I wonder if using an "Asian style" yogurt instead would produce a different tasting result. Red Mango, for instance, apparently contains a slightly different mix of organisms, specifically thermophilus, bulgaricus, lactis and acidophilus (I'm no yogurt expert, but those last two are different than bifidobacterium, right?). So are those bacteria what gives that yogurt it's peculiar taste?
Speaking of asian yogurts, I'm currently in Japan where it's next to impossible to find unsweetened, unflavoured yogurt--even if it says "plain" on it. Will that still work for making the starter batch or will the sugar and other crap interfere with the process?
Do you ever have issues with the milk sticking to the pan by heating it that hot?
How about a little love for non dairy yogurts? A quick search for a cookbook produced by The Farm ought to show you a simple soy milk yogurt.
Yes, the sour flavour comes from the bacteria - similarly to sauerkraut or sourdough bread. I wasn't aware of Asian style yogurt as I haven't really travelled in that part of the world. Sounds interesting - I would say give it a shot and the worst that can happen is just losing a pan of milk!
I would think sugar/chemicals may interfere but the milk contained in any yogurt starter contains natural milk sugars so you may be ok. Would be cool to try it out as if it did work you would end up with your own starter that didn't have all the crap in it. If it doesn't work then you can buy starters online that can come in a powder form and contain the bacteria
If the milk doesn't reach 95 exactly that's ok - 90c would prob be fine. I do stir it periodically, but you normally end up with a bit of solid residue around the pan - not burned just stuck on. I soak it or clean it off with a scourer straight away so it's not too bad to clear up. A friend of mine heats hers in the microwave which apparently avoids the solid residue stuck to container. I prefer to be able to see the milk and monitor temperature constantly so use a saucepan
Not a bacteriologist, but a quick web search seems to suggest that that the Lactobacillus eat all sugars, not just lactose.
I've made yoghurt before, but I've always used a double boiler for it (a ghetto double boiler, a smaller pot inside a bigger pot with water in it).
And my thermometer of choice was a infrared non-contact thermometer.
The double boiler sounds like a pretty good idea. I would love a non contact thermometer! Wish I could justify the expense. Do you find that the milk surface is reflective of the temperature inside the pan? Or do you give it a good stir before taking a reading to even out the temperature?
Sounds like it's definitely worth a try then - thanks for the info Stuart
Sounds good thanks for the tip off! A few friends of mine can't eat dairy so I might try that for next time they come over. I want to try making some of my own nut milks as well, and horchata. For my own yogurt I normally use jersey milk as I can eat dairy and I have a toddler so it's good for her, but I am always open to new variations.
Here's a page describing the book with non dairy yogurt:
I used to make yogurt and was just looking at the recipe book the other day. While I always made it plain, it turns out this cookbook states you can mix jams, honey, etc. into the batch at the beginning of the process if you want. This suggests a "plain" (and yet still sweetened) yogurt would be fine as a starter.
A few years ago I saw a post (probably on boingboing) about how easy it was to make your own yogurt. So I started making my own yogurt. Its great when mixed with my breakfast cereal instead of milk.
When I started I found this post on chowhound about making a thick "Fage" style yogurt. I had never heard of Fage but it sounded neat so away I went.
Over time, I've gotten lazy.
I no longer temper or boil the milk (as in Canada milk is pasteurized before we get it), and I don't use a double boiler anymore either. It just takes too long.
I did invest in a nice glass Tupperware bowl with a airtight lid, as i was tired of using an old plastic yogurt bucket.
I use my oven as a overnight incubator to keep the temperature in the right range. I changed the interior light for a 75w halogen center bulb (because they don't sell 100w incandescent anymore here), and that keeps the yogurt in the right temperature range. Although, after reading this article, i might turn the light off in the morning and let it cool down slowly in the oven so that the secondary microorganisms have a longer window to re-produce.
anyways: here's the short recipe, scale as needed, our family goes through a lot of yogurt.
2 litres whole milk,
3 cups skim milk powder
1/2 cup yogurt for starter.
- In a large pot, whisk together 2 liters whole milk and 3 cups skim milk powder
- Heat on medium, (stirring often) to about 120f or 50c
- the more you stir, the less you have to scrub the pot afterwards. if you are brave, put the burner on high and stir like mad.
- keep a close eye on the temperature with whatever thermometer you use.
Once you reach 120f/50c take the pot off the heat and immediately pour the hot milk into your yogurt container.
Using a large measuring cup or similar, scoop off a cup or two of
the milk and mix it with 1/2 cup of yogurt or 1 package powdered yogurt
- You mix in the small container first to properly liquifty the starter yogurt, which helps to make sure the starter gets thoroughly mixed with the milk.
Mix that cup or so of yogurt starter milk back into the larger container, put the whole thing in the oven, and turn on the oven light.
Let it sit overnight, then in the morning, turn off the oven light
and set the timer for an hour or two. (if you forget the yogurt in
the oven all day, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.)
Put in fridge.
Make sure to save the last 1/2 cup of yogurt to use to start your next batch.
- it doesn't matter if you use sweetened yogurt as starter. It'll yogurt up just fine, however it will slightly affect the taste of your first batch (mmmm slightly strawberry....).
- if you scoop your way down the side of the container (like you might chase a vein of marble or butterscotch in the ice cream of that name) a bunch of the whey will pool in the depression. Stir it back in if you want, or drain it off and use it for whatever
They're not that expensive anymore. About $17. And they have laser sights. How can you say no to that?
Readings were about right, but that might be thrown if you aren't using a double boiler (because the whole point of a double boiler is to even out your heat).
Honestly, once I realised just how tolerant of inaccuracy yoghurt making is I got a lot less fussy.
I started out making it with milk and boiling it properly, then I stopped boiling it because the milk was pasteurised, then I started adding skim milk powder to the milk, then I just stopped using milk and just used the powder (mixed obviously). All the yoghurt made was perfectly acceptable - so why be finicky if you get the same result with less care?
I use a candy thermometer and a thermos. Once the milk is at the right temp and you've stirred in the starter, bung it into the thermos, cap it, and let it sit for about six hours.
Commercial whole milk sometimes contains drugs to keep it fresh longer. If your first attempt fails, try again using powdered milk, or milk from some other source.
Since you only want certain strains of lactobacilli you should use a commercial starter, or yogurt made from a commercial starter. Store bought yogurt usually does not contain the strains you want because they don't have the sweet taste.
The extra sweetener and flavoring in your Japanese yogurt won't be a problem; it's not going to kill anything or spoil in that amount of time. As long as your starter yogurt has active cultures in it, it'll work (though as somebody else commented, different sets of bacterial will have slightly different effects on how the yogurt turns out.) If you'd be willing to eat the yogurt you buy from the store (as opposed to, say, durian yogurt :-), you'll do fine.
And there's no point in using raw milk for yogurt if you're going to start by heating it to 95C to kill off the existing bacteria, since the point of raw milk is that it hasn't been heated to kill off the existing bacteria.