Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homemade Yogurt Troubleshooting

I feel like somewhat of an expert when it comes to making homemade yogurt by now. At least with my own method of doing it. In the past year and a half I must have made nearly 200 batches of it.

So it was a bit of a surprise the other morning when I opened my crock pot to discover not creamy yogurt, but watery, barely thickened milk.

I know that I did all of the steps properly, I'm very meticulous about it. I considered the other variables and I think that the yogurt that I used as a starter (a well-known national brand) simply failed me. I hadn't really been happy with any of my recent batches using that particular brand, but it hadn't occurred to me that it could be making a difference in my final product.

I'm going to experiment by going back to another brand that I had been using. It's organic and I always got good results, then I'll know for sure that this was my problem.

Meanwhile, I'm not one to waste an entire batch of yogurt. The thought of it sends chills down my frugal spine!

An easy fix it to use this thickened milk/yogurt as a drink. My kids love smoothies, and this is great for making them. Just put the desired amount into a blender along with fruit and ice and enjoy. I've saved this liquid stuff for a couple of days and had no problems with it.

What I did this time though, was to heat the crock-pot on low again until it was hot to the touch. Then I re-wrapped the whole thing and let it incubate for a few more hours. When I unwrapped again, it was thicker. I strained it through extra layers of cheesecloth for about eight hours. Finally it was creamy yogurt, if not quite as thick as Greek yogurt.

So if your yogurt recipe fails you for some reason, don't despair. It may be possible to save the batch. Think carefully about any variables in the process, and try to remedy them with the next attempt. I promise, it's well worth the effort!

*For an easy and delicious Greek yogurt recipe, see the link below

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