5 Mistakes You Must Avoid While Making Yogurt at Home
Making a batch of delicious and yummy yogurt at home is a top priority for many homemakers. Apart from being cost-effective, it is a rewarding experience to be able to make this nutritious dairy product at home.
Regardless, however much one is pre-prepared, it requires a bit of steady effort, patience, and correct information to perfect the recipe for homemade yogurts.
Yogurt making involves a lot of variables, like the kind, quality, and quantity of yogurt starter used, when and how to use them, along with the kind of milk involved, and so forth. Ask any yogurt enthusiast, and you will be amazed to know that almost everyone commits some or other kind of mistake while preparing yogurt for the first time.
Nevertheless, one can always learn from the mistakes of others and thereby, avoid committing them. In this blog post, we enlist the 5 common mistakes one should avoid while making yogurt at home.
5 Common Yogurt Preparation Mistakes You Should Avoid
From ingredients to the preparation process, one can go wrong in any step while making yogurt at home. Nevertheless, if you are aware of the mistakes, you can consciously avoid them.
1. Wrong Yogurt Starter
Your first and foremost choice of yogurt starter can make or mar your homemade yogurt-making experience. There are a lot of starter cultures available in the market that serve different purposes, namely, vegan yogurt, flavored yogurt, or simply yogurt with or without specific kinds of bacteria.
Therefore, when you are preparing to make yogurt at home, you should decide what kind of yogurt you need, and accordingly choose your yogurt starter. Additionally, you can choose a gluten-free yogurt starter that can work on vegan milk as well as non-vegan ones, making some of the finest yogurts from practically any kind of milk.
2. Wrong Kind of Milk
Starter cultures and milk are the two main ingredients in making yogurt. Just as a starter culture, there are various kinds of milk, e.g., cow milk, goat milk, plant-based milk, nut milk, etc. If you prefer vegan yogurt, your milk should be either plant-based milk or nut milk.
Similarly, there is also a choice between whole-fat milk, skimmed milk, or double-toned milk. If you need a thick and layered texture in your yogurt, you can choose whole-fat milk, whereas double-toned milk can at best give you a thinner texture in the yogurt.
Therefore, you should choose your ingredients based on what kind of yogurt you aspire to make.
3. Wrong Time To Add Yogurt Starter
It is where the preparation stage errors start. Many people endeavoring to make yogurt at home for the first time often get over-enthusiastic and thus begin to hurry up.
Since the actual fundamental process of yogurt making is fermenting the milk, it is of vital importance to introduce the yogurt starter at the correct time in the entire process. Adding it too soon will make matters worse.
The process is to heat the milk first, even if it is pasteurized. And let it cool down to around 115 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the ideal temperature where you should introduce the starter culture to the milk.
If you introduce the yogurt culture when the milk is too hot, the live bacteria in it will eventually be killed, and it won't serve its purpose.
4. Wrong Temperature & Incorrect Incubation Time
Since fermentation is a natural process, it requires a suitable temperature and time to do so. As explained above, you already know what will happen if the starter culture is introduced to the milk at a hot temperature.
But, at the same time, the milk should not be refrigerated and left in cold temperatures, since too-cold temperatures will prevent the live bacteria from actively fermenting the milk properly.
It results in a runny and thin consistency of the yogurt, having a lot of watery elements in it.
Therefore, around 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 43 to 46 degrees Celsius) is the ideal temperature in which the milk ferments the best.
Not only does it require the optimal temperature, but the milk also needs ample and adequate time to get fermented into a thick, creamy, delicious, healthy, nutritious, and yummy yogurt. It is during the incubation time, the bacteria in the starter culture multiplies and sets on the yogurt formation in place.
Therefore, when you have set the yogurt to incubate, do not be over-anxious and rush off to see now and then how it is turning up. This will ruin the process and result in an underdeveloped yogurt. Rather, give the milk sufficient time (ideally 6 to 12 hours) for incubation and turn it into the yogurt you desire.
5. Wrong Storage
Yogurt gets prepared overnight. However, ensure the utensils and storage units are clean. Leftover yogurt from the previous batch or contaminated with any other kind of bacteria will affect the finished product.
Therefore, any residual bacteria or contaminants can interfere with the growth of the yogurt cultures. Additionally, avoid using metal utensils, as they can react with the acid in the yogurt, affecting its taste and texture.
Some Cautionary Measures Go A Long Way
If you know about the mistakes, you can consciously avoid them. Knowing that yogurt-making is simple is great, but becoming aware that a silly mistake can ruin all your efforts will attune you to be cautious while preparing an utterly delicious and nutritious yogurt at home.
It's very cost-effective and offers you the liberty to try preparing different kinds of yogurts at home once you get the hang of it. Remember, choosing the right yogurt starter, milk, and incubation vessel is the key, but knowing the correct procedure is vital as well.