I just CAN NOT get yogurt to set! - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 07/20/10, 07:15 AM
 
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I just CAN NOT get yogurt to set!

I've tried using the plain Dannon yogurt for a starter and now I bought one of the youghurt dried culture packs & followed the directions exactly (heat milk to 180 degrees, cool milk to 112, add starter, incubate for at least 5 hours).

I even let it sit in the cooler overnight (12 hours) and I still get runny yogurt. Not like runny stuff you get in the store, but like runny just barely thicker than milk. It TASTES like yogurt, but what the heak am I doing wrong???

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  #2  
Old 07/20/10, 08:18 AM
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You can always strain it and make something more like a Greek yogurt product.
What's sold in most stores has added thickeners .

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  #3  
Old 07/20/10, 08:38 AM
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I think 112 is too hot. I try more for 100 or so. My homemade yogurt is always more runny than store bought. It also might not be staying consistantly warm in the cooler. Wrap it in towels. I let mine sit for a LONG time - over night usually.

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  #4  
Old 07/20/10, 08:47 AM
 
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To strain it.
Place a clean cotton tea towel over a large bowl, pour the yogurt into it, tie up the corners and sides with some twine and hang over the bowl or over the sink for an hour. Then spoon the thickened yogurt into containers to refrigerate.
The longer you leave it strain, the thicker it will get.

Mix in sugar and vanilla, it reminds me of cheese cake.
Mix in salt and herbs, it makes a wonderful spread or dip.

I use 1/4 cup dannon plain yogurt to start it, to a 1/2 gallon milk, heat milk to boiling, let cool to 100 degrees, whisk in the yogurt, leave overnight in the gas oven with pilot light.

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  #5  
Old 07/20/10, 08:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynRenee View Post
I've tried using the plain Dannon yogurt for a starter and now I bought one of the youghurt dried culture packs & followed the directions exactly (heat milk to 180 degrees, cool milk to 112, add starter, incubate for at least 5 hours).

I even let it sit in the cooler overnight (12 hours) and I still get runny yogurt. Not like runny stuff you get in the store, but like runny just barely thicker than milk. It TASTES like yogurt, but what the heak am I doing wrong???

Try adding some powdered dry milk and if you're not a yogurt purist try adding an envelope of unflavored gelatin. I do this while the milk is hot.
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  #6  
Old 07/20/10, 09:56 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: the flat land of Illinois
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are you using cow or goat milk?

goat milk is always runnier..... absolutely always.

Seconding the advice to try cooling to 100 degrees.

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  #7  
Old 07/20/10, 10:26 AM
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Are you sterilizing your jars? The only time I had yogurt not set up was when I didn't have enough jars and took a few clean ones, rinced them well and filled them up. The others in the batch set just fine, but the two in the non-sterilized jars were runny. They tasted just fine but were not thick.

Before I start heating up the milk, I put my jars in my pressure canner with a few inches of water and then I bring it to a boil (I leave the weight off). I boil for ten minutes and then turn it off and leave it alone until I am ready to fill the jars. Mine is a 21 qt so I'll put 7 quart jars in the bottom and put on the second ring and lay 3 more on top, with a pint (for next batch starter) in the middle, then add all my plastic lids. It does all fit under the lid.

Here is a picture with the canner filled and ready to have the lid put on. I do not "Lock" the lid like I would if I was actually canning.



I usually make 2 gallons at a time.



Cathy

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Last edited by Macybaby; 07/20/10 at 10:45 AM.
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  #8  
Old 07/20/10, 11:05 AM
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I use the Yogotherm Yogurt Maker. It is about $40. at the New England Cheese Making Co. It is basically a heavily insulated container that keeps the milk at the optimum temp. while making yogurt. I have uniform results almost every time using it.

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  #9  
Old 07/20/10, 11:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macybaby View Post
Are you sterilizing your jars? The only time I had yogurt not set up was when I didn't have enough jars and took a few clean ones, rinced them well and filled them up. The others in the batch set just fine, but the two in the non-sterilized jars were runny. They tasted just fine but were not thick.

Before I start heating up the milk, I put my jars in my pressure canner with a few inches of water and then I bring it to a boil (I leave the weight off). I boil for ten minutes and then turn it off and leave it alone until I am ready to fill the jars. Mine is a 21 qt so I'll put 7 quart jars in the bottom and put on the second ring and lay 3 more on top, with a pint (for next batch starter) in the middle, then add all my plastic lids. It does all fit under the lid.

Here is a picture with the canner filled and ready to have the lid put on. I do not "Lock" the lid like I would if I was actually canning.



I usually make 2 gallons at a time.



Cathy
Entirely off topic, but where did you get the burner your canner is on and what brand/model is it?
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  #10  
Old 07/20/10, 11:23 AM
 
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I've been using a small cooler & have the temp of the water in the cooler at 112 degrees (maybe I'll try 100 degrees like suggested).

Yes, it's goat's milk.

I do sterilize the jars, but now that I think of it, this one was in the pantry cubbord for a few days so something funky could have got into it.

I've strained my yogurt, usually every time, because it's never thick enough. I'd even be happy with "store bought" thickness, but it doesn't even come close to that. I LOVE the greek style yogurt though & would like to aim for that, but know that if I wanted it that way, I'd definately have to strain.

I'll strain this batch (was only one quart), but I'll probably only get a 1/2 cup out of it.

Thanks for the posts, will try everyone's recommendations & try again tonight!

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  #11  
Old 07/20/10, 12:27 PM
 
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I have NEVER sterilized jars and never had a problem with milk that I brought to temp.

I have had varied results with using warm from the cow or goat milk that I never brought to temp - just used it as is. Sometimes that works and sometimes it does not.

I don't think it is possible to get 'store bought thick' from goat milk without thickeners. I've come to love the texture of goat milk yogurt - very elegantly silky - and yes, it will always run from the spoon.

Mixed milk yogurt is the best imo - 1/2 cow and 1/2 goat. You might try it - you'll definitely get a thicker body to it.

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  #12  
Old 07/20/10, 12:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cathleenc View Post
Mixed milk yogurt is the best imo - 1/2 cow and 1/2 goat. You might try it - you'll definitely get a thicker body to it.
What a great excuse to finally get that Jersey I've been thinking about!
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  #13  
Old 07/20/10, 12:41 PM
 
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I let the yogurt strain, although not as long to get it as thick as I normally like it. So I'm now eating vanilla flavored yogurt.

Next question is.....

Can I use the drippings from straining the yogurt as a starter? Is there still enough culture in the drips for it?

I'm going to probably try it anyhow, but was wondering if anyone tried using it like that.

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  #14  
Old 07/20/10, 01:11 PM
 
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If I were to guess I'd say yes there is enough culture in the drippings to work, but, why add more clear liquid to an already thin yogurt? It will just be thinner than you like it again. Try using a yogurt culture (dannon or plain or dried cultures) and a richer milk, adding milk powder, whole milk, or cow's milk mixed in?

Glad you tried straining it, hope it works out for you.

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  #15  
Old 07/20/10, 03:18 PM
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I use Stonyfield Farms plain yogurt as a starter with great success. There are several ways to incubate yogurt - in the oven overnight with the light on, in jars placed in a cooler of warm water, in a crockpot. You could add a pack of unflavored gelatin or some powdered milk for thickener. You can strain the liquid of through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. There is a recipe for crockpot yogurt on my blog that works for me linked below. It is listed under cultured milk recipes. Also don't use ultr-pasteurized milk.

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  #16  
Old 07/20/10, 04:44 PM
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I think sterilization is sort of like dealing with sour dough. Every home is a bit different and different locals have different natural "stuff" in the air, so what one person ends up can be way different than another.

I can get a real good batch of sour dough starter going here in SD, but could not get much of anything going at my home when I lived in MN - so maybe I've just got some naturally occuring "stuff" that interferes with the yogurt bacteria. I did read up on it, and it's a rather delicate bacteria and does not take much to interfere with it.

Actually it's two different types, the second (what makes it thicken) actually takes off when the acidic level gets to the point that the first type dies off (it poisions itself in it's own excrement) the second type stays dormant until the acid level rises.

I was also just reading on Joe Pastry site - he says the culture will die if much over 125 and growth will slow way down at temps under 105. He does not recomend sterilizing jars - but the other sites I've seen do. I'd be glad to find it did not matter, but for me it does seem too. I have not got brave enough to only heat the milk to 120 and add the starter instead of heating it up and cooling it back down.

I don't have a source of fresh milk so I use 1% from the store.

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  #17  
Old 07/20/10, 05:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highlandview View Post
There is a recipe for crockpot yogurt on my blog that works for me linked below. It is listed under cultured milk recipes. Also don't use ultr-pasteurized milk.
Going to check out your yogurt blog next, thanks!

I'm using raw goat milk from my Saanen goats.

Is there a reason that you have to heat it to 180 degrees before cooling it down again? Is it to pasteurize it first?
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  #18  
Old 07/20/10, 08:10 PM
 
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there is some technical reason about how at 180 degrees the protein strands change in milk? something like that but please, do not send the 'wrong info' police after me. I read it here on the dairy board, I swear I did, and it drastically changed my goat yogurt results 2 years ago from negligible to absolutely reliable.

umm, the jersey is a great idea. Our jersey milk yogurt is so thick it stands up in the spoon - not strained, not thickened, just natural yogurt. I love my goats but well... they are leaving the farm this month and the jersey is staying. Long live the queen!

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  #19  
Old 07/21/10, 10:31 AM
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The milk I'm using is already pasturized, so that is why I'm not sure if I need to repasturize it to kill anything that might have gotten in there in between.

I don't think I would skip that step if I was using raw milk.

I hope someday to have a milk cow, but we have to find homes for our three pasture pet horses first - and that is not easy right now. I know those knuckle heads would run cows, and setting up an maintaining two pastures is more work and cost than I want to deal with at this time.

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  #20  
Old 07/22/10, 06:39 AM
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Yes there is something scientific about 180 degrees. i actually keep mine at 180 for 15 mins. It bonds the proteins. It does make for a thicker yogurt.

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