Monday, February 12, 2018

Trouble shooting homemade yogurt

So, you want to make homemade yogurt, but it seems too daunting. Needing to stick to a rigid temperature schedule or all is lost, gives you heartburn. Maybe you're worried you'll give your family botulism. Or at the very least, you fear everyone who tries it will get food poisoning.

Take it from me, it'll be okay.

homemade yogurt troubleshoot
After the first time, it's easy. Not sitting on the front porch drinking a lemonade, easy. But, sitting on the front porch eating an ice cream cone that you have to lick from time to time because it's hot out, easy. But dang, the ice cream (yogurt) tastes so good, it's worth it.

I've had a time or two when it didn't work out or when I looked at it and thought... umm... I dunno, I'm just going to toss it. But, I think that comes with the fermenting territory. Go with your instincts. That one time I thought the yogurt had a pink-ish tinge to it, it probably didn't. It probably would've been fine to eat, but I'm not willing to risk it for the sake of a gallon of milk.

Then there was the time it didn't thicken, AT ALL. Who knows what went wrong. Too much starter. Too little starter. The milk didn't get hot enough, in the first place. Maybe I didn't cool it enough before adding the starter.

The point is, I've had two maybe three times where I wasted my milk and my time. That's it. And everyone who's eaten my yogurt is still alive. And now I can basically make a batch in my sleep.

It's worth it to me to know exactly what's in my yogurt, milk and starter yogurt. That means no preservatives, no thickeners, and no sugar. And no yogurt tastes as good as my yogurt.

The picture above is my most recent batch just after fermentation. See how thick it is. That's before any straining. That spoon wasn't going anywhere. I wanted to share my experience here because I made several, we'll call them, mistakes in its making.

I didn't let the milk get up to 180 F. It made it to 178 and change F. That was after I selected the yogurt/boil function on my Instant Pot and then let it slow cook low pressure for another 30 minutes. I wasn't about to wait any longer.

It cooled to under 110 F. Which is a little cooler than normal, because I wasn't exactly Johnny on the spot with my thermometer.

I did use exactly 4 Tbl. of starter. So that I got right.

But, I let it go for about 11 hours, instead of ten.

All this just goes to show, I made the perfect pot of thick, tangy homemade yogurt with an imperfect process.

If you're trying the Mediterranean diet, or just want to ditch the sugars in too many commercial yogurt brands, give homemade yogurt a try with this recipe and tutorial. You won't go back to store bought.

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