First Yogurt Making Attempt

I don’t drink much milk. When I was a kid, I spent a great deal of time in a hospital and rheumatoid arthritis. Medication for that consisted of up to 36 ASA tablets a day, and I had to drink milk with them. Drinking milk became a chore “because I had to” and I soon got tired of milk. However, I recovered after four years and as a teenager, the arthritis disappeared. But I still did not drink milk. Then, I got a job on a dairy farm. Boy did I ever start to love milk again! There is nothing in the grocery stores that compares to raw, fresh whole milk.

Having had raw fresh whole milk for several years while working on the farm spoiled me, and today I drink very little of it because I just don’t like the taste as much as raw milk. Here in Canada, milk generally comes in 3 ways – skim (totally yuck), 2% (meh), and then 3.25% butter fat, which is ok but not nearly as good as that raw milk taken from the huge milk cooler after the cows had been milked.

In Canada, we call our 3.25 percent milk “homogenized.” Most Canadians call it “homo milk” for short. I remember attending a convention here in Canada, that was attended by mostly Americans, and some of them ended up in Shoppers Drug Mart while I was in there as well. In the refrigerator section, there was a sign that said “Homo Milk On Sale.”  I overheard some pretty funny remarks by the Americans as to what in the world “homo milk” could be.

So with that introduction, I found myself with about 2 litres of 2% milk in the fridge that I had not drank. I had purchased it thinking my son would be visiting but due to a family emergency, he had to fly out west so the milk languished in the fridge. It was still ok and had not soured, so I thought that instead of letting it go to waste, I’d try my first yogurt batch. I had some instructions that seemed pretty straightforward:

  • 1/2 a gallon of milk (which is about 2 litres) into a large microwaveable container.
  • Microwave for 5 minutes and check to see if there is a skim on top. If not, continuing microwaving for 1 minute intervals, checking in between for the skim
  • Allow to cool for about 20 minutes
  • Stir in a half a cup of yogurt
  • Turn the oven on and let the temperature rise to about 120 degrees. Turn off the oven but turn on the oven light.

Set the milk into the oven. Check in four hours. It could take longer for the yogurt to set.

Well, I followed those directions but there was no sign of the yogurt setting after 4 hours. It still had the consistency of milk. Another 4 hours – same thing. I decided to sleep after checking a couple of hours later and seeing no change. When I awoke, the stuff still had not set and thickened like yogurt, although it had a yogurty taste to it. So I’m not exactly sure what went wrong.

I know there was enough heat in the oven from the oven light as when I went to turn on the oven, it said the temperature was 109F. 110 is supposed to be ideal. Maybe the milk was not fresh enough – I don’t know if that would make a difference. Or it could have been the fact that the only yogurt I had was a flavored one, brand name of “iOGO,” which was on sale at my local supermarket a few days ago. It does say in the ingredients that it contains an “active bacterial culture” but perhaps with the other ingredients including sugar, corn and rice starch (why would they put that in yogurt?),  natural flavours, pectin, lemon concentrate, and locust bean gum, it prevented the active bacterial culture from multiplying.

So,  haven’t up though. I’ve got some fresh “homo milk” in the fridge and purchased an unflavored Greek style yogurt which has the only ingredients of  skim milk, cream and active bacterial cultures. Nothing else. I’ll try that as a starter and see what happens.

One Response to First Yogurt Making Attempt

  • George Mikkelson says:

    I think it is the brand of yogurt culture you used as a starter. Look forward to your results with using a more pure starter that contains only milk and bacterial culture.

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