Is home made yogurt supposeed to be runny? (or, what the heck am I doing wrong!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-29-2009, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I have tried making yogurt so many times I can not count. I have tried commercial milk, raw milk, yogormet starter, raw yogurt starter, commercial yogurt starter... Everything in the book. My most recent batch, which I started around 4 pm yesterday, is still cooking and still very runny. Is it supposed to be so runny? It always separates too. I use a yogormet yogurt maker.

For this batch, I used raw milk, heated to around 120, cooled down to 108, mixed a little bit with yogurt starter plus some raw yogurt. In the morning, the yellow-ish liquid had separated to the top, leaving curdled-looking runny yogurt at the bottom.

Please! somebody tell me what the heck I am doing wrong. I REALLY want to make yogurt, and I have a great new source of raw milk.

Also, a few more questions: is raw milk that is starting to sour too old to make yogurt? Also, is it possible to cook (well, let it sit in a yogurt maker, not really cook) yogurt for too long (by the time I get home from work, the yogurt will have sat about 24 hours). I did not remove it from the yogurt maker this morning because it was still very runny.

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#2 of 9 Old 01-29-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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I have only made yogurt from pasteurized whole milk, so don't know if this will help you much, but: I just make sure to heat it to 180, then I let it cool to about 110. I then add a couple tablespoons of plain dannon yogurt as a starter (or from my latest batch of yogurt) and stir it around really good. I then incubate with a heating pad wrapped securely around the container (I use quart size glass mason jars). I have always gotten thick yummy yogurt! Have you ever checked the temperature of the yogurt maker you have to make sure it is not getting too warm? That would kill the bacteria and prevent a nice thick yogurt.

Oh-- and I only let in incubate for about 7-8 hours. And, I make sure not to touch/stir it all while it is incubating (I read somewhere not to, but don't quite know the reason why.)
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#3 of 9 Old 01-29-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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Yes, it is Commercial yogurt has been "thickened".
If you want it thicker, just lay a coffee filter in a strainer, set it over a bow and pour your yogurt into the strainer. Let a bit of the whey drip out, until you have the consistency you want.

I usually make mine from lightly soured raw milk.
And I no longer heat the milk first either.
I have found that there is little to no difference between heating it versus not.

As to the seperation of the whey, its due to the yogurt sitting in the warmth longer than normal.
Nothing wrong with it. Just mix it up, and you will be fine.

I make mine by putting the cold milk and starter in pint size jars with lids and placing them in my crockpot. I then add warm water, almost to the top of the jars, and turning on the crockpot to the warm setting.
I leave the crockpot lid off.
Works perfectly.
Paula

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#4 of 9 Old 01-29-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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My method is very similar to taygirls, except I use skim or 1% milk, I usually make 2 quarts at a time and I use a heating pad inside a small cooler to incubate, and I often incubate for up to 24 hours. I always pour off the whey and use it to make rice or couscous, and I also like it strained, like PaulaJoAnne described. I use cheesecloth in my metal mesh strainer and drain it into a bowl in the fridge for about 24 hours after cooling it overnight in the fridge. It's nice and thick that way. I've gotten as much as a whole pint of whey out of a quart of yogurt.
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#5 of 9 Old 01-30-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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Mine is always thin, too, because there is so much whey in it. I could strain it out to get the yoghurt thicker, but I prefer to store it with the whey in, because the whey will make it last longer. Also, if I use it thin in smoothies, I get the goodness of whey as well!
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#6 of 9 Old 01-30-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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it can be a number of things. it could be that you aren't adding enough starter or that the starter isn't very strong. it could be that you haven't heated it up enough to kill any competing bacteria. it could be that your yogurt maker isn't keeping it at a consistent temperature, or that you're not culturing it for long enough.

fwiw, i make yogurt all the time with raw milk and it comes out very thick and creamy. so it can be done. i heat to 180, reduce to 110, add starter, wrap jars in towels and put in a small cooler and culture for 6-8 hours. remove jars from cooler, put in fridge. within about 4-6 hrs after it hits the fridge it's ready to eat.

fyi, you can thicken yogurt using pectin or gelatin (they do this with most commercial yogurt) - if you have a bum batch that doesn't gel much at all, it's a good way to save it from being wasted. if you're not opposed to powdered milk, you can also add some (at about 1/4 cup per quart) just before you add the starter, which will thicken it as well. the source of your starter also has a lot to do with thickness, i've gotten the thickest results using greek yogurt (like Fage).
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#7 of 9 Old 01-30-2009, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixiepunk View Post

fwiw, i make yogurt all the time with raw milk and it comes out very thick and creamy. so it can be done. i heat to 180, reduce to 110, add starter, wrap jars in towels and put in a small cooler and culture for 6-8 hours. remove jars from cooler, put in fridge. within about 4-6 hrs after it hits the fridge it's ready to eat.
Thanks. These are all good suggestions.

pixiepunk - if you heat raw milk to 180, doesn't it kill off the good stuff in raw milk? Not sure why I thought this was true...

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#8 of 9 Old 01-30-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcr View Post
Thanks. These are all good suggestions.

pixiepunk - if you heat raw milk to 180, doesn't it kill off the good stuff in raw milk? Not sure why I thought this was true...
Yes, unfortunately it does. From what I've read, anything over 115 or 120 kills quite a bit of the good bacteria in raw milk.

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#9 of 9 Old 01-30-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Mine was always thin unless I over-heated it (presumably a lot of water evaporated off). Yogurt is even thinner if you use goat milk, but I assumed you meant cow.
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