- Get milk. – I’m using 1 cup of 2% (no powdered milk).
- Get a starter. – I have tried Dannon Oikos plain greek yogurt (made with whole milk), and Yoplait Very Vanilla, and some other brand of plain greek yogurt. The “other brand” yogurt was at least a couple weeks in the fridge before I tried using it for starter.
- Heat the milk to 175-180°F ( instead of 190°F).
- Cool the milk at to between 40°C (110-120°F).
- Mix in the starter. (I used ¼ tsp for 1 c milk.)
- Keep the mix warm for 6-10 hours. – For the heat source I used a crock pot on “keep warm” with 2-3” water. The milk/starter was loosely covered in a class measuring cup. I monitored the temp with a thermometer and kept it around 110°F. (It probably varied from say 105-115° as I tried to keep the temp 110°)
- Strain your yogurt. – The one batch that solidified, I successfully strained with a coffee filter. My problem is just getting to this point.
The first time I made it, I heated my oven to 170°F (as low as it goes) and then turned it off. I wrapped the still warm milk/starter (in a glass bowl) in towels in an oven that had been heated to 170°F and then turned off. I used the “Very Vanilla” starter and in the morning it was still milk, so I added some plain greek yogurt and transferred it to a crock pot on keep warm, with the crock pot lid on and a towel over the lid. After several more hours it had solidified but was beige colored. At that point, a temp check revealed it was 170°F. Oops. After straining it, the texture resembled ricotta cheese. It smelled nutty and delicious, but didn’t taste nutty or delicious. I think it was getting all that smell from the whey. The taste was not unpleasant, but not pleasant either, and definitely not tart like yogurt.
The second/third times I made it, I just used plain greek yogurt starter. Incubated in a crock pot with a water batch for 8-10 hours. The result was milk. When I poured out the milk I could see some solids (what looked like the starter) at the bottom.
So now I’m wondering what went wrong. Several questions come to mind:
- Is my starter too old? If so, how do I get fresh yogurt?
- Am I using enough starter?
- Am I getting the milk hot enough in step 3?
- Am I keeping the milk too hot/cold during incubation?
- Does the humidity from the water bath help/hurt my chances of producing yogurt?
Can anyone offer some guidance? I have a hunch that the starter is too old since I don’t really know how old yogurt is when I buy it from the store. But I also don’t know how to do any better than buying it from the store and making yogurt right away.
There are so many variables I’m not sure of that I just thought it would be good to get some advice before proceeding.