The Yogurt Diaries – Trial 1 and 2

So, we got a yogurt maker for Christmas, and to say that we’ve been having fun with it would be an understatement.  This weekend we’ve gone through two versions of our yogurt recipes, and are still on a mission to perfect it!   I wanted to post our two first trials as a learning from us, some things worked and some things didn’t!  More to come on this topic as we keep practicing.

Trial 1: Good option for Greek Yogurt

Milk: Whole Fat Milk from Top O the Morn Farms

Amount: 1 quart

Add-Ins: None

Cultures: Fage 2% Yogurt, 5 tbsp

Heat Procedure: Bring milk up to 176F, then cool to 104-113F, add cultures, portion and ferment.

Fermentation Time: 10 hours at 108F, with water bath

Result: Not bad!  Yogurt was slightly thin and very light in mouthfeel, but it held together!  Flavor was milky and very pleasant, not overly sour.  Texture was thicker on the bottom with some curdling/grittiness on the very bottom of the container.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next Steps/Learnings:  Because this was our first time making yogurt, the heating and cooling process was not very smooth.  I started cooling the batch without a water bath, which held the higher heat for a while.  I think this may have lead to the grittiness and slight curdling at the bottom of the containers, as the milk may have been overheated.  We learned that a whisk is the best tool for incorporating the Greek style yogurt into the warm milk, stirring alone definitely didn’t work.  Decided to try adding some dry milk powder to the next batch to increase thickness/mouthfeel. 

Notes: We strained this batch through cheesecloth set in a colander in the sink for about three hours.  Made a great Greek yogurt and enjoyed that for breakfast!

Trial 2: Slimy/Stringy Yogurt

Milk: Whole Fat Milk from Trader Joe’s

Amount: 1 quart

Add-Ins: ½ Cup of Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder (Great Value)

Cultures: Trader Joe’s Skyr Yogurt, 5 tbsp

Heat Procedure: Bring milk up to 176F, then cool to 104-113F, add cultures, portion and ferment.

Fermentation Time: 10 hours at 108F, with water bath

Result: If you’re okay with slimy textures, then this is for you!  I’m personally not a fan of this mouthfeel, so I really did not like this batch.  The mouthfeel was definitely thicker than the first batch and had much more body, and the yogurt itself was more tangy than the first batch. 

Rating: 5/10

Next Steps/Learnings:  This time was much smoother in terms of the heating and cooling, and there was no grittiness or curdling at all in this batch.  Would definitely recommend a water bath for faster cooling (I just fill the sink with enough cool water to match the level of milk in the pot, then put the pot in the sink and continue to stir the milk to cool).  Current hypothesis for the stringy/slimy texture is that we added too much non-fat milk powder to this batch, so there was too much protein and milk solids.  It’s possible that the culture that we used could lead to this texture as well.  Next batches will include less non-fat milk powder and starter culture from non-strained yogurt (we’ve been using Greek style cultures) to see if that makes a difference.

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