Soupy Yogurt Rescue

I have a jar of temperamental yogurt starter in my fridge. Last batch was perfect after 8 hours in the yogurt maker; this weekend's batch was a disaster, even after a 20 hour incubation and an overnight chill. I tried again, adding powdered milk and two more teaspoons of starter, gently reheated the mess to 110 degrees, a long incubation, and a good chill. Still a mess. I just ordered a more reliable (but less tasty) starter. Should I just toss the mess and start with fresh milk, or at least use some of it for flavor?



Folha June 23, 2016
One more thought: How hot did you heat the milk to, prior to adding the yogurt culture? Many recipes recommend heating the milk to ~170-180F, to kill off any bacteria that might otherwise compete and edge out the yogurt culture. This recommendation was more meaningful in the past, when pasturization was iffy, but it can still be beneficial these days: If you heat the milk to these temperatures every time, the culture can go on indefinitely (mine is nearly 3 years old).

Also, I've never managed to get yogurt going with Fage - it seems to have a much less active culture than other brands. I've had lots of success with plain Dannon and Stonybrook Farms.
Melusine June 22, 2016
Thank you all -- I tossed it. The starter was powdered yogurt starter, but as mentioned, it's been temperamental.
Panfusine June 21, 2016
THird KTR's comment, toss that lot out, Try using Kefir as a starter, I've found it to be a reliable starter across various brands (lifeway, WEgmans, Trader Joes), whisk in the kefir into a bit of the heated and cooled milk before adding that batch to the remaining milk (like you temper for making a custard). I find that it helps set the yogurt better.
Caroline L. June 21, 2016
Hi Melusine! I have to second ktr here—it's sounds like your culture is spent and this batch may need to be tossed. I've had good luck just using regular store-bought yogurt (I use Fage) as a culture when my yogurt (which I otherwise just reculture) starts to get a little weird in consistency. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
ktr June 20, 2016
I would toss it and start over. It may be contaminated and you don't want to risk contaminating your new starter. Also, make sure your starter is meant to be recultured. I've seen some that are only meant to be recultured once or twice rather than indefinitely. You could always use some store bought plain yogurt as your starter as well. Good luck!
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