Author Topic: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??  (Read 612 times)

Offline dprato78

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Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« on: April 12, 2017, 03:10:45 PM »
Hello Everyone,

THis was my second attempt at making yogurt and I got a runny, slimy result, it was almost the texture of Elmers Glue.

THis was my method.

I used four cups of whole milk and one cup of half and half. And 1/4 yogurt for a starter.

 I heated to just under 180 and held it there for 25 minutes....when I got to temperatures above 180 it seemed as if the milk was going to scald too much and take on a burnt taste (which is what happened with my first batch, which also didnt set).

I put the pot in the oven with the lid on and the oven light on and let it sit overnight.  I have a feeling the temperature of the pot may have dropped below 112 when incubating.

I assumed the incubation temperature was the problem, but maybe I didnt cook the milk at a high enough temperature??

Whenever I get above 180, the milk starts to smell like it is burning.  Is the addition of half and half in my yogurt making my mixture more prone to burning?

Or is the incubation the problem? 

I got this recipe from a greek cookbook.




Offline 5ittingduck

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2017, 05:14:13 PM »
If you use a double boiler, the milk won't burn on the bottom of the pot.
Just heat the milk, cool to 112f (i use a water bath to help cool it) THEN add the starter.
I use a dehydrator to maintain temp. Another good trick is a sous vide machine in a waterbath. The oven should work ok but you will need to check it stays warm enough.  Not enough time at 112 will prevent setting.

Offline dprato78

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 06:10:33 PM »
If you use a double boiler, the milk won't burn on the bottom of the pot.
Just heat the milk, cool to 112f (i use a water bath to help cool it) THEN add the starter.
I use a dehydrator to maintain temp. Another good trick is a sous vide machine in a waterbath. The oven should work ok but you will need to check it stays warm enough.  Not enough time at 112 will prevent setting.

THank you!  I will try using the double boiler next time.....and some kind of incubator that will maintain 112.

Offline awakephd

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 07:26:04 PM »
It sounds like you added the yogurt to the milk and then heated to 180°? If so, you killed the bacteria in the yogurt. You should heat your milk + half & half to 180° and hold, and you will need to stir pretty much constantly or else it will scorch on the bottom. Then put the pot into a sink of cool water and cool it down to 120°. THEN add the yogurt, and then, if possible, hold it at 115-120° for 8-10 hours.

Unless you have a pilot light in your oven, it is likely it will not stay warm enough. Another option would be to wrap the pot in a heating pad. Best of all would be to use a yogurt maker -- you can get them quite inexpensively, and even a very basic one will work. And a hint - I have made 1 gallon of yogurt at a time using a basic yogurt maker, even though it was designed to make six cups of yogurt. I found a glass jar that fit, cover the whole thing in two or three towels, and voila!

More recently I've made yogurt in my InstaPot, which has settings for heating the milk to 180° and then for holding at 110-120° for however long you set it for.
-- Andy

Offline dprato78

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 10:29:26 PM »
It sounds like you added the yogurt to the milk and then heated to 180°? If so, you killed the bacteria in the yogurt. You should heat your milk + half & half to 180° and hold, and you will need to stir pretty much constantly or else it will scorch on the bottom. Then put the pot into a sink of cool water and cool it down to 120°. THEN add the yogurt, and then, if possible, hold it at 115-120° for 8-10 hours.

Unless you have a pilot light in your oven, it is likely it will not stay warm enough. Another option would be to wrap the pot in a heating pad. Best of all would be to use a yogurt maker -- you can get them quite inexpensively, and even a very basic one will work. And a hint - I have made 1 gallon of yogurt at a time using a basic yogurt maker, even though it was designed to make six cups of yogurt. I found a glass jar that fit, cover the whole thing in two or three towels, and voila!

More recently I've made yogurt in my InstaPot, which has settings for heating the milk to 180° and then for holding at 110-120° for however long you set it for.

Thanks for the help!

I did add the yogurt after cooling the milk, even though in my initial description the way I wrote it seems as if i added the starter too early.  I cooled it to 112, added the yogurt starter, put it in the oven.....and I got slimed!  :).....I am going to look into getting a yogurt maker because I think it was too cold in the house to incubate correctly.

Thanks again

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 12:53:14 AM »
Some yogurt cultures produce 'slimy' yogurt but not at all runny. Some (me) actually prefer yogurt with a little slime in it to prevent it breaking or separating and giving the yogurt creamy consistency even without straining.
Maybe the runny texture was due to weak starter? Or low ripening temp.
Ann

Offline lovinglife

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2017, 08:29:18 AM »
Could have been several things, your starter not good, not keeping it warm enough, contamination.  I tend to think you didn't keep the temperature warm enough for the full 8 hours.
Loving life on our micro farm where we try to be as sustainable as possible.

Offline awakephd

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 08:30:50 AM »
FWIW, here's what I have - and it's even on sale at the moment! https://www.amazon.com/Euro-Cuisine-YM80-Yogurt-Maker/dp/B000EX16RY/ref=sr_1_4?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1492089642&sr=1-4&keywords=yogurt+maker. Note that simple is better - no fancy timers or other such is needed.

As I said, this is designed only to make 6 individual servings ... but I found that I could use it with one of these: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Anchor-Hocking-Heritage-Hill-1-Gal-Jar-with-Lid/16486706

In terms of yogurt to use as starter, my favorite by far is Fage Greek Yogurt, (regular, not fat-free). I've certainly had success with other brands, but the Fage gives me the best combination of flavor and texture, at least for my tastes.

The glass jar shown above fits into the "well" of the yogurt maker. So you can heat up the milk, cool it, and transfer it to the glass jar. Put the jar in the yogurt maker, with the lid, and then drape 3-4 kitchen towels over it to contain the warmth. Works like a charm!

One other thing - I have found that I get much better results if i move the yogurt straight from the incubation to the fridge and let it cool thoroughly. I don't know why, but if I stir it or overly disturb it before cooling, it never thickens properly.
-- Andy

Offline Bernardsmith

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2017, 02:37:08 PM »
Do you have a thermos flask? I make my yogurt in a flask and it maintains the heat pretty much of the temperature at which I fill the thermos. No single use devices. No unnecessarily expensive containers. No need to consume energy for hours. A vacuum flask works well enough to insulate the the contents from the ambient temperatures in the room. .

Offline 5ittingduck

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 11:22:53 PM »
So from watching the thread, it seems most of you are making a batch of yoghurt in a larger container, letting it set, then using it from the large batch or stirring it and using it?
I always thought this compromised the structure and caused whey to form.  I have always made a large batch (usually 5 litres) and immediately after inoculation placed it in sterilized jars (about 400mls each usually) and incubated this.
I end up with a dozed jars of nice firm "Pot set" yoghurt which lasts in the fridge for many weeks (slowly acidifying over time) and I only stir it when I get it out of the jar.
Am I doing this wrong?

Offline awakephd

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Re: Runny yogurt....what did I do wrong??
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2017, 05:57:26 PM »
Let me clarify what I do. When I finish incubating a 1 gallon batch, I first cool it completely in the fridge. Any stirring or excess agitation before it is completely cool seems to mess up the structure. One cool, though, it is a nice big pot of very firm yogurt (especially if made with whole milk and/or added cream).

At this point, sometimes I will scoop the entire cooled-and-set-up gallon out into a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and let it sit for a few hours. This creates so-called Greek yogurt - which as you probably know is just yogurt with some of the whey strained out.

However, often I just eat it by scooping out what I want from my gallon container into a cup. If I leave a depression in the process, that will allow some whey to collect in the depression ... which, the next time I get yogurt, I ladle off before scooping out my next helping ... and then repeat as needed. This means that gradually I'm moving from plain yogurt to more of a Greek yogurt as the gallon dwindles.

Note that I NEVER stir the yogurt in the gallon jar. I only stir the yogurt that I have scooped out to eat.

The main thing for me is not having to mess with the individual small containers and their lids - just one big container.
-- Andy