Best yogurt starter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 10-20-2010, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The last time I made my own yogurt alla NT recipe it came out way too runny to pass my kids inspection. I used Stoneyfarms full fat plain as a starter. Does anyone know of a yogurt that works really well as a starter? Or maybe even a better recipe that is more likely to maintain enough thickness to pass it off to my kids? PS, that first failed attempt made a great addition to smoothies at least!

Yogurt is a favorite snack by far and one I am semi comfortable with in our current state of consumption. But in the interest of economy as well as health I'd really really like to get good at making my own.

Thank you!

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#2 of 16 Old 10-22-2010, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone have a personal experience to share? I am anxious to get this going and willing to trial and error but hoping for some wise woman experienced advise! Maybe I should just mail order a powdered starter?

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#3 of 16 Old 10-22-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I have not found a yogurt that I like for this, but I have used the Yogourmet yogurt starter and it sets up really well. It's really great with milk that's not homogenized IMO because of that great cream layer on the top. Using a starter like that definitely adds to the expense and the total cost ends up approach store prices.

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#4 of 16 Old 10-22-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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I used nancy's organic yogurt. i think that's what it's called. it's a little thicker than most yogurts because it's made with powdered milk.
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#5 of 16 Old 10-22-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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Do you make it in a yogurt maker? I started with a Greek yogurt,and now just use my current yogurt to culture it. I do mine in the oven and then strain it in a clean cloth to make "greek yogurt" if I want it thicker. I save the whey to stir back if I want to thin it out at all. Otherwise, it is somewhat thin, like a European style yogurt.
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#6 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not use a yogurt maker just the stove top to oven method used in NT. I thought about starting with a Greek yogurt but was unsure if it would make a difference. So glad I asked! Now I will try that. I'll also check our health food store for the nancy's brand.

Thank you ladies!

And even if i can't quite make it to the quality I'd need to feed it to the kids, I could still use it for my grain soaking.

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#7 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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I use stonyfield or brown cow or trader joes all with good results. There are things that will effect how it turns out, and these may need tweaking.

What type of milk are you using? How long are you fermenting?

Raw milk yogurt will typically be thinner. I actually use half and half for yogurt... It makes the thickest, creamiest yogurt.

I always ferment 24 hrs for the best results.

Temperature control is huge. Until recently, i was using the heating pad method with really good, consistent results. And then i got an Excalibur, which turns out my yogurt almost the consistency of cream cheese.

So at a guess, you need to lengthen your ferment and get better temp control at the very minimum. Most ovens are not warm enough for a proper ferment.

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#8 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I only let it sit inthe oven overnight. May e 12 hours at most. Not long enough I guess? And I used whole milk that is not labeled as homogenized so imot sure but it is pasteurized.

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#9 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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Even with a longer ferment, if you dont have good temperature control, you wont get a good yogurt. Temp is the most important factor here.

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#10 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok I need to reread the directions. But, perhaps an external thermometer to verify the temp in the oven? Or are you saying the oven just isn't usually a good idea? What is the heating pad method?

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#11 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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For me, the oven method works fine. I just heat it up and then turn my oven off at least 20 minutes before adding my yogurt. I keep the pilot light on overnight and ferment for 5-24 hours depending on what I have going on. If it is a longer ferment, I turn my oven on to 180 occasionally and then off after a couple of minutes to rewarm my oven.

Greek starter won't make it thicker. Greek yogurt can be made with any yogurt, it just needs to be strained through a cloth for a few hours (I use an old clean tshirt which wastes less than cheese cloth). I have had luck anything from dannon to brown cow. I like straining it, but it is a personal taste/texture preference.
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#12 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLea View Post
Ok I need to reread the directions. But, perhaps an external thermometer to verify the temp in the oven? Or are you saying the oven just isn't usually a good idea? What is the heating pad method?
Most ovens dont seem to work that well for this. I couldnt count the number of times someone has come on here for help w their yogurt because their oven cant maintain the temperature.

For the heating pad method, use a conductive bowl (i use glass w a lid), after heating the milk, pour ot into the bowl, put it on a heating pad set to low, wrap the whole thing in a towel and put it in a secure place.

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#13 of 16 Old 10-23-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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Stoneyfield is my favorite starter.

My method:

*scald the milk
*boil water and either boil or scald my stainless steel thermos and lids (about 1 qt capacity)
*let milk cool to slightly higher than body temp (no strict temp-- just cooler than a hot shower but doesn't feel like "nothing-temp" when I touch it to my wrist-- feels very slightly warm-- like BOTTLE temp if you've ever bottle fed, LOL
*put starter into thermos and pour milk over it
*screw lid down tight and tilt back and forth to blend
*leave on counter or wrap in towel for at least 6 hours (up to 24)

It comes out exactly like the store bought stoneyfield, only FRESH! Yummy.

We have added either geletin or corn starch to thicken-- add to cold milk before scalding it and stir throughout heating. It will thicken before it becomes yogurt w starch, after w geletin. Some people add dry milk to thicken as well.

HTH
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#14 of 16 Old 10-24-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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I make our yogurt using raw goat milk:

SLOWLY bring 3/4 of a gallon (or just over 3 qts) of goat milk to 185 degrees using water bath method.

When milk hits about 160 add 2-4 TBSPNs of arrowoot, stirring it in and then allowing the milk to heat up to 185 according to my kitchen thermometer (not quite a rolling boil, but bubbling). The amount of arrowroot really depends on how well its thickening... it won't show full thickening results obviously until after its been sitting for hours.

When milk hits 185, remove and put the milk in a cold water bath bringing the temperature down to 110 degrees. (I changed the water once)

Mix in 1 cup of vanilla Activia. (the vanilla did not flavor the whole batch)

Pour warmed milk into wider pot (I used my aluminum chaffing dish)

Cover pot with aluminum foil and place in oven that had been warmed to 170 and turned off. (I preheat during milk warming process and turn off & open a crack during cold water bath. Place overnight in oven WITH OVEN LIGHT ON (about 12 hours) Makes maybe 2 1/2 quarts of creamy yogurt.

Now that I've done this a bunch of times I'm starting to use my own yogurt as a starter.

Dani, wife to Cullen - 9/2002, mom to CJ 11/2004, Billy 12/2007 and Nora 7/2009
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#15 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I found a recipe using a slow cooker method that looks very doable for me. Seems much easier to control the temp.

Ive been thinking about this so much I even dreamed about it last night! Lol! Must be time to get started...

Thanks again, if the slow cooker doesn't work out I'll try some other suggestions too.

Mama Lea, grateful wife to and mom to Big Boy 10/04/06 and my little Sunshine boy 10/06/08 and surprise joining the bed sometime in March 2011
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#16 of 16 Old 10-26-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaLea View Post
I found a recipe using a slow cooker method that looks very doable for me. Seems much easier to control the temp.

Ive been thinking about this so much I even dreamed about it last night! Lol! Must be time to get started...

Thanks again, if the slow cooker doesn't work out I'll try some other suggestions too.

I think you'll like the slow cooker method - lots do... I just hate having my slow cooker out of commission for any length of time! LOL

Dani, wife to Cullen - 9/2002, mom to CJ 11/2004, Billy 12/2007 and Nora 7/2009
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