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Volume II
July 13, 2007

Trouble-Shooting Yogurt


Loved your article, "Yogurt in the Kitchen". I started making my own yogurt about a month ago, using a yogurt maker. All has been fine until my most recent batch.

This time, the texture is odd, so the first thing I'm concerned about: Is it safe to eat?

Thanks to your "troubleshooting yogurt" section, I think I know what I did wrong, but first, the texture: sort of "stringy" and "stretchy"- smelled okay, but I'm afraid to taste it.

My usual process:
Whole organic milk, 42 oz in a big Pyrex cup, microwave 9-10 minutes, 180 degrees on a thermometer. (At the same time, starter -commercial whole milk organic plain yogurt, 6 oz, from a 1-quart container- warms to room temp in another Pyrex cup.) Normally, let cool 1 hour. Pour 6 oz of milk into starter, mix well, add back to milk, mix well, pour into seven 7 oz jars, incubate 6 hours, cover jars, put in fridge. Result: lovely yogurt!

Where I think I screwed it up:
Ran out to meet visitors, inadvertently left warmed milk, starter (not combined) sitting on counter until we returned, 5 or 6 hours later. Mixed milk and starter as usual, poured into jars, incubated, refrigerated. This morning, stringy and stretchy.

So, is it safe to eat? (Have no clue, but I hope so!) And where did I go wrong, process-wise?

My first guess:
Milk was not warm enough when I mixed in the starter. Possible contributing factors: contaminated or old starter (it was 2nd time I'd used from 32 oz container), and/or milk which was right at it's expiration date when I opened it. (Normally, we buy ingredients as needed and make yogurt right a way, but I got sick for a few days, so they were in the fridge much longer than usual.)

So, if you can tell me if I can safely eat my stretchy yogurt, and how it got that way, so I can avoid doing it again, I'd be most grateful. Also, does my normal proceed seem reasonable, or are there changes I need to make?

Thank you in advance, and best regards.

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