I've gotten quite a few questions to add to the FAQ lately. I've picked a few to share here that come up a lot, and encourage readers to not only check the FAQ, but not to hesitate to contact me via my homemade yogurt website for the answers to questions.
What is the difference between regular American yogurt and Greek yogurt?
- Greek yogurt is very popular on the American market right now. Having never been to Greece, I cannot comment on whether or not what we are seeing is authentic. But I do know that it contains cream in addition to milk. So the added fat is contributing to the nice thick texture. Also, it is a strained product. After the yogurt has incubated, it is set on a fine sieve, and some of the whey runs out, making it thicker yet. Surely some of the healthy bacteria in the yogurt goes with it. So between the loss of cultures and added fat, I typically don't eat it. I just have some gelato if I am looking for this type of dairy treat.
Can I use raw milk to make yogurt.
- Absolutely. Where I live it is illegal to sell raw milk, but I have had it given to me by a friend. It made deliciously thick yogurt, since it is full fat. The steps are identical to using store-bought milk.
Do I really need to heat the milk to 185 F first?
- In absolute terms, no. But if you want thick yogurt (without thickeners) that turns out great every time, you should not skip this step. Heating the milk to 185 F denatures the proteins in the milk, allowing more of the whey (liquid) to be held in by the curds. When people write to me and say their yogurt is thin, 9 times out of 10 it is because they skipped this step.
Can I flavor my yogurt before it is done incubating?
- No, you should always wait until the yogurt has incubated for seven hours and spent overnight in the fridge. The sugars and other ingredients in flavorings like honey, jelly, james, etc., can interfere with the incubation of the cultures.
Can I use coconut milk to make yogurt?
- Coconut milk is not really milk. It's pulverized coconut flesh and coconut water. So making yogurt in the strictest sense is not possible, since it lacks milk sugar (lactose). However, if a suitable sugar can be added to satisfy the cultures you have added, there is no reason it couldn't turn into yogurt, or at least some type of coconut moonshine.
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