Monday, April 25, 2011

Yogurt Chronicles II

I've been pondering on earth did people keep up with making yogurt before they could order the cultures in neat little packets from  I know in theory that the previous batch can be used to culture a new batch, but my understanding is that the cultures will eventually die out.  Plus that means you need to continually make a new batch before the old batch is gone.  Hmm...

Anyways, this led me to my little experiment.  As usual, I divided 1/2 gallon of creamline milk between two mason jars and followed my usual method.  I followed the directions on the yogurt package and added the whole thing to one jar (previously I used 1/2 and 2/3 of the packet).  To the other jar, I added about 2 T of my previous yogurt batch, strained to make it a bit thicker.  I then let the yogurt culture for about 16 hours.  Of course, I forgot to add more hot water before I went to bed, but I don't think it made a difference.  One less step...

The yogurt made from the culture packet was noticeably thicker than my previous batches but still not as thick as store bought yogurt.  The yogurt made from re-cultured yogurt turned out exactly the same as the previous batch - relatively thin.  So that answers one question -- yes, the cultures can be reused.  I wonder how long that will continue to work?  Regardless, that should save a few pennies on purchased cultures.  If I use a full packet in each jar and then reculture it at least once, that should yield a thicker yogurt for the same price as using only a half packet in each jar.  Who said I wasn't frugal?? 

In the photos above, you can see that the yogurt made from re-cultured yogurt (left) has quite a bit more whey visible.

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