Troubleshooting in Homemade Yogurt

Does your homemade yogurt is runny, separate, foamy, too sour, too liquid?  Here is a list of the most common troubleshooting while making homemade yogurt and working with starter cultures when things go a little awry.

Homemade Yogurt

Why Homemade Yogurt Runny?

A runny or liquid texture is the natural state of raw milk yogurt; However, Homemade yogurt is runny for two reasons:

  • Raw milk is rich in food enzymes and these food enzymes will continue to digest the milk and produce runny or liquid yogurt.
  • Raw milk’s proteins have not been denatured through heat. Pasteurizing milk denatures its proteins to some extent, and this allows them to be reorganized and better coagulated during the culturing process.

Why Did Homemade Yogurt Separate Or Turn Lumpy?

Culturing yogurt for extended period of time at too high temperature or with compromised starter culture can cause yogurt to separate or turn lumpy.  If your yogurt turns lumpy, strain it to remove the whey and beat the yogurt solids in a bowl with a whisk until it turns smooth.  Also, make sure to culture thermophilic yogurts at temperatures of 108 to 112 F and room temperature yogurts at 68 to 78oF.

Why Yogurt Is Too Sour Or Not Sour Enough?

The hotter the temperature at which yogurt cultures and longer it cultures, the sourer it will be. The typical culturing time is 8 to 12 hours.  If your yogurt is too sour, culture it at the lower range of temperatures listed for your starter, and for a shorter duration until it acquires the flavor you like.

Why Homemade Yogurt Is Foamy or Stringy And Smell Like Beer?

If homemade yogurt is foamy, stringy or smells like beer or bread, it is likely contaminated by yeast.  This can be wild yeast naturally present in your home and on your hands.  To prevent it from happening, make sure to practice good hygiene in the kitchen using clean equipment.

Why Homemade Yogurt Grainy Or Gritty?

If your yogurt tastes fine, but has a weird gritty or grainy texture, this typically indicates that you heated the milk too fast. Allow the milk to come to 1800F more slowly next time.

Why Is Homemade Yogurt Moldy?

Rarely, someone experiences mold on the surface of yogurt when making at room temperature.  This can be due to:

  • Poorly cleaned jars and utensils
  • A compromised starter culture
  • Very old milk that wasn’t properly heated and then cooled down prior to culturing
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