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Discussion Starter #1
Our yogurt never turns out very nice in my mind. We have used several storebought yogurts with active cultures, all to the same effect. We use non-homogenized low temp pasturized milk, and heat it to 180ish. then we cool it to 110, mix in yogurt culture, and let it sit in the oven under the pilot light overnight.<br><br>
It's edible, but barely, to my mind. It tastes strong, but not in a storebought yogurt sour way, in a... pungent but not milk gone bad way. the milk gets very thick and the whey somewhat seperates out. then we stir it back in and it is really really really grainy and not as thick.<br>
We eat it, and haven't gotten sick, so I don't think it's that the culture isn't taking. We don't culture it very long, it seems like. maybe 12-15 hours?<br><br>
Help! I love yogurt, and it's much cheaper to make it, but this is just gross. (we've made many batches that come out like this, since DP likes it anyways.)
 

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Some ideas for you.<br><br>
1. find a flavor of yogurt at the store you like. I really like dannon. I also like greek yogurt.<br><br>
2. get organic milk if you can. I find that it tastes nicer. I also prefer whole fat yogurt but I like my yogurt creamy.<br><br>
3. stir in a 1/3rd cup of non-fat dry milk - that will make it creamer.<br><br>
4. I find the shorter I let it sit, the less tart it gets. Try it at 6 hours and see what you think.<br><br>
5. what is the average temp of the oven overnight? I think it has to be around 70 degrees.<br><br>
HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I like the yogurt we use as a culture. The milk we use is whole milk, and organic. I don't want to add dry milk powder. i'm fine with runny yogurt, just not grainy, off tasting yogurt.<br><br>
I'm thinking the oven might be too hot? I think it has to be warmer than 70 degrees, cause that's room temp, but it may be too hot. I could try to convince DP to try a shorter incubation period too.<br><br>
Part of the problem is DP likes the yogurt as it is, and has no incentive to try to change it. Even though we used to eat yogurt 3 meals a week, and now I can't eat yogurt with any of them cause I find it inedible. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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is it grainy after 6 hours? I just took my yogurt out of my yogurt maker (salton - a friend gave it to me) and it was really lovely. You are right about the temperature - it has to be between 90-110 degrees.<br><br>
I wonder if the yogurt is picking up any flavors from the oven?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
no, it's grainy after about 14 hours. do you think 6 might be better?
 

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I'm going to assume you're using Strauss...<br><br>
I don't take it up to 180 and then let it cool again, that messes with the texture IME. I also NEVER stir it until it's stone cold again.<br><br>
Can you get an oven thermometer? They're usually about $4 - Longs/CVS usually has them. That will tell you exactly what your oven is doing. But I suspect that it's too cold. It needs to be around 90-100F, but not over 110F. 70 is far too cold for a traditional culture.<br><br>
I started off making yogurt originally with a glass bowl and a heating pad set to low. And I always incubate for 24 hours. The only time I get grainy is if I overheat the milk, or if I stir it while it's warm.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
straus milk. we were using straus yogurt culture, though we tried ummm brown cow? or stonyfeild? I always confuse the two, anyways both gave the same result.<br><br>
I'm borrowing an oven thermometer from a friend this week, so I'll check the temp. If it's off, I'm sure it's too hot, since while it doesn't kill yeasts (I use it to proof bread sometimes), the metal bowl comes out barely able to touch it, so no way is it below 90..<br><br>
will you tell me more about not stirring and not heating it up? What do you do instead? oh, not stirring the yogurt, not the milk? do you heat the milk at all?
 

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Yeah, once I stir in the yogurt, I don't stir again until it's cultured and chilled thoroughly. But from your description, your oven is too hot. The graininess may be the start of cheese, and the off flavor may be from an opportunistic bacteria culturing instead of the one you wanted. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot for culturing (and really, too hot for yeast, too). 100 degrees feels neutral to your hand, since that's roughly body temp. 110 degrees feels <i>slightly</i> warm, and that's the temp above which yeast and yogurt cultures will die. If it's too hot to touch, then it's far too hot (I mean, my shower is usually probably around 130 or 140F). Since you have a thermometer, have you tried taking the temp of the milk halfway through culturing? That may confirm what's going on. Although it'd be cheaper just to stick a bowl of tap water in there for a couple hours then take it's temp.<br><br>
Oh, and I use Straus or TJ's house brand for culturing... they're both in red & white containers, both work just fine, so it's not the starter.
 

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We get graininess now and then, but not very much when we do get it. I always think the graininess comes from when I don't stir the milk frequently enough while it's heating. (I have been using conventional, homogenized milk and heating to 180.) Like, it's too hot and it's changing some of the milk proteins(?) into little ummmm... grains? Sometimes I can tell b/c the bottom of the pan I use to heat the milk has a thin layer of cheese-ish stuff. And then I notice it more in our yogurt.<br><br>
Is that what you mean by graininess? I'm stumped by the off flavors but also wonder if it's not culturing w/in the right temp range and allowing another culture to grow?<br><br>
Sorry you're not enjoying your yogurt; at least someone is <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Maybe the oven thermometer will be revealing.<br><br>
OH! I'm wondering if a double boiler would solve my graininess - if my theory above is right about why mine's grainy sometimes... Anyone use a double boiler?
 

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Here are my thoughts on this, coming from a long time of trial and error with yogurt-making. I'm thinking the strong flavor is coming from letting the yogurt incubate for too long. Mine gets really tart after 12 hrs or so, so I usually only let it sit for 6-8 hours. Also, put it directly into the fridge after you're done incubating it, don't stir it at all until it's chilled through. Another tip, if you want thicker yogurt, try stirring in 1/3 cup powdered dry milk when you add your yogurt starter. And last, make sure the milk you're using is not "ultrapasteurized," it makes for runny yogurt.<br><br>
Good luck, and happy yogurt-making!
 

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Ah homemade yogurt! We have the runny yogurt problem too but I don't really want to add in powdered milk. It's one more thing to buy/keep on hand. I don't really mind it though it's odd as I'm so used to seeing it more firm.<br><br>
I'll try letting it incubate for less time as I'd prefer it less tart. DS has stuff mixed into his like frozen blueberries or honey so I doubt he notices.<br><br>
About the oven temp, I bought two TWO oven thermometers and they're all different (from what my oven temp says it is). Kind of makes yogurt making a rather inexact science!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bay Area Babe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15404475"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'll try letting it incubate for less time as I'd prefer it less tart. DS has stuff mixed into his like frozen blueberries or honey so I doubt he notices.</div>
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I always let mine incubate for 24 hours, and it's not that tart. It's also much thicker than if I were to only incubate it 6.<br><br>
For thickness, there are a few things that will affect that - fat content of the milk... the higher the fat content, the thicker the yogurt (if you're using homogenized milk anyway, try using half and half instead); protein content (this is why adding milk powder makes it thicker), and length of incubation - the longer you incubate, the more of the lactose converts and the thicker it becomes. And if you want it really thick, you can always drain the whey off.<br><br>
You could also incubate say a quart or half gallon of milk in one container and a pint of cream in another, and then stir them together after they're done... pouring them together before incubating doesn't work all that well - the cream forms a hard layer on top of the milk and it doesn't stir back in.
 

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Instead of the oven, you might want to try incubating the yogurt in an insulated cooler and some jars of hot water for 6 hours. Its worked really well for me.
 
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