Making homemade yogurt for me has never been easy. Actually it has been quite hard. I have given more yogurt to the chickens that I care to admit because my yogurt has never set up. I am once again trying a foray into yogurt making because I found a yogurt maker in the clearance corner at the local department store for less than $10, and my grocery store yogurt has gone up to over $8 container. I have become convinced that my problem is the long-term holding temp that I don’t think I am achieving. I am an experienced home cook who has no problems with yeast breads and complicated candies so it seemed that this holding temperature was my problem. I read and “chatted” with internet folks about their yogurt making and no matter what people suggested I could not get a yogurt out of my efforts.
I have never been much of yogurt person until I found a commercial yogurt that had two ingredients milk and cultures, nothing else. On top of that most commercial yogurt had not only milk and cultures but also thickeners, stabilizers and shelf-life extenders which I am not in favor of. It was revolutionary for me when I found this two-ingredient yogurt because I liked it plain, no sweetener or fruit necessary. I had tried every brand, every style under the sun over the years without success of turning me into a yogurt eater. Yogurt was a necessary evil, not a good food I liked. It was sort of like a milk version of Jello, with a spoonful of crappy jam in the bottom. Yuck!
My first batch of yogurt came out just perfect. I have been eating it all week on my homemade granola. It was nice and thick, and I ate it before we had a chance to strain some of it to make Greek style.
Now I have my second batch in the maker again. I am also checking out the internet learning about the different cultures out there I may wish to try in the future. Cultures affect the thickening and the taste of your yogurt (tart vs. naturally sweet and things in between). I am setting the timer for a little longer this time as well to see how that impacts the tartness of it as I am thinking of straining some of this week’s yogurt that we will use in lieu of sour cream.
A couple of things that about the electric yogurt machine in case you come across a deal like mine and decide to give yogurt making a whirl. The little glass jars do have the little line in the bottom where the sides and bottom meet and they are as hard to clean as anyone who has written any review you might see has suggested. I already had a bottle brush and use it immediately upon emptying the jar. Long-term you will probably need a second set of jars, since you need to make your next batch within seven days, and I had one more left in the refrigerator when I started this batch that I need to transfer it out of to use again. A second set of jars is more twice what I paid for the maker so am going to look at some of the glass containers I have around the house and see what I might come up with as I am only short a bottle or two.