I've been making my own yogurt for a year now. It has been a fun, tasty, and healty experiment!
How do you control the temperature of the yogurt as it ferments? Did you purchase a yogurt maker? I would like to try making yogurt but don't really need another gadget. Any suggestions on how to control the temperature while it ferments without purchasing a dedicated yogurt maker would be appreciated.
Making yogurt is a VERY low tech and simple affair. You can purchase "silly" expensive kits with 4 or 6 small cups but it is MUCH simpler to do it in larger batches with no special components or equipment.
1. Take a gallon or milk (or any other size you want) and pour it into a pan.
2. Heat on the stove stirring under medium heat until you see it start to steam. Don't boil it or you will curdle the milk. Essentially you are going through a simple version of Pasteurization.
3. Put a top on the pan and let it cool on the stove top or any other surface and let it cool off until it is warm but not hot to the touch.
4. Add a spoon or two of plain yogurt with active cultures and stir it. Keep in mind that over half of the yogurts claiming active cultures recently tested for NO active cultures...... Dannon has worked for me
5. Put the lid back on and put the pot in the oven overnight.
6. The next morning you will have yogurt.
You can then put it in any container(s) you choose and refrigerate it. Add fruit & flavors as desired, on a budget, fruit preservers work fine.
Also, you can experiment with using skim or whole, or adding milk powder to enrich and thicken the mixture.
This never quite turns out as thick as store bought, but you know what is in it and how it was prepared.
You can probably skip half the steps and still succeed, but with the price of milk, who wants a batch that didn't quite turn out.
Thanks Andrew! I will definitely give this a try.
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When you use the oven method, do you have a gas oven or an electric oven? I believe the pilot light in a gas oven keeps the temperature where you want it, but it would be too cold in an electric oven.
I tried the oven method recently and ended up with soupy yogurt. I'm guessing this is because I used a cheap store-brand yogurt for the culture or it didn't stay warm enough overnight or some combination of the two. I plan to buy some Dannon soon to see if that makes a difference. I had pre-warmed my gas oven prior to putting the mixture in it. I also left the light on hoping that would help keep it warmer. I'll let you all know if switching to Dannon makes a difference when I get a chance to do that.
Some people use a thermos (you fill it with hot water for a few minutes, dump out the water and then add your milk+starter), or a heating pad, or a crockpot...
I do have a yogurt maker because with the variations i've been trying I wanted the temp to at least be consistent. I might try the oven method becuase the different cultures ferment at different rates depending on temperature.
If you are using the oven method when the weather is cooler, you can turn or you oven's interior light to add just the right amount of warmth.
I'm interested in the idea of using a crockpot. That seems like a good way to get a constant temperature. Would it be too hot? How long and what setting (mine has low and high).
I think the low setting is still way to hot for yogurt. My slow cooker has a keep warm setting which I have checked and it keeps the temperature at about 140 ºF which I think is still to warm. My recollection is you want about 120 and anything over about 135 will just kill the bugs.
I don't know if they are all this way, but even on low, my two crock pots
would be too hot. They are designed to cook either slow (250 W)or slower
(160 W), but cook nonetheless. Perhaps if you found one at a thrift store
and dedicated it to only to yogurt, you could modify it to operate at a
It's a resistance device, so a suitable voltage divider or solid state
device should work. A lab rheostate might do it, or at these power levels
maybe even a light dimmer switch with a 250 or 300 W capacity. Ramp it down
with water in it and measure the temp in the morning to see if it's 120F or
Hello yogurt enthusiasts,
Lactobacillus feels best between 34-46 degrees C.
In Bulgaria we use an old blanket or sweater to place the container in and cover it as a bundle well, cover more if needed and keep it away from a draught. No incubators or other temperature maintaing equipment necessary. You can start at 46 C, it will cool off in the process. Select a wrap that can hold the temperature for at least 6 hours, although you can have a faster process if using more starter than the ca. 5% I use.
This is how my grandmother did it, how my mother does it when she gets large amounts of fresh farm milk and it always turns well. I had to learn when I first came to the US. As fermentation is a complex process, the product might vary from batch to batch so don' t get discouraged by variation in sourness or texture. It might be runnier than commercial products but the taste will be much fresher.
I use glas containers that are easier to clean well, can be larger as we are big users and cool fast in the fridge. Cooling the yogurt before tasting or putting with jam in containers is important to get a thicker texture (but there are many other factors like the starter that can influence texture).
I have tried various yogurt makers but revert to the sweater method as 1 L is too little for us and noticed temeprature variations at the bottom of the appliance. Some ovens have functions for yoghurt (Kitchen aid ovens seem to have one) I have never tried one.
A coffee filter is easier to scrape off than paper towel if thickening the yoghurt.
Thanks Venetka for reminding me about the sweater method. This is what we did back in Poland! I am going to try it as soon as I am back from the national meeting. We used to drink our yogurts so we did not care so much about thicker consistency!
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Yes, I have been for 20 years or so. I use skim milk now (since 1996). It
is milk and culture. No additives!
Tastes fine. I spruce it up by adding fruits(berries, mango, lychee, etc.)
I haven't tried making my own, but I'm a big fan of the currently popular "Greek-style" yogurts. After having tried these, even the non-fat version, the gelatinous goop that is marketed as regular non-fat yogurt is pretty dreadful by comparison...!
You can "Greekify" regular yogurt pretty easily. Just line a sieve with a couple of paper towels, dump in your yogurt, and hang the sieve over a bowl to drain. Leave it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning, you have nice, thick yogurt.
I don't know if this will help with any of the "soupy" yogurts discussed in this thread, but it works great on Stonyfield yogurt, which is pretty thin.
It's been a long time, but I used to make it in reused small plastic containers, after having sterized them, by simmering the milk until hot, pouring it into the containers, adding the culture, putting a lid on each and placing them all on a heating pad on low with a moist towel over all of it. Done by morning, put them in the fridge.
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