cold or hot?
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
Stacy, unless the milk was blood temperature when you added the culture, I'd say it's dead. I'd just stir more culture through, without reheating and get/keep the mix warm.
You should absolutely not get sick.
Pasteurising the milk is recommended by many, but if you're confident that your animal's are healthy, I suggest keeping the milk raw: pasteurising kills off all sorts of the good things in milk and if I'd gone to the effort of milking my own goats, I'd want to get the most out of it.
If you do pasteurise, it definitely doesn't need to boil. I find boiling really effects milk's taste.
I hate recipes. We buy raw milk. I do 1 half gallon at a time. Heat milk until it starts to get frothy. cool to 90 degrees. Add a few spoonfuls of yogurt from last batch. place in cooler half filled with water at 90 degrees. It usually takes 8-10 hours and then it goes in the fridge.
The only thing I'll throw into the discussion is that I started leaving the yogurt to ferment for up to 24 hours after reading something written by someone into the Weston Price thing. This makes it a bit more on the tangy side and sometimes thicker although my results usually vary because I don't do the exact same thing every time and the time between batches varies from 1-3 weeks. I've used the same starter for years and try to use more of it when the time between the batches is longer. Probably anywhere from 1 to 4 tablespoons per quart but I'm not measuring. I've thought a couple times that I maybe killed it but usually after one batch that's runnier than I like it the next one turns out fine.
Other than that I prefer using either a hot pad or putting quart jars into a small stockpot on an electric burner I rigged up with an external thermostat that keeps it right at 110 F. Using electricity sucks but that way I don't have to pay much attention to it or have a bulky cooler cluttering up the kitchen.
Heat the milk to inoculating temperature and add some yoghurt containing active culture.
Pour it into containers
Place a hot water bottle in the bottom of a cooler
Cover the hot water bottle with a folded newspaper so it's about 1/2 to an inch thick
Place the containers on top
Cover with more newspaper and close the lid.
In the morning I have yoghurt. If I want Greek yoghurt then I strain the contents through a tea towel, or a sieve lined with a de-laminated paper towel to act as a filter.
The greenish liquid that comes off is whey, and you can use this for cooking, or making ricotta cheese.
These are really good ideas. When I was a kid, we had a yogurt maker. They were pretty popular in the 1970's, when yogurt was a new experimental food in the US. Not that much yogurt was available in the grocery store. I like the idea of making it from raw milk, so it doesn't have so many dead cells in it and it has all the nutrition and enzymes. One of these days I'm going to try it. Thanks for sharing your recipes.
A cheap/fast way to thicken your yogurt is to add a thickener like gelatin, agar agar, or tapioca starch. You add these thickeners to the milk as it is heated and use a whisk to blend well. Then cool the milk/thickener mixture and add your starter.
The best Greek style comes from using a Bulgarian starter which produces thick yogurt during fermentation. Then strain the yogurt in cheese cloth or a bouillon strainer to desired thickness. This yogurt can be substituted in Greek yogurt cooking recipes. The tartness goes down with increasing the straining or increasing the percent milk fat.
The method of holding milk at 180 deg F or so does help thicken milk by removing water content. I do that sometimes but use a double boiler so I don't scorch the milk. Heating the milk also denatures the whey proteins which helps them coagulate when cooled.
I am surprised you mention agar agar and the other thickeners as I often use agar agar to make Jams and it requires ten mins of boiling to work . This seems like a lot of work for yogurt . Is it easy to do with yogurt ?
Living in Anjou , France,
For the many not for the few
I haven't noticed a problem... add the agar-agar to the milk at the beginning heating (~1/2 tsp per quart of milk). Bring temperature to 185 degrees and immediately turn of heat. Let sit for about 15 min before you put it in a ice bath to cool it off. This is popular with vegan yogurts that use coconut milk, almond milk, etc because those yogurts don't set up well on their own.
You're doing it too complicated; probably your temperatures are wrong.
Just bring milk to the boil (ie. when the milk is so hot rises up the pot). Remove from heat to cool down. THEN use a thermometer to know when it drops to around 39 degrees Celsius or a bit lower (100 degrees Farenheit), which takes me about an hour for 2 litres (2 quarts) of milk.
Then scoop a few teaspoons of yoghurt into a very clean jar, pour a few tablespoons of the boiled into the jar and stir it (this makes the yoghurt runny so it mixes with the milk better). Pour that into the pot of milk and stir for about 5 seconds so it's all mixed well. Pour it all back into the glass jar and keep at a warm temperature for about 7 hours. If your room is warm just leave the jar on a table, but if it's cold then keep it in an oven with the pilot light on. In my previous apartment I just left it on a table and it worked every time, but in my new place I have to keep an oven light on unfortunately. THEN refrigerate it for a few hours because this is what thickens it up and stops it fermenting.
I've made my own yoghurt this way every 1-2 weeks for a few years. Apart from a few failures my first few times, I've had only 2 bad batches since and have had to buy yoghurt only twice in the past 3 years. I can't stand store-bought yoghurt because it's so much more sour since it's so much older and because they use extra unnatural ingredients to thicken it and preserve it on the shelf. Fresh homemade yoghurt tastes so good the first two days as it's barely sour with a wonderfully sweet milky smell.
This is an old post, so I'm not sure if it's still active, but I've been making yogurt for years. I recently bought an instant pot, but when reading the instructions I decided that my method is much more simple! Unfortunately I do not have access to fresh cows milk, so I'm stuck with pasteurized. I heat two litres of milk to 180*, turn it off and let it cool to 110*. Then I add 1 cup of yogurt from previous batch, or 1 cup good quality plain store bought yogurt. If the temperature reduces much I bring it back to 110*, but NO HIGHER, it will kill the starter over 110*. My secret to making it thicker is to add 1 tbs of beef gelatin (flavourless powder). This thickens it nicely and adds a little extra for gut health. If you add too much it will turn out like jello, 1 tablespoon to 2 litres of yogurt. At this point I place it in a tub with a tight fitting lid and place the tub into a foam insulated container (I suppose a small cooler would work) I then leave it there for 24 hours before refrigerating it. This long ferment process will give it a slightly more sour taste, but it eats up the lactose and the kiddos in my house who don't tolerate lactose well have no trouble eating it. You can sweeten it with some raw honey or add fruit, or you can refrigerate after 12 hours for less sour taste. I've been doing it like this for years, never had any problems. Also if you want a thicker Greek style yogurt you can strain it with a towel and let some of the whey drip off. Save the whey for lacto fermented veggies and condiments or add a tsp to juice to give yourself a probiotic boost.
Hello. I've been making my own yogurt using the same starter culture for over 4 years. (my mother once had a starter for something like 15 years!)
Most people make it more complicated than it needs to be....
1. 1 gallon organic whole milk
2. pour in 2+ gallon stock pot and heat on stove
3. as milk gets hotter, slowly decrease heat setting on stove
4. bring to simmer/boil (milk will foam and rise...you want to maintain this for several minutes then it will collapse --->this
is when you turn off heat and wait)
5. wait --->when milk is about 100-110 degrees ladle about 4 ladles full into a bowl
6. add about 4-5 table spoons of starter yogurt culture (buy good quality or get some from a friend)
7. stir for about 10 seconds
8. stir stock pot of milk and add milk/yogurt starter culture back into pot
9. stir completely for 10 seconds.
10. pour into mason jars and place lids
11. keep warm for 6-8 hours (I put all mason jars into a roasting pan with lid and fill with warm-hot water, then wrap in 2 bath towels)
12. put in fridge.
not a lot of exact science. do it a few times and you'll see that it's pretty easy.
I came across something and thought "i can make yogurt with this!".
An inexpensive egg incubator.(65.99 free shipping). Maybe not inexpensive for yogurt makers? We bought it for eggs, but it controls the temps to a preset temp you choose. Once your cultured is added, just stick the jars in to hold the temp
Here are 2 pics. The top shows the temp control. The side pic, i was guaging the height (currently have eggs in there). Looks like interior height is 4-1/4". In 2 weeks i can confirm this and see what size mason jars fit inside. The heating element is in the lid.
Sometimes the answer is nothing
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards