Problems making home made yogurt - Help!

I have a specific question about making yogurt at home, both with and without a yogurt maker. I have recently tried making yogurt at home, with packaged starter, two ways. The first, by heating then cooling milk, adding starter, then refrigerating, and second, splurging on a yogurt machine (Cuisinart CYM 100) and making in in that. Almost every time the yogurt does not set. By that I mean that it essentially stays either liquid, or semi-liquid. Any thoughts/ideas as to what I might be doing wrong? I thought I followed recipe directions in all cases, so now I'm perplexed.
All thoughts/help welcome, and, of course, thank you.



louisez March 18, 2020
I have the Cuisinart machine, and love it. However, I had a simi!ar problem. I'm not sure whether the machine instructions or starter instructions discussed this, but recommended adding dry milk, as HalfPint mentions. This worked for me.
HalfPint March 18, 2020
Usually when making without yogurt, you allow time for incubation after starter is added. Then when the yogurt is where you want it, refrigerate. Any roommate in college made yogurt without a machine. You would mix plain yogurt from a previous batch into warm milk, cap the jar (she used an old but clean mayonnaise jar), and left it bundled up with a warming blanking on the kitchen counter, overnight. I remember her yogurt was really good. Not too tart.

Other things to consider:
Are you using a dead starter? I would assume you tried different batches of starter.

Some recipes call for adding a little powdered milk for thicker yogurt.

What kind of milk are you using?
directjudy March 18, 2020
I was using whole foods organic 2% milk (which is pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized), and a starter called Probiotic Source Greek Yogurt Starter Culture. I made sure to use the correct amount of starter indicated on the package) for the quantity of milk I was using.
HalfPint March 18, 2020
Hmmmm, could the boiled milk be too hot when you add the starter culture? I've been told to add when the milk was between 100F to 110F. Higher beyond 115F would kill the culture. Lower temperature would too cold for growth.
directjudy March 18, 2020
I did not boil the milk and do the "cool down" then add starter. I wondered about that, but the instructions that came w the machine said nothing about the heating/cooling; just said to add starter to milk and whisk, then put in machine. Which is exactly what I did. I thought the idea of buying the machine was so that you didn't have to do the heating cooling...?
HalfPint March 19, 2020
Actually, the yogurt machine provides even and consistent that is low enough to not kill the culture but high enough promote growth.

Boiling sterilizes milk so that the only bacteria to grow is the yogurt bacteria from the starter.

I think your milk has been too cold. Try warming milk to about 110F and then adding the starter, let the machine maintain that ambient temperature for the yogurt. See if that will give you thicker yogurt. It is good practice to boil the milk to destroy all bacteria especially the bad ones.

Let us know how it goes 🙂

directjudy March 19, 2020
I will! Thanks. So the next question is....what can I do with the milky-yogurt or yogurty milk that is almost liquid yogurt? Any way to rescue it and turn it into firmer yogurt?
HalfPint March 19, 2020
Mango lassi :)
directjudy March 19, 2020
LOL. Sounds about right. Thanks
HalfPint March 19, 2020
Seriously, I would add a little gelatin and make a yogurt "panna cotta" :)
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