I have made my own yogurt for many years however its now failing - consistently, I have tried different yogurt brands as starters and different dairy milk brands. Am wondering whether milk processing or commercial yogurt cultures have changed? Has anyone had this experience?
Hi @mds, welcome to the community.
When we made our own yoghurt at home, we steered clear of the premade/ready to eat supermarket yoghurts as a starter culture. We tried an expensive pot set yoghurt once (mainly due to a number of different strains in the bought yoghurt) but it didn’t set nor thicken properly.
We instead used either a plain Easiyo or Hansells powdered yoghurt as the starter mixed with milk. From memory, and to to reinvigorate a starter culture, we added about a tablespoon of the powder from time to time.
We had friends that bought dried culture in bulk online and they always talked highly of it use.
Also, making yoghurt is temperature dependent and in the cooler months the likelihood of a failure increases unless one can keep the mixture warm.
We also found using UHT milk, the resulting yoghurt wasn’t as thick as using fresh milk. We tended to use UHT milk as it is sterile at the start if the process and less likely to result in a yoghurt which is off. We did add skim/full milk powder at times to UHT milk to make a thicker yoghurt.
Hope this helps.
I can’t think of any reason why they would. Milk has its fashions to differentiate particular products (skim, A2, supplemented yada yada) but if you are sticking to standard full cream I would expect the content to be very consistent, even across brands. Commercial yogurt has much more processing and the hands of marketeers on it so it will be more variable.
I use a yoghurt culture from the cheese makers. Fresh milk should be heated to 90 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, then cooled to between 37 and 43 degrees C before adding the culture. UHT milk has already been heat treated, so you can skip this step, which is what I prefer.
Adding 1/3 cup of milk powder and/or 2 to 3 drops of Calcium Chloride per litre gets a thicker Greek style yoghurt. The amount of yoghurt culture is very tiny; I pick it up with tweezers. I am very low-tech and use a foam box, towels, dish of hot water and moistened towels heated in the microwave to maintain temperature for 8 hours, checking every hour with a thermometer and adjusting the warmth.
My mother stopped using commercial yoghurt as a starter as she contended that they killed off some strains to stop them multiplying and either making the product thicker, separating or going sour. Product control.
I have not changed any of my processes which have worked for many years - over different seasons. Have used different yogurt and milk brands, including buttermilk and different temperature implements. Has any one made their own very recently using yogurt as a starter?
Choice has covered yoghurts in the past as well. The section on probiotics may be of interest…
If a bought yoghurt doesn’t have a healthy population of live culture, then it will be challenging to use the bought yoghurt as a starter.
Another option for a starter is to take from the previous yoghurt you have made…use it to start the next. We did this but used dried powder from time to time to maintain culture populations.
We buy yoghurts that are on sale, and supplement with home made Easiyo (we buy multiple packets when it is on sale) using the Easiyo container & pot.
The Easiyo yoghurt always turns out fine.
I agree with
I’ve been making my own yoghurt for many years, and have never used commercial yoghurt as a starter, always using yoghurt culture and ABC probiotics I keep in the freezer. I did experiment with using a previous batch as a starter, but that only works for one or 2 iterations, as the culture mutates, or perhaps the ratios of the various cultures changes, and the results are not as good.
These days I always use Devondale UHT milk, which means no need to heat to 90C, and after years of a home made heating arrangement to maintain 40C, I have been using a commercial yoghurt maker for heating in recent years. In summer when it is near 40C in the house I leave it turned off during the day, as it does get a bit too warm for the culture to survive.
As used by Zackarii, I also use half a teaspoon of CaCl2 and a cup of powdered milk for my 2 litre batches.
After breaking the set with a spoon, liquid accumulates, which I pour off as needed- Holly the kelpie loves it