I've made it quite a few times over the past few years and it turns out seemingly ok, but the flavor just isn't as yummy as what I usually buy at the store.
I just don't get it. I use delicious raw jersey milk which I love, and as a starter I use a little of the plain organic whole milk Nancy's that I buy. It is also really tasty - I love it just plain. Somehow, the end result just isn't as nice in flavor though.
Could it be that I need to purchase a starter instead?
My method is: heat milk gently to 180, cool to 110, stir in 1TBS starter yogurt/qt milk (I use mason jars) and let sit overnight - usually ~ 12hours, sometimes a little more or less. It sets up pretty well (occasionally I've gotten a grainy texture). To keep it warm while it cultures, I put it in a small cooler with a hot water bottle.
Any ideas? I really want to make my own, but I eat a lot of yogurt daily and I'm just not really into it like I love my Nancy's (which has milk powder and is made with homogenized milk unfortunately :( ) .
Oh I also tried a locally made yogurt that uses non homogenized milk and noticed the flavor was similar to my homemade. Could that be it?
Thanks for any input!
I've noticed that the best tasting store-bought yogurt doesn't necessarily make for the best homemade yogurt. The best results I've had came from purchased yogurt cultures. Expensive, but sometimes worth it. You'll have to play around with the different types - depending on the cows and what they're fed, etc, you will have different results. The "sweet" Y5 culture works best for my current cow's milk.
But any home-made yogurt from real milk (w/o thickeners or powdered milk) tends to be too thin and sour. Simple solution - strain out some of the whey. The whey is the sour liquid portion - the curd sweeter, creamier, and thicker - so the resulting yogurt will be thicker and less sour.
After the yogurt is made (and while it's still warm), drain it in a colander lined with cloth or paper towels for 12 hours or so, at room temp. You'll have to experiment. Then stir the curd (I use a food processor, and add some whey back if I drained it too long). You'll end up with 1/3 - 1/2 the original volume, but all the protein and fat are in the yogurt portion.
Honestly, I've milked cows and made yogurt for my family for 7 years, but always hated yogurt. Or at least the homemade stuff. Strauss was my favorite. It wasn't until I started making Greek-style (strained) yogurt that I started loving yogurt.
Strange, because I just finished the best batch of yogurt ever! I used local raw holstein milk, and 2 T greek yogurt per quart. Heated it to 180, cooled to 110, left it in the cooler for 14 hours. Very creamy and not too tart. I wonder if it's just personal preference?
Thanks for the idea on the cultures - I may try the sample pack and see how it is.
This isn't an issue of too tart - I LOVE tart! I usually eat my yogurt plain with nothing on it. It is more like just an 'off' taste - kind of a bitter aftertaste that is not present in either the milk or in the yogurt I'm using as starter. Not spoiled or anything.....just not as nice of flavor.
Such a bummer because I'd really prefer to be making my own.
Any chance that it's picking up bitter flavours from the containers or the lids or the cooler? Even if they are clean, sometimes odours and flavours linger.
Your method is almost exactly what I do and I get thick, delicious yoghurt - no bitterness. I use organic 1% milk and an organic plain yoghurt. I make it in a large enamel cast iron Dutch oven (LeCreuset) and let it sit for 12 hours on the kitchen bench, wrapped in beach towels. After it's cultured, I ladle it into separate glass containers to keep in the refrigerator.
Olly - That is a reasonable question but I don't think that is the problem. I'm using clean glass quart canning jars and the lids are on while I culture (so any funk from the cooler, which could certainly be there, shouldn't be able to make its way into the jars). The occasional lid might retain some flavors, but I do 2 quarts at a time and have done this quite a few times and the aftertaste is always the same.....so I think it is something else.