Foolproof Homemade Yogurt: Science, Techniques, and Troubleshooting

November 19, 2011

in DIY & Crafts, Fermentation, Recipes, Russian & Azerbaijani

Homemade yogurt, including Greek-style, is one of the easiest things to make, not to mention that it is 50% cheaper and incomparably fresher and tastier than any store-shelf brand. Yet, for those who haven’t tried it, the process can often be shrouded in mystery and fear. In reality, however, making yogurt is really straightforward if you understand what it actually is and what makes it succeed or fail.

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with the help of particular lactose-loving bacteria. These bacteria consume lactose – the sugar in the milk – and excrete lactic acid as waste product, which is responsible for both the tart flavor and the thickening by acting on the casein protein in the milk.

Different compositions of lactic-acid bacteria are used to make yogurt-like products in different parts of the world, each varying by thickness and acidity. What we came to call “yogurt” in the United States is made with lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. While other types of lactic bacteria, such as lactobacillus acidophilus, may also be added to commercial American yogurt for their probiotic properties, only the first two are really needed for the fermentation.

As the name indicates, l. bulgaricus/s. thermophilus culture is thermophilic, which means that in order for the organisms in this culture to function, the milk needs to be fairly warm, which in the case means between 105 and 115 degrees (as opposed to the so-called “mesophilic” cultures, which thrive between room temperature and 104 degrees).

Why is American Store-Bought Yogurt Thicker than Homemade?

This is why:

foolproof homemade yogurt recipe

Most of store-bought yogurt in the United States is additionally thickened with pectin – a fruit-derived component used to thicken jams and jellies. While pectin itself is a natural product, it renders yogurt far stiffer than it would get if thickened with yogurt bacteria alone. This is done because, under normal circumstances, custard-like yogurt structure is not very stable, and allows the whey (water in the milk) to seep out and collect on the surface. While there is nothing wrong with this, uninitiated American consumers could mistake this for a sign of spoilage, and the addition of pectin minimizes this separation. As a result, Americans now expect their yogurt to be thick and spoonable, rather than tender and pourable as nature intended. To achieve the same results at home, American cooks will sometimes add gelatin or powder milk to yogurt to make it thicker. Having grown up in a traditional Old-World culture, however, and a yogurt-centric one at that, I don’t like the unnaturally firm consistency of commercially produced yogurt and don’t add any thickeners in mine.

Choosing Milk for Homemade Yogurt

  • Either whole, 2%, low-fat or skim milk can be used successfully.
  • Non-homogenized, pasteurized milk sometimes sold at food cooperatives also works great.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard, ultra-pasteurized milk works just fine for making yogurt.
  • Raw milk, which still contains live bacteria of its own, makes a poor medium for the yogurt starter to grow, as the milk’s native bacteria can interfere with the yogurt bacteria and lead to thin or even failed yogurt. While die-hard raw milk enthusiast will swear off any cooking of milk under any circumstances, my recommendation is to go ahead and pasteurize the raw milk anyway by heating it to 180 degrees – if you want thick, consistent results, that is (more about this below).

Yogurt-Making Equipment and Starter

Contrary to what product marketers would have you believe, making yogurt does not require any particular yogurt-making device or special mail-order culture. In fact, I recommend that you stay away from yogurt makers altogether, since they tend to be over-priced, are only capable of producing a limited, usually small amount at a time, and tend to take up storage space while not being really useful for any other purpose.

Instead, what you really need is this:

  • a pot (enameled cast-iron or stainless steel) for heating and incubating the milk
  • finished yogurt containing the above live culture, to serve as starter
  • a kitchen thermometer capable of registering temperatures as low as 100 degrees (meat thermometers work great for this)
  • a way to keep the milk at above 105 degrees Fahrenheit during the 6 hours or more that it takes for yogurt to set (more about this below)

In other words, when choosing commercial yogurt as your starter, make sure that it contains the following:

_DSC0075 copy

Look for the smallest container you can find since you will only be needing 1-3 tablespoons, depending on the amount of yogurt you intend to make.

Note that it does not matter whether your starter yogurt is low or whole-fat, or whether it contains pectin and/or sweeteners. All that matters is that the live culture of l. bulgaricus and s. thermophilus be listed among the ingredients.

As long as you make yogurt at least every couple of weeks, you need not purchase new container of commercial yogurt every time you want to make some. Instead, use the last of your homemade yogurt as the starter for a new batch as it already contains the bacteria you need.

The Method

Whether you are starting with raw or pasteurized milk, you will need to heat your milk to 180 degrees first to kill off any organisms that may be present in it, thus creating a sterile medium for the yogurt bacteria to grow by eliminating any competition. When dealing with raw milk in particular, heating the milk to just below boiling serves a secondary purpose as well – the heat treatment denatures the proteins in the milk, resulting in their increased ability to absorb water and leading to thicker yogurt. This is another reason raw-milk yogurt tends to be thin.

Allow your milk to cool to 110 degrees. If you started out with raw or non-homogenized milk, where the milk and the cream have not been artificially integrated, you will notice a thick, dry skin of cream floating on the surface (note that you will not see this if you are using homogenized milk). I do not stir it back in since I want my yogurt perfectly smooth and will not tolerate any dry chunks in the texture. Instead, I skim the film off and discard it prior to inoculation (i.e. the addition of the starter).

Remove approximately 1/2 C of warm milk and mix it with a small amount of finished yogurt. It does not matter whether your starter is cold or room-temperature at the time of addition, as it will be brought to the right temperature in the course of this operation. The exact amount of starter does not matter as long as it is kept small – and I do mean small. Yogurt bacteria do not do well when crowded, and adding more starter than necessary will lead to thinner, not thicker yogurt. 

From time to time, I am shocked to see recipes that call for as much as 1/4 C of starter to a quart of milk, which is far too much. Here are the approximate proportions you really need:

  • 1 to 2 quarts of milk – 1 T starter
  • 1 gallon of milk – 2 T starter
  • 2 gallons of milk – 3 T starter

Stir the milk-yogurt mixture into the rest of the milk. Take care to stir your starter in thoroughly and for at least 10 seconds to assure that it is evenly distributed. Do not stir in a circle like your would other liquids. When stirring any kind of starter into milk, be it for yogurt or cheese, always stir up and down and from side to side for best results.

Next, you will need to find a way to keep the milk between 105 and 110 degrees for the next 6 or more hours necessary for the yogurt to set.

While there are different ways to do it, nothing is easier, neater, and more effective than placing it in a turned OFF oven with the oven light left ON. Though it might not seem so, oven light, provided your oven is good at holding heat, is a powerful way to keep things like bread dough and yogurt warm for as long as needed. If you are incubating 1 to 2 gallons, you need not do anything other than place your pot in there overnight. If you are dealing with a smaller amount, such as 1/2 gallon, you will need to additionally wrap your pot in a thick bath towel for extra insulation before putting it in (since the oven itself remains off, and the light doesn’t make it that hot, this is entirely safe).

Alternatively, you could incubate your yogurt in the following ways:

  • in your gas oven with a pilot light on (if you have that kind of model)
  • partially submerged in a pot with 110-degree warm water (replace the water after it cools)
  • by wrapping it in a thick towel and/or a blanket and setting it in a warm place, such as near a wood stove (just don’t put it too close to the wood stove)
  • by placing it an insulated cooler with a few jars of hot water to keep the cooler warm
  • by placing it on top of a heating pad

Not every one of these approaches will work for every home and every kind of weather, so play with different methods to see what works best for you and your environment.

Be sure that your milk remains undisturbed during the incubation, as agitation interferes with the setting. This is the reason I prefer to incubate mine overnight, when everyone is in bed.

Your finished yogurt will look something like this:

_DSC0011

_DSC0014

Note that, some of the time, though not always, your finished yogurt may be covered with a layer of blueish-yellow whey. This is perfectly normal and does NOT mean your yogurt didn’t set, since thicker curd will lie underneath. You can either pour the whey carefully off or stir it back in, but keep in mind that any stirring will break down the yogurt’s structure and thin it.

 Crock-Pot Yogurt

While the crock-pot method is relatively popular, know that a crock-pot does not provide any kind of special magic beyond the fact that its inset is ceramic, and, as such, holds the heat longer than stainless steel or glass, which is useful when you are dealing with a smaller amount of milk, such as 1/2 gallon. If you come across a crock-pot yogurt tutorial somewhere, you will often see people recommending to heat and cool it for a certain amount of time, but this is grossly inaccurate, because different crock-pot models vary wildly by the time it takes for them to heat and cool. The only factor you need to watch is the temperature – heat it to 180 and cool it to 110, regardless of how long it takes in your particular crock. Now it just so happens that I am the author of one of the most detailed and reliable crock-pot yogurt tutorials on the web. Here it is:

Making Yogurt in a Crock-Pot

24-Hour Yogurt

Many people are surprised to discover that homemade yogurt that has been ripened in the course of 6 hours to overnight tastes sweet and mild, rather than sharp and tart like store-bought. This is because acid production continues beyond this time frame, increasing over time. If you place your yogurt in the fridge, you will notice that by next day it will have grown both tarter and thicker (for thickening, if you remember, is caused by the acid), which is exactly what happens to manufactured yogurt by the time it reaches your table.

If you find the flavor of fresh yogurt too mild, you can leave it to ferment for 24 hours instead of overnight to accelerate the acid production, which will happen faster at warm temperature than it will in the fridge. Do not leave your yogurt out any longer, however, as it will begin to spoil.

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is nothing other than regular yogurt that has been strained, which removes some of the whey and concentrates the curd.

Note: do not use store-bought cheesecloth, as it is not dense enough for this purpose even if you layer it. Use a flour sack or another kind of kitchen towel (or a large cloth napkin) instead.

To make Greek yogurt, set a colander over a large bowl (or in a sink if you plan to discard the whey), line the colander with a kitchen towel, pour in the yogurt, and allow to drip until the desired consistency has been achieved. Check on your yogurt regularly to make sure that it doesn’t turn into yogurt cheese (a cream-cheese like substance).

Sweetened Homemade Yogurt

I generally like my yogurt plain, as sweetened yogurt is a distinctly Western phenomenon and was not a part of the culture where I grew up, but since my kids like it a little sweeter, I sweeten their individual portions with a small amount of maple syrup after the fermentation is complete. It is however possible to sweeten your milk with sugar or a honey and such when you are heating it up, which would give the sweetener the chance to dissolve. I have not tried this myself since I use my yogurt mainly as an ingredient in savory dishes.

If you decide to try sweetening your milk before the inoculation, I don’t recommend trying it until you become confident with your plain yogurt so you can at least rule out excessive sweetener if it fails to set.

Troubleshooting

If you wake up in the morning and your yogurt is still thin, the first thing to do is to put it back and wait a few more hours, since acid content, which is responsible for the thickening, will continue to increase with time. If after 12 hours your yogurt is still the consistency of milk, this means that it wasn’t kept warm enough during the incubation. Consider improving your incubation method or trying a different one.

Meanwhile, failed yogurt can be salvaged by re-heating it carefully over low heat back to 110 degrees and incubating it for the second time.

 If All is Lost: Turn Failed Yogurt into Homemade Ricotta

Another way to deal with failed yogurt is to turn it into homemade ricotta. While true ricotta was originally made by reheating the whey left over from making other cheeses and straining it again (which I have done this successfully myself), present-day commercial ricotta is made by adding acid to hot milk. As our failed yogurt already contains acid from the addition of yogurt starter, all you need to do is heat it until it curdles (to approximately 165 degrees) and then strain it like Greek yogurt above. Click here and scroll down to the end for a step-by-step photo tutorial.

Finally, last but not least:

Uses for Plain Yogurt

Because I come from a yogurt-centric culture, my uses for plain yogurt know no bounds, stretching far, far beyond the breakfast bowl. The following post highlights some of these uses:

How to Cook with Plain Yogurt: Uses, Recipes, Ideas

{ 104 comments }

1 Jackie November 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for this great explanation of how to make homemade yogurt. I’ve been making my own for several months, and had phenomenal success with what I called “porchgurt” (http://survivingthemodernworld.com/2011/porchgurt/) by letting it sit outside on days that averaged 105°. Once things cooled down, homemade yogurt became more of a challenge, believe it or not. I’ve finally found some success with an Excalibur dehyrator – I prepare the milk in pint canning jars with plastic lids, and place them in the dehydrator (with the shelves removed) and set the temperature for 105°.

I appreciate some of your tips, including not to use too much starter, and explaining how acid works. I’ve noticed different results with different batches, and this article really helps explain why.

2 Sofya November 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm

That makes a lot of sense, Jackie, since 105 to 115 is the happy range. Our temps are mainly low, however (105 is unheard of), so some artificial method for keeping it warm is needed..

3 Erica November 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thank you for the great tutorial. I have discovered fresh yogurt at the farmers market, and fell in love with the very different taste it offers from commercial yogurt. I have been wanting to try my own, but been wary at the process. The troubleshooting tips are golden, and since I find homemade ricotta heavenly I definitely have more confidence to try now.

4 Cindy Tanner November 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Thanks so much for the great explanation on making yogurt, Sofya! I plan to give it a whirl and will let you know whether or not I succeed. (Of course, I’m not-so-secretly hoping I don’t so I can go straight to the ricotta-making!)

5 Sofya November 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm

You know you don’t have to wait for yogurt to fail to make ricotta – just heat the milk to 165-180, add some acid (a t of lemon juice, or white vinegar, or again a little finished yogurt), and it should curdle. Then put it through a kitchen towel over a colander, and viola, ricotta! If you like it firmer you could even tie the ends of the towel together and hang it from say a wooden spoon and dripping into a sink or a bowl.

6 Cindy November 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I love to make–and eat!–any kind of soft cheese. Didn’t know until I read it here, though, that the yogurt could be used as the acid. Re the yogurt, I’m wondering now if our little Brinsea incubator might be a good place to, well, incubate it. I’ll have to check to see how high the temperature can be set, but I’m betting it goes up to 105.

7 Sofya November 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Sure, it has lactic acid in it (and simply tastes tart). In fact, I’d like to show you this recipe which calls specifically for yogurt as acidifier – a traditional one from my country: http://www.azcookbook.com/curd-cheese/ This is a fabulous website, if you have never come across it before. She points out that buttermilk is yet another thing that can be used to this end. I used to make buttermilk feta.

8 Cindy November 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Awesome! I’ve made paneer but used either lemon juice or citric acid, as I recall. We have some local buttermilk in the fridge right now, so I may give that a try as well as the yogurt. Question: What if the yogurt is outdated, as in growing a bit of fuzz? Can it still be used as a starter or in making cheese? Sometimes it gets hidden in the fridge and we have to give it to the pigs.

9 Lynn November 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

Great Blog! Just discovered you…I’ll definitely be back.

Wow, I am excited that you make your own yogurt too. When I tell people I do they kinda look at me strange. But I’ve been making it for over 30 years, at least once a week in 2 qt increments…it works out better storage-wise for me.

I like your crockpot method…never thought to do the whole thing in the crock. I use mine as my incubator. While the milk is coming to a boil, I line my crock with kitchen towels, bottom and sides, and turn on “warm”. After adding my starter, I pour my milk into its final “home” containers (qt mason jars) and place in the crock. Put lid on the crock and turn off crock. Yogurt in 8 hrs. yum yum. The residual heat of the crock makes a perfect batch every time. Maybe it’s too good…I could use some fresh ricotta. Thanks!!

10 Sofya November 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

Just make some ricotta by acidifying milk that has been brought to 165 (a t of lemon juice, or white vinegar or even 1 T of yogurt) – it will curdle, then strain (I guess I already said that in response to the previous comment).

11 claire November 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

I make yoghurt every week :-) When I lived in the tropics I could just make up a mix and put it outside overnight in a casserole dish and I’d be done in the morning!

These days I make my yoghurt from powdered milk for convenience and it works out really well. I sweeten it up for snacks with home made jams and jellies, which naturally rotate throughout the year.

Thanks for the hints regarding ricotta, I’m definitely going to try that out soon!

12 Sara November 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I’ve been making yogurt for about a year now and I love it. I even found that now I am too picky for storebought plain yogurt. I incubate it in my insulated carrying case from when I was nursing. (It’s a bit weird, perhaps, but it works perfectly). I did learn a lot from this post – love the new information. Two things I have been wondering, maybe you know: (1) how logn does homemade yogurt keep? and (2) what is your view on sterilizing the jars beforehand? Some instructions say it’s critical, others have you test the temperature by sticking your finger in so I think it runs the gamut! (Also, re the whey collecting on the surface of storebought milk and americans thinking it had gone bad: I of course know better now but I do remember in college being convinced it had gone bad for that very reason).

13 Sofya November 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Sara, re sterilization – it’s entirely unnecessary. I too measure the temp of my milk by sticking in my pinkie when it comes to incubating, and get thick yogurt every time. I don’t bring out my thermometer at all at this point, cause I just know what it should feel like at 105-110 range. It’s like knowing what bath water temp you like. I don’t recommend trying it though when people are just starting out.

In my experience, homemade yogurt keeps about a week when made with store-bought milk, and about two weeks when made with raw (BUT pasteurized by the cook prior to inoculation). Ultimately, your nose is your guide. Does it smell off? You can still bake with it at that point AND use it for inoculating a new batch. Check out this recipe for using yogurt that’s began to go bad:

http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2010/02/russian-oladyi-yogurt-pancakes/

14 Erica December 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I’ve now tried making yogurt and it was unbelievably easy. So of course, now I have more questions.

Does using starter from different yogurts affect the final taste of the yogurt? I used starter from Russian yogurt, which has quite a bit of tang to it. Is that why my yogurt got tangier as it sat, or is that going to happen no matter what I use for starter? Or will a milder start yield a milder final product?

Also, have you ever tried making goat’s milk yogurt? Would the process be much the same?
Erica recently posted..Fish Taco TuesdayMy Profile

15 Sofya December 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hey Erica, to answer your questions:

1)Did you mean starter of different yogurts as in different bacterial CULTURES? Yes, you will have the yogurt of the culture you put it, some tangier than others. Whatever cultures are on the label will be in your yogurt. I am not sure what you mean by Russian yogurt exactly. Russian how?

2)Whatever your culture, your yogurt got tangier as it sat because lactic acid content has risen as the bacteria continued to consume and digest the sugar in the milk (=lactose), producing lactic acid as a waste product, which is what makes yogurt sour. If you are really curious, make different kinds and compare.

3)I never tried goat milk yogurt, but people do it all the time, and it works great. The process is the same as far as I know.

16 Carolyn Madison December 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

I used your method and it worked perfectly! Particularly knowing how little amount of yogurt/culture to use was really important. I put my yogurt to sleep in glass gallon jar with lid. Wrapped the jar in thick towels, set it on my stove, I had turned the oven on the lowest setting (warm) and I went to bed, in the morning it was just fantastic. And delicious! I have passed your site to others too.

Do you have similar articles about making kefir?

Thanks so much!

17 Sofya December 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for trying Carolyn – I have never made kefir, unfortunately.

18 Laura January 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks for a great and easy recipe! Can you use Greek-style yogurt as a starter for making regular yogurt? If so, do oyu suppose you would you use the same amount?

19 Sofya January 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Hi Laura – I think so and I’d use the same amount. The point is not what kind of yogurt you use but that it has the specified live bacteria in it – so read the label. See the picture up at the top for their names.

20 Sara B January 17, 2012 at 6:29 am

I just tried your recipe and I’m not sure if it turned out right. I used a half gallon of ultra-pasteurized organic milk and greek yogurt starter. After the 6 hr incubation i was not sure if it had set so I took it out of the oven, bumped the temperature back up to 110 and stuck it back in the oven over night. When i checked on it this morning it had definitely set, but the consistency is a little grainy (?) kind of like ricotta. Is this right? Instead of bumping the temp back up to 110 should i have just kept it in the oven while i slept?

thanks!

21 Sofya January 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Yes, you should not have raised the temp as it looks like you made it into sort of a cheese by heating – heating semi-set yogurt makes it separate. Six hrs is not enough sometimes. You really need to inoculate it around ten pm and NOT bother it till seven am or so to make sure it really has plenty of time to set just to be sure, which is why overnight is the best. Not sure how clear this is from the recipe, the fact that you don’t heat it if it’s not as thick as you like yet when you check it but just let it sit longer.

22 Jen March 24, 2012 at 5:55 am

Hi Sofya,
I just found your post, it’s wonderful to read the science behind yoghurt making, I feel I have a much better understanding of the process now, thank you! While I love my yoghurt thick and tangy and will be straining it to get the Greek effect, my husband prefers the store-bought vanilla variety. Is it possible to add vanilla essence and some sweetener (probably castor sugar) to the milk before it becomes yoghurt to avoid having to stir and thin down the finished yoghurt? If not, do you have any other recommendations?

23 Sofya March 24, 2012 at 9:14 am

Yes it is possible! While I must tell you I have not personally tried it, I know people who specifically have tried and succeeded by adding sugar and vanilla before the setting. My guess is that they added it while they were heating up the milk (the sugar, so it can dissolve), while the vanilla I would add just before inoculating (I read it doesn’t keep its flavor as well in the boiling liquid). Please let me know after you try it?

24 Jen March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Success!! I followed your suggestions of adding the sugar when the milk was hot and the vanilla just before the starter culture, and the result is sweet and delicious. :) For those who may be interested in trying, I used 750ml milk, 2 tbsp castor sugar, 2 tsp vanilla essence and 1 tbsp starter culture. (I got my husband to do some taste testing while adding the sugar and vanilla in smaller increments to get the right amounts, so if it’s too sweet/not sweet enough, just play with it!)
On a side note, I also wanted to try pot set yoghurt, so I used cleaned baby food jars and poured the inoculated milk into those to cool, wrapped up in towels in my slowcooker/crockpot as I saw suggested in an earlier comment. It came out beautifully, and now I have perfect baby sized amounts to use for my 7 month old daughter, who loves it! Thank you again for your help!

25 Sofya March 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Yay!! Thanks so much for reporting back!! I will be sure to try sweetening it myself!

26 Carol April 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Sofya, great information on your site. Waaaaay back in the ’70′s, my Mom and I used an old Salton yogurt maker, but I didn’t care for it because it didn’t taste like ice cream! Little did I know at the time. I’ve recently been trying again [new maker] and wondered if the almond and rice milks that are popular now could be substituted, as well as lactose free milk? Cabot makes a great vanilla flavored low fat Greek yogurt that I am trying to duplicate, but no luck so far. Thanks!

27 Sofya April 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I never even tried either, but try “Cultures for life” website. They sell bacterial yogurt cultures for alternative types of milk.

28 mselly May 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I have just started making yogurt my husband bought a yogurt maker. It is excellent, but every batch a little different this last on I have done is grainy. Taste is great but grainy. Is there any way to fix this?

And, also I agree the sweetened condenced milk, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried twice and end of with warm milk even 12 or 14 hrs later. So, I am done trying sweetened condenced milk.

But, with heavy cream and evaborated and whole with gelatin and dry milk it does great! My husband likes a thick yogurt close to cream cheese texture. And, I have found that with the perfert tartness and flavor that I add with the gelatin and flavoring.

I am glad I have found this website. Thank-You for having this out here… Any advice or suggestions is greatly accepted.

Elly

29 Sofya May 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm

It is normal that every batch is a little different. Yogurt contains LOTS of whey and sets a little differently every time. To achieve a more uniform, thicker texture without any additives, try straining it through a few layers of cheesecloth (line a colander with it and pour the yogurt in, allowing it to drain until your desired consistency has been achieved).

30 aravis June 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm

You said “Do not leave your yogurt out any longer, however, as it will begin to spoil.”
What sort of spoilage happens? I thought it would just get tarter and tarter as long as no other bacteria/fungi is introduced in the culture?

31 Sofya June 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Will start to smell funky eventually. It is not spoilage-proof.

32 Shannon September 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Sofya, I have made yogurt many times now using your instructions. I have yet to have a batch that didn’t get lovely and thick. Thanks for putting this in an easy to understand post!

I have a question….could you culture the milk with just whey? I have a jar in the fridge from my last batch that I strained. Will it work?

33 Sofya September 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Only if it still contains enough culture to inoculate your milk, which I doubt… I never heard of anyone doing that and I would not do it myself, but if you wanna give it a try with a small amount, why not.

34 Lilith Ohannessian October 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Dear Sofya. Enjoyed your informative article. I am Armenian, also born in the Soviet Union. I was raised with yogurt and can make yogurt with eyes closed :).
I have a question though that someone experienced like you might be able to answer. Why is goat yogurt tarter/sourer? For the same culture, I get milder yogurt from cow or sheep milk. I have few thoughts about this. What are yours? Spasibo.

35 Sofya October 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

My guess is that the goat milk has higher sugar content, ergo greater degree of fermentation (souring). Like with wine – good red (sour and acerbic) wine needs grapes of higher sugar content than the milder white wine.

36 Nikki January 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I just made my very first homemade yogurt yesterday. I am on a great yogurt-making experimenting kick right now and am trying all different methods, and ingredients. The one I made yesterday I used 1 cup soy milk, heated that to 110 F in a pot, then added 1 Tbsp. strawberry activia yogurt and gently stirred it in (there were a few floating bits of yogurt in the milk still), then poured that into 2 small glass jars which I sealed and then placed in a dish cloth-lined crockpot which I had on the low setting to get warm. I put the lid on the crock and turned it off. I checked the temp a few times and turned the crock back on once or twice to maintain the temp as close to 110 F as I could (it went a little over at one point). In 9 hrs I had wonderful yogurt!! I am curious to try using less starter, as my yogurt turned out just fine using what you say is way too much. I am now innoculating some new varieties (in the same way, using same ratios of milk to yogurt). I am trying Almond milk with that same activia yogurt (one jar as is, and in one jar I added a 1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup, thinking that the added sugar might be necessary to feed the bacteria as almond milk has no sugar in it), and then 2 jars with 1% dairy milk – one jar using that same activia yogurt, and the other using a yogurt that doesn’t specify that it contains ‘live cultures’ (Silouhette’s fat free peach) just to see what happens. Having so much fun with all these yogurty experiments!!

37 Beverley January 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Hi Sofya. Using an electric frypan on very low heat also works a treat. I did this for years when my children were young, and think I’ll start again. I placed the rack in the frypan, with a cloth on the rack, and placed several glass jars with the yoghurt mix on teh covered rack. I would leave it in a kitchen corner for at least 4 hours, and then very gently move the jars to the fridge.
But some of your tips will help me make it even better! Sometimes I would add strawberry or chocolate milkshake powder to the yoghurt for the children.

38 Nachthexen January 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hey I have been making goat yogurt which turns out runnier than the cow yogurt. The store brand I like adds pectin and I see in your post you acknowledge a lot of brands do that. any idea which step I should add the pectin in? How to do it and how much?

39 Sofya January 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

I never tried it, but I am sure that a quick google search will tell you when and how much. The other thing people use is powdered milk and even unflavored gelatin. Lastly, you can always drain some of the whey and make it “Greek.”

40 whisperingsage July 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

I use goat milk for yogurt and have never had the runny issue. But I also use Swanson’s Soil Based organisms if I don’t have any yogurt around to inoculate it. These caps I take just as a usual with my vitamins.

Also, my goats are on extra vitamins and kelp meal for minerals, and it definitely improves its taste and workability.

41 Bill July 15, 2013 at 11:05 am

For whisperingsage… How much Swanson’s Soil-Based Organisms do you use when starting yogurt? Also, the amount of milk, and was the temp 110F as normal? I’m planning on buying some of the Swanson’s since it has 15 different active bacteria in it, and the best I can get around here is 6, with Stoneyfield yogurt..

42 Nancy January 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I’ve been making yogurt the same exact way for about 3 months now. But the last 3 batches I’ve made now have crunchy pieces in it and is also lumpy, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, as I’m doing the same exact thing I had been doing previously and my yogurt (and sour cream) used to come out smooth. I have even tried using new starter culture, but the same thing keeps happening. Help!

43 Sofya January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

Did something change about the composition of the milk you are using? Maybe on the manufacturer level? I have never had crunchy pieces in my yogurt! Also, is it possible that whatever you are using to keep it warm is suddenly keeping it a higher temperature? Most importantly, is it your thermometer? My best guess is the thermometer.

44 Lan January 28, 2013 at 9:05 am

I need some advice for getting smooth and thick yogurt.
What could be the reasons for lumpy, or thin yogurt?
I used 2 quarts 2% milk, heated to almost boiling point (milk starts to foam up), and let it cool down to lukewarm (finger testing method :-) then add 1/4 cups of previous batch of yogurt (is it too much?), then pour boiling water (is this too hot) in the thermos type (Easiyo incubator), submerge the yogurt milk container to about 3/4. Let it sit for 8 hrs.
So far, I get great tasting yogurt but the texture is not so great: thin, and a little lumpy, with the yellow liquid separation (what does this call?).
Please advise.
thanks

45 Sofya January 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

It might be that your milk is too hot when adding the culture, but, most importantly, letting it sit in the boiling water is wrong. First, you need to get an actual thermometer and really test your milk BEFORE and AFTER adding the culture – finger test is great – for people like myself who’ve done it weekly for many years – but if you are a beginner you need to use a thermometer – I know I have for the first year. But, like I said, the real culprit here is the boiling water – your water should be warm, by no means boiling.

The yellow liquid separating is nothing but whey – it’s not bad – it’s inevitable – because the yogurt curd is not very stable and loses the water (i.e. the whey – the “water” part of the milk) easily. Strain it off or stir it in gently – or ignore it.

Also, all homemade yogurt is at least somewhat lumpy and with whey. The way they get smooth yogurt at the store is by adding pectin, which prevents it from separating. People sometimes add powdered milk to achieve a similar effect at home, or gelatin. I’ve never done either.

46 phil February 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Dear Sofya:
When you are giving instructions about the very small amount of starter to add, you are using “T” Do you mean
Tablespoon (tbls) or Teaspoon (tsp)?

47 Sofya February 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Tablespoon.

48 kate February 21, 2013 at 6:13 am

Sofya -
thanks for the very informative blog! Unfortunately I purchased one of these expensive yoghurt makers before reading your site. I’m a bit worried about my first batch of yoghurt and wonder if you can help. I used a yoghurt “starter” with all of the appropriate live cultures, heated the milk to 180 then cooled to 110 and mixed in the starter and some dried skim milk as the recipe recommended. I left the yoghurt to ferment in the machine for 8 hours and then it was cooled for approximately 3 additional hours (machine has an automatic cool setting after programmed fermentation time is complete). The yoghurt had a significant curd to it and smells a bit “yeasty.” It is quite sour. Is there any way to determine if it is spoiled other than the smell? It tastes much more pungent then the homemade yoghurt that I have had at restaurants in Europe. Thanks!

49 Sofya February 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Hi Kate, I am sorry I cannot say for sure without looking and smelling. Sounds like your starter is the culprit. Buy some ordinary life-cultures yogurt – make sure it has the cultures I list in this post – and skip the dry milk. It is not needed. Yogurt is done in 8 hours, cooling is not needed – it will thicken in your fridge anyway.

50 Bill March 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I’ll be using all this great information from now on. I have a problem getting to your uses for yogurt at Word Press. I don’t have an account, and using my phone I can’t find a way to create one. Can you send me that info in a text or pdf?

51 Sofya March 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

That’s cause the link I provided (I just found this out) is bad. Sorry about that. Here’s the correct one: http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2012/08/all-things-yogurt-uses-recipes-ideas/ I’ve corrected the one in the post also.

52 Anna April 5, 2013 at 11:41 am

I don’t know if anyone is still checking this post, but I need help with my yogurt. I have tried twice now, the first time I incubated it for about 18 hours before it seemed thick enough. This one might have been ok, but I poured off the whey before putting it in the fridge, and I think I ended up with something like ricotta or labneh. It is very thick and sour smelling. The second try the yogurt seemed thick enough when I checked it after a 12 hour incubation (overnight), but when I checked it after 3 hours in the fridge, it was back to the consistency of milk.
I am reheating to try again, but is there any way to figure out what I’m doing wrong? I am using a small crockpot on an electric griddle for incubation, and I checked the temperature a couple times during incubation, and it seemed to be right around 110-115F. The first time I did it straight in the crockpot, the second time I used a small container in the pot filled with water so I would disturb it less. I’ve also checked the amount of start I’ve used, the first time might have been a little much, but the second time was right around 1T for a quart of milk.

53 Sofya April 5, 2013 at 1:23 pm

No worries, I check all comments daily.

As far as your first experience, you are not really supposed to pour off much of the whey unless you want Greek yogurt, and even then only a little, not all of it (what you have made was, effectively, yogurt cheese). Whey is part of yogurt.

The second time is a puzzle to me – I don’t know what could possibly cause real yogurt to turn back to milk.

54 Anna April 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I suppose it’s possible it wasn’t as thick as I thought when I removed it from the heat, I didn’t want to stir too much. It seemed thick though. Also, I reheated it to 110, and am incubating for a second time – will this work since I refrigerated it for a few hours?

Also – suggestions for using yogurt cheese? :)

55 Sofya April 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I think so. Yogurt cheese is just like ricotta, use it like ricotta, or you can drain it a little more over a cheesecloth (folded in many layers) or a plain kitchen towel, then add salt to it and spread on a tortilla, that’s what I would do anyway.

I was also going to add – I would say you know your yogurt is thick when you can spoon it out (the yogurt at the bottom of the pot will be thinner than at the top). Also, I wanna say, not every kind of milk behaves the same – ultra-pasteurized seems harder to make into a thick yogurt, that’s my personal experience.

56 emily April 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

i am making my own yogurt for my science project can you tell me the benefits of home made yogurt?
this is a helpful website
emily recently posted..What to Expect with Farm-Direct Grassfed BeefMy Profile

57 Sofya April 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Yes, there are less factory preservatives and additives, superior flavor, much lower cost, and an undeniable sense of moral superiority that comes with it.

58 katrina Joa May 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I have found a very easy way to make yoghurt,.. I take one liter of milk 2%, add some milk powder, pour it into a glass container, place it in the microwave at high until milk is boiling, (10 min aprx.) place in cold water in the sink, do the finger test before adding the starter, place in oven with the light on, leave overnight, then place in the fridge. Easy and good.

59 Miriam May 14, 2013 at 11:01 am

I just started making my own yogurt n its fun. Ive not had a failed batch yet *thank God* i use powdered milk n sometimes i add evaporated milk too n it works all d time * we hardly get fresh milk where i live. I incubate in a cooler with warm water n it sets perfectly. I stir d yogurt b4 refridgerating is dat bad? Yes it does seem loser after stirring but it thickens up again in d fridge. Love reading about other pples experience.

60 Sofya May 14, 2013 at 11:12 am

It really is the matter of preference. I like to pour off the whey a little and keep the curd intact for firmer texture. Stirring breaks up the curd of course.

61 Cari June 13, 2013 at 2:43 am

Hi! My yogurt when it falls from the spoon has a kind of gloopy stringiness to it. Like it drips in a stringy way if that makes sense. Is this normal? I cultured it for 9 hours and it was fairly nice and thick, but I gave it a 30min strain to drain off a bit of the whey. After I spooned it into a tub for going into the fridge… it seemed to thin after spooning, too much agitation?

Thanks for the blog on this… love so many of your topics and recipes!

62 Sofya June 13, 2013 at 7:50 am

I’ve had that happen before – has something to do with the brand of boughten yogurt you use for incubation. If you keep on making batches with this yogurt (always saving a little for the next batch), the property goes away after a few batches – or try another brand.

Re spooning – yes, spooning=agitation, plus, yogurt at the bottom of the batch is always way runnier than at the top, because whey sinks to the bottom. It’s normal. I use the top of the batch for eating and bottom for cooking with – most of my yogurt is made into soups (sometimes gallons of it at a time!).

63 Bill June 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

To make yogurt I start with either Chobani or Stonyfield yogurt, as they both have a number of different cultures in them. Stoneyfield has 6, and Chobani 5, while Dannon has two.

It’s also good idea to also make your own kefir, as it has different beneficial cultures than yogurt contains. Making both give you a real arsenal of cultures. You need kefir grains to make it, and there are a number of places online to get them, often for just shipping, and lots of info. It’s a lot easier than making yogurt – you plop some kefir grains in some milk, set it on your counter for a day or two for it to ferment and set, remove the grains, and it’s ready to use.

64 Tania June 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Hi Sofya,
Thanks for a great recipe. I have been trying for a long while now to make a good goats yogurt but it always turns out not much thicker than milk. Have you used raw goats milk and did you follow exactly the same method as above? I heat my milk to 180 as you suggest, cool, add starter and keep at an even temperature in a food flask. Any advice would be really great thanks.

65 Sofya June 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I have never used goat’s milk for making yogurt.

66 Elaine June 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

Is there a way to print out this tutorial? It is a GREAT step by step recipe!!!

67 Sofya June 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I’ll make it printable, thanks!

68 Charisma June 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Hi! I found your blog on Pinterest. I’ve been making yogurt for a year now and I was suprised that I only needed two tablespoons of starter to make a gallon of yogurt. I’ve been using about 6oz. all year! So I decided to give it a try. I flavored my yogurt with a 1/2 cup of sugar and steeped a vanilla bean while it was heating up. After I added the starter I poured everything through a strainer and into mason jars. I incubated In a cooler filled to the rim of the jars with very warm water and left it alone. When I switched it to the fridge a little bit ago everything was firmed up and looked great! I’m excited to have some in the morning! Thanks for all of your tips!

69 Sofya June 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Great to hear, thanks for taking the time to let me know!

70 Tanya July 11, 2013 at 9:03 am

Great post. Might I ask a couple of questions as I have limited access to provisions?

Is it possible to make it entirely from milk made from powder and if so do I assume that more powder would mean thicker yogurt?
Is it important how long the milk takes to cool? The common step, ‘put in the sink with cold water and ice’ is that purely for speed in preparation rather than impact on the yogurt.
And finally, would leaving it in jars (with/without hot water) in a pressure cooker work … possibly outside in the sun?

thanks in advance – I am ready to try it!

71 Sofya July 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

Can’t say about powdered milk – there’s only one way to find out – try it! Does not matter how much it cools, as long as it’s at the right temp. Pressure cooker sounds a little intense. I would do a cooler and warm water bath instead. Warm (not more than 115), not hot.

72 Bill July 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I had an odd looking crack in my yogurt when I went to put it in the fridge this morning. After it had cooled for three hours, I got it out, and as I suspected, the odd crack was over a larger hole, which was full of whey. I scooped the whey out, which was maybe 1/3 cup. I’ve been making yogurt for years, but always in some kind of device, with less milk, and small containers, so I’ve never used this much milk before. I had three quarts of milk and two tablespoons of starter in a metal bowl, using the heating pad method, so I was wondering if somewhat normal. Oh, I love the heating pad, I checked the temp of the fermenting yogurt just before bed, and first thing this morning, and it was at a perfect temp. Thanks for the tutorial.

73 Sofya July 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

That’s normal, there can be cracks in yogurt – just whey between the curd. If you do it with a lot of milk you can especially see that.

74 Bill July 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Thaks Sofya! Other than that simple thing, the yogurt came out great using your methods.

75 Gabby July 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I just made a batch of yogurt in the crockpot yesterday and I got so excited about how it turned out that I started another batch today. I got too hasty this second time and heated it to 180, but then I skipped the cool down (totally on accident…forgot the steps) and added the starter cultures. Does this just mean that my starter cultures will die and then I can salvage the batch by adding another starter once the yogurt cools to 110?

76 Sofya July 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Unfortunately, adding any kind of acid to hot milk (at that temperature) will cause it to curdle – i.e. the curd will separate from the whey (water in the milk). In fact this is the way people make this really yummy cheese in Azerbaijan where I am from. If it cools and you see chunks (curds) floating in the waterier liquid, don’t dump it – just drain it through several (lots) of layers of cheesecloth, add salt, and there you got a yummy spreadable cheese! The goal is to lose nearly all the water and have cheese left behind in your cheesecloth. Still yum! Here’s an article about that cheese: http://www.azcookbook.com/curd-cheese/. The instructions outline EXACTLY what you did by accident.

77 Gabby July 20, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Oops- but I guess it could be a happy mistake! Thanks for the link! :)

78 Sofya July 20, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Yep, happy mistakes are a great way to discover new things!

79 Rachel July 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Sofya, I love your detailed how to make yogurt post, I have learned a lot and most importantly for me that there is a possibility of recovering a failed attempt to make yogurt.

I have made yogurt maybe ten times over the last five years. Fortunately they always turned out just following the appliance instructions. Although I would not buy an appliance with what I know now. Anyway, a few days ago I made a yogurt with pasteurized and non homogenized 3.25% cow milk and incubated in my dehydrator (110 degree setting for 24 hours) and another one using pasteurized goats milk 3.25% in my Yogourmet yogurt maker, incubating 24 plus hours. Both turned out great. Yesterday I got more ambitious in volume and tried heating 2 quarts of goats milk until it foamed and bubbled, let it cool around 25 -35 minutes until it was warm but comfortable in a finger test (note I have a Yogourmet thermostat but the battery is dead) and added the Yogourmet starter, poured into mason jars and placed in the dehydrator and turned it on the 110 degree setting. After four hours it did not seem to thicken much (if any), as I tilted the jars to check consistency. I thought maybe I killed the starter by adding it when the milk was possibly too hot, so decided to added another packed to each mason jar and mildly stir the top to dissolve. It is now more than 18 hours later and it still not thick like my other batches. It smells like milk not yogurt. What to do to recover this and make into yogurt? Should I put in the fridge see if it thickens and if not put back on the stove an reheat, let cool and add another starter (I bought a new thermostat today), or just take from the dehydrator start the reheat? What is the best way to be more likely able to salvage the milk and make into yogurt?

Thanks!
Rachel

80 Sofya July 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Just make it into ricotta. The milk was too hot – 2 quarts of milk will take several hours to cool to the right temperature, not 25 min. You don’t want it comfortable hot, you want it baby-bath warm.

81 ojo olusegun August 17, 2013 at 6:22 am

How can one make yoghurt from cream?

82 Sofya August 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

More interestingly, why?

83 Rod Jaraiedi August 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Sofya,
I love your recipe and I feel like my technique has improved. Sometimes though, I get a lumpy texture. Is it because I have been re-using the yogurt again and again and need to get new culture after a few cycles?

84 Sofya August 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Not at ALL – quite the opposite. Culture gets better and better with re-using. Describe the lumpy texture, please? All yogurt is lumpy by definition because it doesn’t have the additives from the factory.

85 Rod Jaraiedi December 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Sofya,
I have mastered it. The reason why my yogurt was lumpy was because I was probably adding too much starter. I am now a pro at making yogurt and make it every week. Some of my friends prefer me to strain it, so I have purchased a strainer that just perfectly holds the yogurt and lets all the whey leak through. As a Persian, I prefer leaving it as it is (no straining or additives).

86 Rod Jaraiedi December 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I meant to add that I use an Excalibur Dehydrator for the incubation process. It is fool-proof and has never failed me.

87 Jay E October 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm

My yogurt batches all taste fine, but they have texture of fine cottage cheese, just not as thick.
Any idea why?

88 Sofya October 30, 2013 at 8:58 am

I do – I am guessing your milk was just a tad too hot.

89 Nikki October 30, 2013 at 10:55 am

That would also be my guess. Have you used a thermometer to check your temperature when it is culturing? I know it is not ideal to disturb it at all during the process, but when I first started using the heating pad method for keeping mine warm while culturing, I wanted to make sure it would stay at the ideal temp, so I checked it one time and it was good. What method are you using to keep it warm during the culturing process?

90 Sarah November 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hi, I tried making this yesterday. I had it incubating in my crock pot, but I think it kept it too warm – closer to 120°. The yogurt didn’t turn out, it’s still like milk. It’s smooth, not lumpy. My question is; can I reheat it and try again like you suggested for yogurt that wasn’t kept warm enough? Do I need to reculture it (if it was 120° would that have killed the culture)? Thanks for your help!

91 Sofya November 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Yes, would have killed the culture. Go ahead and try that. This isn’t hot enough to curdle I don’t think but could be hot enough for the culture to fail.

92 Leslie January 8, 2014 at 11:14 am

Hello Sofya. I want to thank you so much for this website and all of your wonderful recipes. Several years ago I lived in the country with dairy farmers as neighbors down the road. She taught me how to make homemade yogurt at that time. I moved back to the city and stopped making my own yogurt. I discovered your website a few months ago and have started making yogurt again. Yay! I just use a pot to heat the milk, an insulated thermos with the oven light on overnight, and voila, it is a no fail method as long the temperatures are right. Very easy and very economical. I take a container with fruit and my yogurt to work every morning for breakfast. This yogurt is so good and for the price of a container of milk, why wouldn’t you want to make your own. Thank you, Sofya, for your fantastic website, and for taking the time to answer all the questions.

93 Wyoming Life January 13, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Just found your post on making yogurt. We just got a milk cow about two weeks ago. I’ve made mozzarella, a soft cheese, and today I tried your yogurt recipe using one gallon of raw, fresh milk. The recipe worked perfectly! I now have two small “tupperware” tubs of wonderful yogurt in the fridge!
Wyoming Life recently posted..Hostile to Large CarnivoresMy Profile

94 abbey January 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

I’ve been making yogurt for years and dealing with my ambient kitchen temperatures. I always thought that was why I would get wonderful yogurt with the occasional odd, broken, cheesy batch.

Thanks to your instructions, I know I’ve been too haphazard with my starter culture. I always left some in the jar and never paid attention. Now I’m cutting way back and getting much more consistent results. Thank you for that information. It never occurred to me that I was using too much starter. I always thought “the more, the merrier.”

Thank you so much!!

95 Kelly May 20, 2014 at 9:15 am

Good Morning Sofya

I so enjoy your website/blog that I stumbled upon a few months ago. I made the yoghurt yesterday, and low and behold it worked! My question is, can I use from the homemade yoghurt 1 tablespoon of it to make my next batch of yoghurt or do I always have to have the store bought yoghurt for the starter? And if I can use the home made yoghurt for the next starter, can I do that indefinitely, or is there a time when I need store bought.

I am excited to try some of your recipes soon. I love how well explained everything is, really really good site.

Thanks again, Kelly (from Ontario, Canada)

96 Sofya June 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm

You can use your own homemade yogurt indefinitely, or almost indefinitely.

97 Kelly May 20, 2014 at 9:26 am

oh, when I said it turned out, it set up well and I just ate my first bowl, it is good and I am happy with it but it is a bit grainy, is that normal, or is there something I can do better, perhaps this is the norm of home made yoghurt. Thanks again, Kelly

98 Sofya June 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Can’t tell without seeing. I don’t think it’s grany but it’s got definitive areas of curd and whey, curd is smooth, though, like custard, not like ricotta or cottage cheese.

99 Mari May 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for the wonderful information ; I have just ( about two weeks) started to try my hands at yogurt making.
I have done three batches so far and on all occasions the yogurt seemed extra runny and smelled and tasted like
plain milk . It lacked any tart in the taste and smell . I followed the directions (which is almost the same as your directions) I used a yogurt maker to culture for 11 hours . Kindly guide , with thanks

Marie

100 Sofya June 20, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Tart taste and smell actually take a few days to develop, which, if you only ever had boughten yogurt, is not something you’d know. And you NEVER get the consistency of boughten yogurt because it’s ARTIFICIALLY thickened, like nature NOT intended. Although sounds like in this case your yogurt maybe didn’t work out properly.

101 John Scozz June 13, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Thanks, Sofya, for the no bs tutorial on yogurt making. I really enjoyed your pull no punches appraisal of yogurt makers. People are constantly buying things marketed as needed & must have, when really all they are needed for is lining the sellers pockets with cash. Can’t wait to start my first batch. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks again.

102 Sue September 15, 2014 at 8:24 am

I have an electric yogurt maker. My last batch had a lot of liquid in it (whey?) I made it the same way I make every batch. Is the yogurt good or should I toss it?

103 Tasso September 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

In our recently built home, our new ovens has a proofing button for bread that can be set from 85 to 100 degrees & is ideal for incubating yogurt.

104 Sofya November 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm

If it’s very old it may not be as effective in making yogurt. 2 to 2.5-week old yogurt is usually OK. But if it’s gotten to a point of developing carbonation, I would just dump it, for safety reasons. I think carbonation means some new spoilage organisms. That would be my natural response.

Previous post:

Next post: