Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Making Yogurt

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03-09-2008, 10:43 PM
I love Fage yogurt! get it I have to travel 90 miles round trip and it cost $4.69 a carton. So, after reading articles and asking people in some of my cooking groups about making yogurt, I decided that I could do this. I bought a one quart yogurt machine for around $16.00 and made my first batch last night.

I used 2% milk, 1/2 c. of dried milk, and 1/2 c. of my precious Fage yogurt for my starter. It was suppose to cook (for thicker and tarter) yogurt for 8 to 10 hours. I forgot and it went for about 15 hrs. It was solid, smooth, creamy and I don't think it is a tangy as Fage, but it is good. It doesn't have the shelf life of the Fage yogurt, but I don't have to travel 90 miles round trip to get it.

If anyone has any suggestions or have made it before, please let me know your secrets and tips. The whole quart I made didn't cost as much as one 16 oz. container of Fage. I also picked up a new Graham Kerr yogurt strainer at the resale shop and will be making some yogurt cheese for tomorrow.

Hope you are all doing well, especially your newbies. I've got snow up to my..... well it is pretty high and getting stuck in the house gave me a chance to use my Splenda cookbook. I made a Lime Cheesecake with a nut crust and a batch of Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies. The cheesecake was really tart, but good. Loved the nut crust. About 15 grams of carbs for 1/12 sized piece so it was sliced and went straight to the freezer for a once a month treat. My family said the Chocolate Chip cookies were great. I made small loaves, for my DD and DH ,from the same cookbook, of banana bread and they said it was excellent. I was afraid to try the cookies and the banana because I probably would have ended up in a carb coma! Grabbing handfuls and eating them like Cookie Monster from Sesame Street!!

Suzanne 3FC
03-10-2008, 12:22 AM
Oooh, I have a yogurt maker and have never tried it out. Like you, I have to travel approx 100 miles round trip to buy Fage (and many other good quality foods) and would like to do what I can from here. Thanks for the inspiration, I'll have to give it a try too :)

03-10-2008, 09:19 AM
I know my MIL use to make her own yogurt. She didn't have a yogurt maker though. I'm not sure how she did it. I'll have to ask her and then I'll post how she did it. I would be interested in trying this too.


03-10-2008, 10:05 AM
I have a yogurt maker and make my own when I can, especially if my milk from the dairy is getting close to expiration - it's a great way to use it up! I know you don't need a maker to do it though, you can use a thermos container or a heating pad under a glass container to keep it at the right temperature. The trickiest part for me is getting it at the right temp to add the starter. I have a tendency to walk away and get distracted, but overall it's a very simple process. To get Greek yogurt, you need to strain your end product through cheesecloth or a dishtowel to remove some of the water and get a thicker, creamier texture.

03-10-2008, 10:32 AM
I am very interested in this topic. Where do you get a yogurt maker? Can you add fruit to it? Can you make different flavours? I usually buy nonfat yogurt for $1 for 5-7 oz depending on brand. Woudl it be cheaper to make my own?

03-10-2008, 05:08 PM
I tried making yogurt with a styrofoam cooler and a heating pad etc. It didn't come out very well! I had forgotten all about this, and I never thought of trying the fage yogurt - what a great idea! I think I will buy a yogurt maker - what kind did you get?

03-10-2008, 05:56 PM
I bought a Salton YM9 for under $20.00. It is a quart size because I don't want a bunch of little jars in my frig for DH and grandchildren to knock over. It has a lid for the frig and a ladle. Very simple machine. I know there are other ways to make it, but this is so simple. I did have to have a new candy thermometer because mine got broken, but that isn't really necessary. My cost for a quart of plain yogurt was probably around 63 cents. Gallon of milk was on sale for $2.50 and I already had tons of dried nonfat milk that someone had given me. I'm figuring there is about 77 cal. for 1/2 c. and 6 prot. and 8 sugars. Since I need the higher protein, probably will add a little unflavored protein powder in it. The greek yogurt strainer cost me a dollar at a resale shop. So right now it is cheaper for me to make it. But, I won't be able to find milk on sale every week.

I'd like to try the skimmed milk on my next batch. I won't do flavored because I also like to cook with the yogurt.

03-10-2008, 06:02 PM
My mom used to make yogurt... she just used a big glass jar, no yogurt maker. It isnt that hard if you have a good starter.

Tanginess...I know the longer it ages, the tangier it gets.

03-11-2008, 12:44 AM
My mother used to make yogurt. She had a long oval heater unit with 4-6 little jars. I remember the yogurt being quite tart, so we'd mix in chopped fruit. Must ask her if she still has it...hmm.

03-11-2008, 03:01 PM
Hillbilly Housewife has a great run-down of how to make your own yogurt. I've been itching to try this for ages but still haven't.

She's VERY frugal, so she uses powdered milk and water instead of regular milk due to the price difference. Obviously it works either way. :)

03-11-2008, 08:57 PM
How fun. I have tried to make yogurt without sucess. Maybe I'll try again using her method.

03-12-2008, 08:05 AM
Thank you for all of the suggestions and comments. I did run my yogurt through the yogurt seive last night. The yogurt cheese that was left is of the consistency of cream cheese, but a whole lot tangier. I will be using it for cooking. My next batch's starter is going to be the Stonefield because it has four more bacillus in it as compared to the Fage.

I even got my DH eating the homemade yogurt by putting splenda and berries in his.

The Hillbilly Housewife: I love her website. Haven't been on there in a while. Thanks for reminding me.

03-13-2008, 09:48 PM
Wow, your thread inspired me to make my own yogurt. It was suprisingly really easy, I just boiled the milk waited until it cooled then added a couple scoops of Fage yogurt. Then I just let it sit for 1 day and it came out as yogurt! It is like nothing I've ever had before. Not tart like the store bought ones, but almost like solidified milk kind of sweet. I LOOOOOOVED it. Thank you so much for inspiring me!

03-13-2008, 11:49 PM
I was so surprised how easily you can make yogurt. I'm glad yours turned out well and you like it. My DH has been taking it to work every morning with berries and granola. To night he was "snacky" and decided to try the yogurt cheese and Fiber One crackers. He really, really liked it. I'm glad because I make a quart at a time and that is a lot to eat when you don't eat much at a time. Let me know if you rn into any little tricks that help make better yogurt.

03-16-2008, 02:09 AM
I make my own yogurt as well. I noticed that you use a 1/2 cup of yogurt as a starter. I only use 2 Tablespoons and I "chain yogurt" about 4 times (use 2 T of homemade yogurt for the next batch that is) before using more "fresh" starter. You can freeze yogurt in ice cube trays (1 cube=2T) and then thaw before use. It works beautifully!

I use a West Bend yogurt maker that I found at a yard sale.

If anyone is interested in detailed directions, see if your library has a copy of The Tightwad Gazette. This is the book I learned how to make yogurt from. The author also has directions on how to make yogurt wiht out a yogurt maker.

03-16-2008, 02:15 AM
I'm inspired. I just bought the Salton yogurt maker off of Amazon. I can't wait until it gets here and I can try making my own.

I eat a yoplait yogurt every morning for breakfast and I think that making my own and adding fresh fruit will really help cut down on the sugar in my diet.

Does the homemade yogurt have the same active cultures that are in storebought??


03-16-2008, 09:32 AM
I did it! I did it! I made yogurt last night! I'm so impressed with myself. :D I definitely expected something to go wrong... but now I have two lovely mason jars full of wonderful plain yogurt!

I used the Hillbilly Housewife method with powdered milk because I don't keep dairy milk on-hand. 3 3/4 c water to 1 2/3c powdered milk, boil to 180 degrees, let cool to 115 degrees, add 2-3 tbsp starter yogurt, pour into jars, and stick in a warm oven. I set mine to 'warm' to preheat and turned it off when I put the yogurt in (don't want to cook it), left it alone overnight, and woke up to yogurt! :D

Is there a reason why I'm so thrilled with this? I feel kind of silly for how excited I am.

...I MADE something!


03-16-2008, 02:21 PM
Thanks for the heads up on the Tightwad. I'm going to do a search on it and see what I come up with. I use the 1/2 cup because that is was the recipebooklet called for on my yogurt maker. If I can use just 2 tbsp, I wouldn't be mad! LOL! I was surprised that I haven't really ran across alot about making homemade yogurts.

Suite: Good for you. For my protein snack last night I had my yogurt with stevia and fresh fruit. My DH had some of the yogurt cheese this morning on a homemade fruit and protein bar. I haven't got a chance to cook with it yet because we keep eating it up.

PhotoChick: I used my second starter from yogart called Stonyfield because it has six of the active cultures in it. Fage only has two. I've got it in the yogurt maker now, so hope this one does as well as the others. Good luck!

03-16-2008, 02:32 PM
Does the homemade yogurt have the same active cultures that are in storebought??

Yes ma'am!

03-16-2008, 04:43 PM
Well, I just made another batch because I ate my first batch. This time I used 1% milk and 1 can of evaporated ff milk along with 2 spoon fulls of the Fage. Oh my word, this batch is much thicker, richer and creamier tasting. I bet if I strained it it would taste as good as the Fage. I just left it on my oven while I was baking some other stuff and it set up really quick. In fact I just had some for lunch =) Any other "mix in" ideas for yogurt to make it creamier?

03-16-2008, 05:01 PM
I have been straining my yogurt mix. I put my starter down in a bowl and pour my cooled milk through a sieve. I know the milk doesn't come to a boil, but it sure does build up a scum around the edges and on the spoon. I love that you all have got some really good ideas and have found some different ways to make it.

Has anyone every made any with fruit in it?

03-20-2008, 10:43 AM
I try to eat my yogurt with fresh apples, bananas, etc. every second day. That's one of my ways to cut sugar and doesn't taste bad. :D

03-20-2008, 03:05 PM
I'm just making the plain yogurt and adding our "mushy" fruit. Mushy fruit is what my granddaughter calls thawed fruit. I'm thrilled that I can get my DH to eat the homemade yogurt, granola, and mushy fruit. Major, Major accomplishment. He loves the yogurt cheese that I make. I substituted it for cream cheese in the splenda cheese cake. I'm going to try the FF evaporated milk. I like the Fage yogurt starter better than the Stonyfield. This is our third batch and there are only two of us. It is really thrifty.

03-22-2008, 12:57 AM
Suitejudyblueeyes, I know exactly how you feel! I made yogurt, too. I used the same recipe you did. I put mine in a styrofoam cooler with two jugs of hot water. I had to reheat the water once.

My yogurt is a bit thin, but it's yogurt. I tried this once before, but the recipe I used more or less said, do not under any circumstances, let this sit more than four hours. I ended up with sour milk. I should have let it sit longer. I think maybe I will try it with the heating pad next time.

03-22-2008, 01:27 AM
I've left yogurt to incubate overnight for about 12 hours... it just comes out more tart then ones that I incubate for 4-6 hours. In addition to the tartness, it gets a little thicker the longer you let it sit. Hopefully this helps some. This is a very frugal way of getting yogurt...considering where I am you get a nice discount when you buy two gallons of milk at a time. I've not tried to mix in fruits as I read they mess with the incubation. I have put some flavorings in there like vanilla extract and that seems to come out fine. Also I am thinking of using FF dried milk so that I could use something like a Davinci syrup in there as part of the liquid...anyone had success with this? I'm thinking there would be a lot of flavor combinations using this method, but maybe it would mess with it?

03-22-2008, 02:15 AM
I have found that the best way to insure thick yogurt is to up the milk solids by adding 1/2 cup dry milk to each quart of milk. I've tried using less and my yogurt turns out runny. It works great every time if I add the 1/2 cup.

I've incubated (in my yard sale yogurt maker) anywhere from 6-12 hours. The 6 hour yogurt is barely tart, but the 12 hour is very tart. I don't worry about it if I have to leave it longer though, because after a few days in the fridge it's all about the same (tartness wise.) Yogurt will continue to get tart as it sits. So if you like it "mild" eat it quick.

I never add anything to mine when I'm making it since I like to use it in cooking too. I just add fruit to it when I eat it if I feel like it. More often then not I eat it plain with just a drizzle of maple syrup. Mmm...

03-22-2008, 09:37 PM
Ok, I couldn't wait for the yogurt maker to get here so I tried the oven method.

I heated 3 cups of 2% milk, added in 2 TB of plain Stoneycreek yogurt to the cooled milk, put it in a jar, and let it sit in a 100deg oven for about 8 hours.

Wow. This stuff is GOOD. I drained it for about an hour in a coffee filter to thicken it up, and then mixed about 1/2 cup with a teaspoon of blackcurrant jelly. Holy wow that was a yummy breakfast.

I'm inspired and am going to try some more tonight. I've doubled the amount of milk and I'm adding some dried milk solids as well, to thicken it up before draining.

We'll see how this batch works. It seems pretty darned foolproof, though.


03-22-2008, 11:16 PM
Aren't we all just so domestic! I love it when I can make something myself. Not just to save money, but for the satisfaction it gives me.

03-23-2008, 04:13 PM
I agree gailr42... I love that I can make something so yummy. It just adds to the satisfaction. I think I'm like on my 6th batch of yogurt already. I'll have to try adding dried milk to it. I've only used evaporated milk since that is what I have on hand.

03-25-2008, 08:19 AM
I decided that I want to try the FF evaporated milk in this batch of yogurt. A can of FF evap and 2% milk (made four cups) and 1/2 c. of Nonfat Dried milk. Strained and added 1/2c. Fage yogurt. Incubated for about 10 hours because couldn't get to it for a while.

I really don't see a difference, other than it is yellowed. Just as thick and tangy. Only difference I see is that there wasn't as much liquid. I do imagine that there is a difference in the NUT informations. Have to figure that out. I just love a couple of tablespoons with my 10 grain hot cereal and cranberries in the morning.

Anyone else more adventurous than me?

03-25-2008, 12:20 PM
Here are the variations I've tried:

3 cups 2% milk and 2 T Stoneybrook plain organic yogurt, incubated for 8-ish hours in the oven set to 100deg. Flavor was good, tangy, but very watery. I strained for 3 hours in a mesh strainer lined with coffee filters and got a very thick, very creamy, very yummy yogurt which I mixed with home canned jam for a really good bagel spread. But after straining I was left with ~1 cup of yogurt. Not much out of 3 cups of milk.

4 cups 2% milk, 2/3 cup dried fat-free milk solids, 4 T Stoneybrook plain organic yogurt. Incubated for 8-ish hours in the oven set to 100deg. Much, much thicker yogurt. I strained in the strainer lined with coffee filters for 1 hour and got a good consistency and a little over 3 cups of yogurt. Flavor was slightly sweeter (due to the milk solids?) but became tangier after a day of refrigeration. This I've mixed with thawed frozen fruit and a little honey, mixed with a mashed avocado, mixed with chopped cucumber and mint, and just eaten plain by the spoonful. I have about a cup left and will probably use it in tonights salad.

Today's batch:
4 cups 2% milk, 1 can ff evap milk, 4 T Stoneybrook plain organic yogurt. Currently incubating in the oven, will see how it comes out tonight.

This is really a lot of fun. I found out that it's easier to keep track if I work in batches that start with multiples of 2 cups of milk. I also think the proportions of 1 T of yogurt to 1 cup of milk makes a nice, tangy yogurt. I might try with cutting that back ... but we'll see. So right now I'm working on a basic recipe of:
For every 2 cups millk:
1/3 cup milk solids
2 T yogurt (starter)

Then multiply or adjust accordingly. My medium sauce pot holds 4 cups of milk easily, so that's the amount I'm mostly working with.


03-31-2008, 07:10 PM
Can you tell how much fun I'm having making my own yogurt?! I just made frozen yogurt using a really really tart yogurt that I made. I just added a little bit of honey to it and threw it in the ice cream machine. It is sooooo good! It tastes like Pinkberry's original tart but better! I <3 homemade yogurt!

03-31-2008, 07:15 PM
I'm kind of a slow thinker and if I can keep my Dh head out of the yogurt container I just might be able to make some frozen yogurt. That would be excellent, considering the the SF ice cream stuff is making me a little "pooty"!

03-31-2008, 08:59 PM
I haven't tried frozen yogurt yet, but I think I will with the next batch. I have a large jar that I picked up at the Container Store, so I can incubate a larger batch. I think I'll start with 6 cups milk this time and instead of straining, throw the whole thing into the ice cream maker w/ some fresh fruit and honey.

Mmmm. That already sounds heavenly.


04-01-2008, 08:57 AM
Hey PC: Did the frozen yogurt turn icy or were you able to scoop it after it came out of the freezer. I made a diet ice cream and it was like eating ice!

04-01-2008, 12:18 PM
I am using up all of my purchased yogurt before I make any more. After that all of my yogurt is going to be homemade. Thanks for starting this thread!

My purchased yogurt (Stater Brothers house brand) has modified corn starch in it. Is that related to the dreaded HFCS? I am probably going to Trader Joe's this week, so I will get some yogurt from there that is organic and corn free (I hope).

What do any of you think about freezing yogurt in ice cube trays to use for future starters? I think that was mentioned in the Hillbilly site. It seems to me that freezing might kill the culture. Has anyone tried it? I can only get regular commercial yogurt here, so if I could freeze from TJ's it would be very helpful.

04-01-2008, 12:31 PM
What do any of you think about freezing yogurt in ice cube trays to use for future starters?
I just started doing it and it seems to work well. It's not cold that kills the cultures - it's heat. My last batch was made with yogurt cubes :) and it incubated just fine.


04-01-2008, 02:10 PM
Great! Thanks. The other thing that kind of irks me about my grocery store is that except for the store brand, I have to buy Mountain Home (not sure of the name), and Stony farm in a quart container. Since I'm the only one who eats it, I need a smaller container.

04-02-2008, 06:32 PM
Frozen yogurt = success. I used my Cuisinart ice cream maker - the one where you put the bucket in the freezer for 24 hours first. I mixed a quart of yogurt with 1/8 cup of Splenda and a bag of frozen tart cherries. Then put it in the ice cream make and treated it just like ice cream.

It froze up nice and creamy with swirls of cherry juice and chunks of cherry in it. It's a bit tart, since i only used 1/8 cup of Splenda, but I like it.

I'll definitely make this again as the summer gets hotter.


04-03-2008, 05:54 PM
I made my second batch of yogurt last night. I added more powdered milk this time under the impression that it would make the yogurt thicker/creamier - but hmm, it's not setting up so well! This morning after it had incubated for 9ish hours, it's kind of wobbly. Not like liquid but not set up nice like store-bought yogurt is. It reminds me of jello and thoroughly grossed out my coworkers when one compared it to the consistency of snot :lol: Tastes just fine, though!

There was this layer on top about a half inch thick of really beautiful, thick yogurt, and then the rest of it was wobbly. Like the bacteria only worked so hard and then gave up :p

Like I said, it still tastes fantastic and I'm very proud of it, I just hope I master the art of making yogurt that doesn't have the consistency of snot at some point :D

EDIT: It occurs to me that I think I know went wrong. I think I didn't keep it warm enough. That would account for the partial result I feel I got... I'll need to make the next batch during the day when I can check on it, instead of at night when I just let it sit and let the heat escape.

04-03-2008, 06:00 PM
Two things: I keep my oven set at 105 when I'm incubating. I'm lucky that I can set my oven that low.

Also mine is still a *tad* watery for my tastes, even though adding the powdered milk does help some from just straight milk/yogurt, so I strain it through a coffee filter for about an hour before refrigerating it. It thickens it up just enough. You can strain for longer (my first batch I strained for about 3-4 hours) and get a creamier, almost cream-cheese consistency.

Edit: Also as it chills, it will thicken up some as well. Give it a good stir after a day in the fridge and it'll be thicker. :)


04-03-2008, 10:14 PM
I have a "warm" setting which is below 200 - I'm unsure what the exact temp is. I've been preheating it to "warm" and then turning it off when I stick the yogurt in... Perhaps that's the problem!! How long do you incubate in your oven, PhotoChick?

04-03-2008, 11:08 PM
Last night's batch I put in at about 12:30 in the morning and took out at 8 a.m. or so. It was a little runny when I pulled it out, so I gave it a good stir and put it in the fridge. Tonight it's just the right texture.

Another thing you can do is leave it on the kitchen counter, but set the jar on a heating pad set on low, and padded with a couple of dishtowels.


04-03-2008, 11:46 PM
Incubating at a consistent temperature is key for yogurt success! So is heating the yogurt to 180 degrees F to kill off any competing bacteria (obviously letting cool to 115 degrees before adding starter.) I use a yogurt maker that I found at a yard sale. If other incubation methods don't work out for you, maybe you can check out yard sales and thrift stores for a maker. I think Amazon sells one too.

Photochick~I'm confused that you say stirring helps thicken it. Have you tried leaving it to chill in the fridge without stirring before? I've always been under the impression that stirring it breaks down protein bonds and makes it less thick. At least that's what Alton Brown said on his yogurt episode. Who knows, maybe the info I've heard is wrong?

I find that adding 1/2 cup powdered milk to 1 quart of fresh milk produces a yogurt that is very close to the consistency of store bought. Of course given the variables everyone's "recipe for success" will be different. I also use whole milk, so I wonder if the fat helps with thickness.

Does everyone know that the yellowish liquid that ends up on the top can be poured off and used in place of buttermilk? The liquid is whey and can be used in any recipe calling for buttermilk. It has a lot less calories then buttermilk too. Whenever go go to scoop out some yogurt, I pour the whey into another jar to save for this purpose.

04-04-2008, 12:09 AM
Photochick~I'm confused that you say stirring helps thicken it. No no no no no. :) I'm not saying that stirring helps thicken. Chilling it helps thicken it. I just give it a good stir to incorporate the whey that rises to the top during incubation.

It's just part of the process I follow ... rather than straining off the whey and then chilling it.

Edited: I see the confusion. When I say "give it a good stir after a day in the fridge" is to say that you'll see it's thicker when you stir it - it will feel thicker after a day in the fridge. Not that the act of stirring it makes it thicker.


04-04-2008, 09:36 AM
Hm, thanks for the input guys :) I think I'll try it once more with the oven method, and if that fails, I'll poke around for a heating pad or a yogurt maker now that the garage sales are starting to pop up! DH seems not to mind the egg white consistency of this batch, anyhow. :p

04-05-2008, 03:07 AM
I used to just keep my yogurt on the stove while my oven was on baking other things. Now instead of using the oven (since I've done all my baking for a while), I fill the sink with hot water and leave it there for a couple hours then change the water. After 3 times, it is pretty set. Only a couple of times did I have to change it more than 3.

04-06-2008, 03:01 PM
I finally had a yogurt snafu! I went to the Food Net Work to see about A. Brown's yogurt making deal and decided that it was faster than my method. Now mind you I have had really good thick yogurt, but after cooking it to just under boiling, I have to let it sit for a will to come back down to 115 degrees to add the yogurt starter. With AB's method: 4 cups milk, 1/2 cup nonfat dried milk, and honey; you heat to 120 degrees add the yogurt starter and you are ready to go. I did that and then set it in my yogurt machine. Let it go for 8 hours and it was a runny mess. No form, no taste. I think that my machine doesn't keep it at 120 degrees like he suggested. So, I came home looked at it and decided that I could maybe reheat it and then add the yogurt back in. WRONG: it got separated, and huge chunks milk whey started forming on the bottom of the medium heated mixture. I though maybe I could use the yogurt chunks, but it had no taste what so ever. Lessons learned: Don't mess with it if it isn't broken and you can reheat a yogurt mixture. I've already made a new batch and happily eating it with granola and stevia and fresh strawberries.

04-07-2008, 12:51 PM
Zenor, thanks for the info about the whey.

I did go to Trader Joe's, bought Fage and their house brand. Somehow, my spoon slipped and I ended up eating the Fage. I still have the other, and will try to keep my spoon out of it.

I notice that the Wal-Mart brand has pectin and tapioca starch. The house brands from the two grocery stores in my area have modified corn starch among other things. I think the starches are probably in there to thicken the final product. TJ's brand has no thickeners or additives, and that's what I am looking for, as long as I am doing "homemade".

04-07-2008, 02:47 PM
but after cooking it to just under boiling, I have to let it sit for a will to come back down to 115 degrees to add the yogurt starter.Oh, for this ... I use the yogurt making as an opportunity to clean out my ice maker as well! :) I empty the old dead ice in the bottom of the icemaker into my sink and run about 2" of water in there. I turn the heat off under the milk and then lower the pan into the ice water, stirring it constantly. It cools down in a couple of minutes or less ... which I like becuase it gives less chance for bacteria to get into the milk as it sits and cools. (Which I also like because I'm impatient and I don't like to sit around and wait for the milk to cool!)

Then add the starter and the rest as usual.


04-07-2008, 02:49 PM
(Can you tell I've really gotten inot the yogurt making thing? I'm loving this!)

04-07-2008, 03:08 PM
I went and looked at the AB recipe and I can't remember if he heated the milk just to 120 degrees in the episode or if he talked about it. I know that his method differed from mine a bit and my method works, so why change it.

I do remember him talking about the science of it and stirring the whey back in supposedly makes it a looser consistency, but then I never see the whey until I've scooped into the yogurt and let it sit awhile. I never seen excess whey after taking it out of my yogurt maker. Just goes to show all our experiences are different and we just have to find the method that works for us. :)

In The Tightwad Gazette the author talks about heating the milk to 180 degrees (or to nearly boiling) helps to tighten the structure of the yogurt, according to the "experts" she talked to. She also talks about uses for runny batches of yogurt. Failed batches get made into yogurt Popsicles or get used in baking. I hate waste, so I'm a big fan on finding uses for things that don't turn out.

My batches cool fairly quickly because I have a drafty kitchen, but at the places I've lived before I would time how long it took the first time and then just set the timer every time after that. That way I could go do something else and didn't have to watch the pot.

04-15-2008, 01:44 AM
Hi my yogurt making buddies! I have a question about your yogurts. Does yours get sweeter with each batch? I started with the Fage then for my next batch I just kept some of the first batch and then so on. I'm on batch number 4 with the same "recycled" yogurt and I noticed it is getting sweeter and sweeter by the batch. This last one was soo light and delicate in a really good way. I find that even if I let it incubate for longer it doesn't really get tart. Does anyone know how long I can recycle my yogurt as a starter? I read on the internet it gets less "potent" but nobody really says when? I would just love to keep this going!

04-15-2008, 01:52 AM
gastronome~I've found that after about the 4th time I have to use fresh starter. Not because of the taste, but because it starts to get runny after that. It may vary for everyone though. It probably depends on what you are using as a starter. I use one cube of Nancy's plain organic yogurt that I've frozen in ice cube trays (I thaw first.)

By sweeter do you mean more mild in tartness? I suppose subsequent batches to get more mild in tartness, I'd never thought about it. I'll have to pay more attention.

04-15-2008, 02:37 AM
Hm. Interesting question. I use Stonyfield organic yogurt that I've frozen as a starter .. so my batches tend to be pretty consistent.

I haven't noticed any "sweeter" batches, but I *like* the tangy flavor of plain yogurt, so I tend to incubate a little longer and try to encourage that. :)


04-15-2008, 09:57 PM
After the second back of yogart, I use a new starter. I like my yogurt thick and tangy and use 1/2 c. of Fage. I've tried the third and fourth starter and there is just no pizzazz for me. So, I know that in increased the cost of my yogurt from 67 cents to $2.66 a quart. I can live with that because it is excellent and I make yogurt cheese and use it for thick sour cream. I'm will always heat my yogurt to between 180 to 190 degrees and it sits in the yogurt maker for 12 hours and it turns out very thick and tangy. I learned my lesson.

04-15-2008, 10:09 PM
Nancy - I haven't tried the Fage, to start mine. Do you think it makes a difference in the thickness vs. the Stoneyfield Farm Organic? I could try adding more starter yogurt to get it thicker ... I might do that with tonights batch.

Hm. Things to ponder! :)


04-15-2008, 10:25 PM
From what I've read, the main things that make yogurt thicker (aside from commercial thickeners like pectin & gelatin) are higher milk fat content and higher milk solids. That's why most recipes will have you add powdered milk to up the milk solids.

Perhaps the starter is a factor, but I can't find any information (I googled it) about different starters effecting thickness.

My batches don't seem any different whether I use 2T of starter or more, so I use 2T (I'm cheap.) Like I've said before though, there are so many factors and everyone's experiences are different. I guess you just have to tweak and figure out what works in your own kitchen.

04-15-2008, 10:58 PM
Have any of you tried cooking a vanilla bean with the milk and removing it before adding the starter? I wonder how that would taste?

I really love Fage yogurt, and would love to recreate that at home. I don't like tangy yogurt, which is why I love Fage so much.

04-16-2008, 12:56 AM
Yes, by sweeter I do mean less tart. I am draining my yogurt now and it tastes like the Fage and Trader Joes house brand stuff. By doing all this delicious experimenting I discovered that I just like yogurt -- tart, non tart, watery, thick..doesn't matter as long as its yogurt. Mmmm.. I recently discovered Trader Joes Mediterranean yogurt cheese which tastes like a cross between sour cream and Fage. It's 60 cals for 2 tbs and it is soooo good. I use this now to mix in to my oatmeal and it makes it taste so sinful. I'm going to see if I can use this as a starter for my next batch of yogurt...It doesn't have any thickeners or gelatin and lists active cultures so I'll give it a shot to see what comes out of it!

04-16-2008, 09:48 AM
I think that I get a thicker yogurt from the Fage. When I go to dump my yogurt out of the yogurt maker container, it is one solid mass. I didn't get that with the Stonyfield. I want to try another Greek yogurt for a starter and it is called Okios, I think the spelling is right. Has anyone used this brand yet? A 7 oz Fage costs me $1.99 and I think the cost of the of the Okios is about the same, but the only reason I've put it off is because it is only offered with the honey. Are you guys using 2%, 1% or FF? I use 2 % and down, what ever is on sale. I'm using an off brand of powdered milk. I hadn't bought any of that for two years, just keep it in the freezer, and OMG I couldn't believe the cost and how much it has gone up. I'm going to Aldi's this week to see if I can get a better bargain on it. It is kind of funny that the powdered milk has been in the freezer for two years and I'm starting my second box of it in less than a month. Well, I found a recipe for Chai tea on and that is not helping my powdered milk supply. Chai tea was the only thing I really missed from my old life style and with the subs of Alterna, and SF creamers, it makes a decent cup. And a lot cheaper than the Big Train Chai Tea I've been buying. Well, happy yogurt making!!! LOL!!!

04-16-2008, 12:25 PM
Hm. I'll try Fage when my frozen supply of Stonyfield Organic runs out.

I've been using 2% milk and whatever brand of powdered is on sale. I'll probably run to Sam's club this weekend and get a bigger box of powdered. I hadn't thought about keeping it in the freezer, but that's a good idea.


04-16-2008, 07:03 PM
I researched dry milk. A drought, and some economic issues caused the price of dry milk to skyrocket. What ever I was reading predicts that the price will come down some, but it is not the bargain it used to be and probably won't be again. The price of a quart of reconstituted dry milk is as much as fluid milk. I looked for it at Costco and they don't have it. Probably because of the cost. I got my last batch at a Wal-Mart Super Center.

nanj, I did the same thing you did. I had a ton of Carnation Dry milk in the freezer. I decided to start drinking it both for convenience and Price (trying to save because of all the dire economic predictions), and what do you know, it is now hard to find and expensive.

04-18-2008, 11:03 PM
Houston, we have yogurt! Firm yogurt.

I used dry milk, heated it, cooled it, added a good dollop of Mountain High 2% commercial yogurt. I put it in a styrofoam cooler with a heating pad and my indoor/outdoor thermometer. The outdoor part was inside the cooler so I could tell the temp without opening the lid. I let it incubate from after lunch - maybe 12:30p until about 6:30p. I was going to let it go longer, but I just had to peek and it was done.

Problems: I got the milk too hot during the initial phase. Then I let it get too cool before adding yogurt. Turns out the heating pad I used has an automatic off feature, so it turned itself off a couple of times and the temp got too low.

In spite of the above, the yogurt is perfect. I added just a bit more dry milk than the original recipe called for, and I haven't tried it with Mountain High before, so maybe one of those things helped. I am going to freeze the rest of the Mountain High for future use.

Amazing how thrilled I am by all this :lol:.

04-21-2008, 06:52 PM
I made some yogurt!
I took 3 cups of 1% milk and mixed in 1/2 cup of powdered skim milk. Brought to 170, then cooled to 115. Added 2 tablespoons of Fage 2%.

I put it in my oven that has a baking stone in it to retain heat. I had a probe thermometer that can be read from outside the oven. I heated the oven to 120 and monitored the temp. I actually went to bed, and woke up at 1am and remembered the yogurt.
I poked the top and it looked solid, so I took it out and put it in the fridge.
Well, this morning I checked and only the very top had become yogurt - the rest was still liquid. So, I thought I would see if I could salvage it.
I warmed the mixture and added another dollop of the Fage. Then back into the oven. About 6 hours later, I had nice firm yogurt!

It is very mild in flavor, like the Fage. I have some straining right now. DH was pretty impressed LOL!

04-22-2008, 12:37 AM
I strained some of mine, too. Really good. The trouble is, I can't leave it alone. Even though my DH doesn't like yogurt, he was impressed that I actually made some myslef. So was I :lol:.

04-22-2008, 01:02 AM
I use whole milk. Shocking huh?!?!?! DH and I are ttc and I've read that the balance of naturally occurring milk hormones go off balance when fat is removed. Harvard did a study and low fat dairy can cause problems when ttc. I will be switching to 2% once we get preggo though. :)

Dry milk prices are crazy high right now. I was lucky enough to find my last box at the Grocery Outlet for $5. I should have bought them out! Oh well...

gailr42~I used to use Mountain High as a starter and it always worked well for me. I've only been using the Nancy's brand lately because it's slightly cheaper here. I typically go for the cheapest live culture yogurt that's made from rBST free milk.

04-22-2008, 07:56 AM
I read an article yesterday about making yogart and they use the same method as me, except they had increased their powdered milk to 1 c! Evidently, they wrote this article before the price went up.

OT: I'm 198.5 pounds this morning!!!! First time I've been under 200 lbs. in 32 years!!!! I'M IN ONDERLAND!!! I'm telling everyone.

04-22-2008, 09:53 AM
I read an article yesterday about making yogart and they use the same method as me, except they had increased their powdered milk to 1 c! Evidently, they wrote this article before the price went up.

OT: I'm 198.5 pounds this morning!!!! First time I've been under 200 lbs. in 32 years!!!! I'M IN ONDERLAND!!! I'm telling everyone.

:bravo: Nancy - Welcome to Onederland!!

04-22-2008, 10:26 AM
You go, Nancy!!!! Congratulations.

04-22-2008, 11:14 AM
Whooo hoooo Nancy. I remember when I dropped below 200 - it ROCKS. Good for you.


04-22-2008, 02:05 PM
Way to go Nancy!!! :dance:

04-23-2008, 08:49 AM
Thanks you guys! I bought a toddler 3-wheeled stroller yesterday to ramp up my walking routine. I have a 3 y/o granddaughter who I'll be pushing round.

04-23-2008, 07:13 PM
Zenor, on the off chance, I googled ttc because I didn't know what it meant. I thought maybe it was something like ADHD:lol:. Good Luck with your "project".

04-24-2008, 11:36 PM
Nancy, that is wonderful about being in Onederland! You must be on cloud nine. Must be all that homemade yogurt!;)

04-25-2008, 12:46 AM
I made another batch today. It came out good. I have been eating it with a little bit of honey stirred in. Yummy.

04-25-2008, 12:49 AM
Zenor, on the off chance, I googled ttc because I didn't know what it meant. I thought maybe it was something like ADHD:lol:. Good Luck with your "project".

:lol: Thanks! :D

04-25-2008, 01:21 PM
I wanted to let you all know about the results of trying more non-fat dried milk.
I had about 3/4 to 1 cup nfsm left from the last box and decided that I would try to increase the amount as suggested in the last article that I read. was the most solid yogurt to date. If fact, I wish I hadn't dumped out the liquid when I transferred it over to my yogurt container, after it was done, because it is really solid. I think that I should have stirred it back in. It has the good taste of the other batches, and this batch was also the first one for my new starter. I think that I would probably do it again, but let me warn you it is more the consistency of the yogurt cheese. If I recall, it set in my yogurt maker for about 12 to 15 hours before I could get to it. I really do like my homemade a lot better than store-bought. So does my yogurt-hating DH!!!!

04-25-2008, 01:36 PM
I tried a batch earlier this week where I added a couple of cinnamon sticks to the milk while it heated. Mmmmm. It's definitely a sweeter taste and works well with fruits.


04-27-2008, 12:11 PM
I have been following this thread with interest as I was contemplating making homemade yogurt just a few weeks ago. I have made 2 batches using reconstituted skim milk powder plus extra powder and one batch turned out runny (not enough heat I believe) and the second batch was perfect. I used a warm oven and wrapped the bottle of yogurt in a thick towel to insulate the product while incubating after the oven was turned off. I used to make yogurt years ago and always had good success with the oven method. I like my yogurt with oatmeal and a little brown sugar.

04-27-2008, 10:16 PM
I'm using my yogurt with 10 grain cereal that I make in the pressure cooker for my breakfast. Yogurt is my evening snack with unpeeled apples, stevia and one inch of banana or strawberries. Stevia I'm using is English Toffee.

I'll be making another batch tomorrow and I'm going back to using 1/2 c. of dried milk. More dried milk makes it too solid for my liking. I couldn't get it stirred smooth, but it was sure nice and tangy and thick. Just too darn thick. I've used this batch to cook with mainly, because it is so thick. My hats off to all of you who don't use the yogurt machine. I'm just not organized enough, and I'm lazy, and the yogurt machine is easy!!! LOL!!! Still have not frozen any of it. I need to because my DH and grandchildren eat an ice cream treat every night and I've been doing NAS ice cream with the sugar alcohols and WOW!! Gastric repercussions!!!!

Happy yogurt making.

04-27-2008, 11:40 PM
I was finally able to get my hands on some powdered milk to try the powdered milk method. I made a whole gallon in my soup pot and it turned out really really well. Nice and thick not and not very tart. Should last me most the week =)