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trying to make yogurt but turns to curds and whey

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've tried following the recipe in NT 4 times now and each time it turns to curds and whey......instead of yogurt. I incubate in my dehydrator. I started off incubating around 100 then dropped to 95(the lowest setting) but it has turned both times. I use store-bought yogurt as a starter. I do use a candy thermometer and heat the milk to 110. I do 1 quart of milk in a quart mason jar.

Any ideas? Perhaps I'm incubating for too long? How long does yours take to turn to yogurt.

Any good yogurt starter culture recommendations?

TIA!
post #2 of 9
Most likely the issue was that the temperature was too low. Curds and whey is a sign of a dead yogurt starter (the milk behaves like it would if no yogurt starter was present). For yogurt you buy at the store, it needs a temperature of about 110 degrees for the bacteria to multiply effectively. At too low a temperature, the yogurt bacteria don't multiply very fast but the bacteria which exists naturally in the milk do multiply very quickly. It becomes a competition and usually the milk bacteria will win killing the yogurt starter.

Next time just set your dehydrator at 110 degrees
post #3 of 9
Well... I just read DogMom327's reply and that makes very good sense. But I will chime in and say that I've gotten mine to do the curds and whey by getting the temperature too HIGH. I think it is very dependent on what culture you use, and the critters naturally present in the milk. I think my temp-too-high experience was with a pure acidophilus dried starter. I have had better luck with the variable temps in my appliance free way of doing it(I put mine in the oven over the pilot light or in a big pot of really warm water which I change a few times) by using a store bought yogurt with multiple bacterial cultures(full fat plain). They all thrive/behave differently at slightly different temperatures and I feel like I am covering my bases that way. It works out pretty well, but I never get a very firm yogurt unless I completely pasteurize my milk. As far as time goes, it varies. In a controlled temperature setting with pasteurized milk I think four hours is about right. I never have that scenario though. I just leave mine overnight and figure I'll be happy with whatever I get or feed it to the critters if it turns out irrevocably wrong.
post #4 of 9
StrongBeliever is absolutely right--too high a temperature will have the same effect (culture dies, milk separates).

There are two types of yogurt cultures mesophilic cultures that are meant to culture at 70-78 degrees and Thermophilic cultures that are meant to culture at 110 degrees. The yogurt you buy in the store is made with a thermophilic culture so it's happiest at 110 degrees. Anything above around 115 can be a problem and you could have the same effect. Yogurt (and cheese for that matter) can be a bit temperamental in terms of temperature. Too high or low causes problems.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks gals. I think I'll try ordering a culture from Cultures for Health. Any recommendations on a good one?
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogmom327 View Post
There are two types of yogurt cultures mesophilic cultures that are meant to culture at 70-78 degrees and Thermophilic cultures that are meant to culture at 110 degrees. The yogurt you buy in the store is made with a thermophilic culture so it's happiest at 110 degrees. Anything above around 115 can be a problem and you could have the same effect. Yogurt (and cheese for that matter) can be a bit temperamental in terms of temperature. Too high or low causes problems.
DogMom, thanks! I have heard (or maybe seen on Culturesforheath) that there were cultures that work at room temp - I guess those would be the mesophilic cultures. How does the end result vary from the thermophilic cultures like from-the-store yogurt? The only kind I've done was thermophilic (Dannon) and it turned out great but I gave my friend back her yogurt maker and am trying to figure if I want to buy one, or maybe try the mesophilic cultures...

Thanks!
post #7 of 9
Yes, the room temperature cultures are the mesophilic ones. There are four: Viili, Fil Mjolk, Matsoni and Piima. The first three are relatively thick but the Piima is more of a cultured beverage (very runny). Generally speaking, the room temperature cultures are less thick than the heated varieties (Greek and Bulgarian) but they are also less work (just mix in the starter and let it sit--you just need a spot in your house that isn't dropping below 70 degrees).

The most popular varieties (in terms of taste and texture) are the Viili, Matsoni, Greek and Bulgarian.
post #8 of 9
I know this thread is a little old, but I just tried the NT method of making yogurt and ended up with curds and whey. My guess is the temp was too high. But I'm left with all this liquid and some curds. Is the liquid whey? (I'm pretty new to all this!) can the curds be used at all? Would appreciate any help I can get.
post #9 of 9

I agree - your heat was probably too high.  Or it cultured for too long.

The liquid is whey - you can use it to culture your next batch, or soak grains in it. 

Drain the "yogurt" in a sieve, or a colander lined with a clean cloth or paper towel.  Let it drain at room temp for about 12 hours, until the whey has drained out and the curds look like cream cheese.  Stir in some salt ... and it's yogurt cheese! 

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