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Homemade yogurt - troubleshooting

I searched through all the memories on the subject, but found nothing that addressed my problem.

Whenever I make yogurt it comes out grainy. On-line searches suggest that not mixing the starter in thoroughly could be the culprit, so I make extra-sure to do that well. It hasn't made a difference. I've used skim or 2% non-homogenized milk, and tried it once with homogenized. I've used several different yogurts as starters, including the powdered stuff.

I heat the milk until it starts to boil, boil it gently for a minute or so, then let it cool to just below 100 degrees F. I use a yogurt machine (My oven is very sad and old, no oven light and poor insulation) and I incubate it for as long as the machine recommends - 6 hours for whole milk, 8 hours for skim, so I recently did 7 hours for 2% milk.

I have noticed that the whey has already separated when I turn off the machine. Am I possibly incubating it for too long? If so, what should I look for to tell me it is done?

Thanks for any advice you can give. I am about at my wits end! I love the yogurt (nice and tangy and slightly runny, which is exactly how I like it) but the texture is pretty bad.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
thalionar
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
I agree... you don't/shouldn't heat the milk higher than 200F because it starts to do odd things to the proteins.

AB says not to do it higher than 120, and if you're using pasteurized milk, you shouldn't need to. If you're using unpasteurized, I probably would, since the temp for growing yogurt beasties is perfect for growing *other* beasties, as well.
lidarick
Jun. 12th, 2008 04:52 am (UTC)
I have noticed that the whey has already separated
Yes, it means that you're incubating it too long. Try either lower temperature of the machine or shorter time. You may try to leave your yogurt overnight on the table if nights are warm.
flayre
Jun. 12th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Alton Brown does a whole show on yogurt making. The episode is called Good Milk Gone Bad. See if you can find it to watch. Or, you can view the transcript and the recipes from that show http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season6/EA1F04.htm
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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