Failing at yogurt

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Josef

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First batch, water bath to 195, cool down to 110. I made a half gallon in quart jars with a tub of yogurt from the store and my dehydrator set on yogurt for 12 hours. Turns out, "yogurt" is about 135 degrees. Turned out perfect. I saved a bunch of ice cubes of the yogurt.

Next batch, 1 ice cube per quart jar. 12 hours and fail. Realized "yogurt" was 135 and lowered it to a 110 setting. Added another cube to each and 12 more hours. Success.

Next batch, I used a powder starter in a quart. Success.

Drained and used the whey for the next batch, 12 hours, fail. I added another 1/2 cup whey per quart and 4 more hours. Fail.
Boiled that for 10 minutes to see if it made ricotta, waiting to cool.

So there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the fails. Or the successes. Looks like I can count on a commercial product, but not on mine for starter.

EDIT: The quart of boiled sour milk resulted in 1/4 cup of watery super sour yogurt and one piece of ricotta I felt as I was slurping it. Now I still have a quart of super sour milk in the fridge. Is it buttermilk??
 
Howdy Josef. I am new here too and haven't made any yogurt yet, but want to. I am sorry I cannot help you, but was reading your post trying to learn about the challenges of yogurt making. Anyway, welcome to the forum from a texas member and best wishes for successful yogurt batches.
 
Unfortunately, there's no help here. I wound up going to culturesforhealth.com where I get my cultures from and emailed them for a pretty quick response.
 
I don’t know very much about making yogurt, but I have made a few attempts at mozzarella and ricotta. They didn’t turn out wonderfully but the literature stressed to not use highly pasteurized milk. I don’t know if that advice applies to yogurt as well.
 
Could I make a suggestion? I called my wife who is in China on business. She is the yogurt and rice wine maker of the family. She said the first time you use your own yogurt to culture, use more than usual. For example she normally uses about a 1/6th volume of her yogurt (to 5/6 milk) to start a fresh Batch. But the first couple times she says use more (1/3rd to 1/2). If the results are good , cut back a little each time until you hit that sweet spot (minimum amount to start a good batch). She said to please let us know how it works out.
 
First batch, water bath to 195, cool down to 110. I made a half gallon in quart jars with a tub of yogurt from the store and my dehydrator set on yogurt for 12 hours. Turns out, "yogurt" is about 135 degrees. Turned out perfect. I saved a bunch of ice cubes of the yogurt.

Success: 1
Fail: 0

Store bought yogurt as starter.

Next batch, 1 ice cube per quart jar. 12 hours and fail. Realized "yogurt" was 135 and lowered it to a 110 setting. Added another cube to each and 12 more hours. Success.

Generation two of store bought starter worked after lowering incubation temperature. Looks like you used the same source to inoculate the same batch that had just been too warm. Not counting this as a fail.

Success: 1 2
Fail: 1 0

Next batch, I used a powder starter in a quart. Success.

Generation one of powdered yogurt starter

Success: 3
Fail: 0

Drained and used the whey for the next batch, 12 hours, fail. I added another 1/2 cup whey per quart and 4 more hours. Fail.

Generation two of powdered yogurt starter

Success: 3
Fail: 1

So there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the fails. Or the successes. Looks like I can count on a commercial product, but not on mine for starter.

Looks like you found a rhyme/reason.

I have a friend who tried some powdered yogurt culture after years of using grocery store yogurt with active cultures, and freezing it in ice cube trays just like you. He also had trouble getting his special culture to last for a second generation.

Unless I'm missing something, which is entirely likely, I think this was a problem with your powdered culture.
 
I've had success to the 3rd generation originating with either a packaged culture or utilizing a store bought yoghurt with live/active culture

I use the Yoghurt feature settings on my InstaPot for initial scalding of the whole milk, and then incubation of the culture in the scalded whole milk. always had success when incubating anywhere from 8 hours up to slightly over 20 hours. A couple notes from my experiences:

- I typically follow directions and quantities on a 1st gen packaged culture for quantity per gallon of whole milk. Different cultures I've used have had slightly different directions for how much culture to use and how long to incubate it for

- when making a gen 2 or gen 3, or when using a store bought yoghurt with active culture, I typically use 2T of live yoghurt gently mixed into 1C of scalded milk pulled from the incubator (in my case, an InstaPot). I mix this gently and thoroughly until there's no discernable lumps and then gently fold into the main incubation pot. once folded in I mix gently with a whisk doing my best not to introduce extra air

- I'll use 30-50% extra gen 2, gen 3, or live yoghurt when I want a batch that will be firmer and milder tasting. milder tasting usually also means less incubation time, ranging somewhere in the 8-10 hour range for my process.

- when I want firmer and more robust flavor, I use the regular culture mix and incubate for a longer time somewhere in the 14-20 range depending on the culture being used for the batch of yoghurt

- if I hit the desired flavor profile before I get to the desired firmness, I'll use cheesecloth in a colander and weep of excess moisture until the desired firmness is achieved. this weeping could take up to 12 hours if I want a really firm Greek style yoghurt and my culture wasn't as active as I'd planned it to be


my InstaPot is a great size for making 1/2G and 1G batches with little hands-on during the scalding or incubation steps. homemade Greek style yoghurt is far better than anything I can get in the store, and is a staple for breakfast and dessert (with a big spoon of homemade jam or blackberry infused Merlot wine sauce!) here at our place.


I'll do my best to answer questions if it's something I've experienced and/or worked thru.

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Yep, you were having difficulty making yogurt with the second generation of powdered starter.
It's a possibility. I contacted the starter company and they said that it was likely because I used the whey instead of yogurt as a starter. Not sure I go for that answer either as I can't imagine the bacteria levels in the whey is so much lower than in the yogurt. I have yet to try a 2nd gen with yogurt from culture, which is my next batch, soon as I use up the current gallon I made (in ice cream).
 
My little maker runs around 110. I've always had luck "reusing" a little of what I made.

I am not saying your temps are too high but it makes me curious if somehow what you made ends up going beyond "making" and venturing into "sterilizing"?

Just a thought, I truly have no idea.
 
It's a possibility. I contacted the starter company and they said that it was likely because I used the whey instead of yogurt as a starter. Not sure I go for that answer either as I can't imagine the bacteria levels in the whey is so much lower than in the yogurt. I have yet to try a 2nd gen with yogurt from culture, which is my next batch, soon as I use up the current gallon I made (in ice cream).

https://littleconkers.co.uk/leftove... the whey,only for starting drinking yoghurts.

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