What kind of milk should I use? Any type of pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized dairy milk, such as skim, 1%, 2%, whole milk, or half and half. Goat milk may yield thin results.
Can I use raw milk? No. It contains competing bacteria.
How can I make my yogurt thicker? There are several ways to improve the thickness of the yogurt. Whole milk or adding a little cream can make your yogurt thicker. But don’t use all cream as this doesn’t have enough lactose for the bacteria to form yogurt. You can add a tablespoon of powdered milk for every 8 fluid ounces of milk to help make it thicker, or instead, you could try adding 1 tbsp. of prebiotic fiber per quart, whisking well before fermentation. Heating the milk to high temperatures of 160-180°F and holding it there for 20 minutes denatures the proteins, allowing them to form a stronger curd. A higher temperature, held for a longer time, will give you a firmer yogurt. You can also strain it. (Keep the whey)
How long will the finished yogurt last in my refrigerator? In the refrigerator, it should last 7-10 days to allow you to re-culture another batch. It should stay edible for 2-3 weeks
Can I make larger quantities? Absolutely! Save time by making larger quantities. Remember to keep the ratios in proportion. For example, to make 2 quarts, double the quantities of all the ingredients; to make 3 quarts, triple the quantities, etc.
Can I use more than 1 sachet of starter culture? Only if you’re making larger quantities (see question on larger quantities), otherwise you'll be crowding the bacteria.
Can I use my yogurt to revive another culture (such as milk kefir)? No, combining different cultures leads to competition between bacteria. The different bacteria will want to dominate and can kill each other.
The Yogurt Plus starter contains L. reuteri bacteria. Why do we ferment at standard yogurt-maker temperatures if L. reuteri is heat-sensitive? Also, why do we ferment for only 8 hours, if L. reuteri should ideally ferment for 36 hours?
Temperatures: The standard yogurt-maker temperatures are necessary for the other bacteria in the starter. While slightly higher than ideal for L. reuteri, these temperatures are still within survivability range for the L. reuteri given the short fermentation time (only 8 hours, compared to 36 hours). If you have the option, set the temperature not higher than 106 F. If not, just use the standard yogurt-maker settings.
Duration: 8 hours is the optimal duration for the other 4 strains that comprise the Yogurt Plus starter. (L. reuteri is one of five strains that make up this starter.) L. reuteri certainly ferments and multiplies in 8 hours, only to a more modest final count than in 36 hours. 8 hours is already a longer fermenation than many store-bought yogurts, which are often only fermented for a couple of hours. Yogurt Plus is a superb 'all-purpose' probiotic yogurt. If you make Yogurt Plus, there will be decent quantities of L. reuteri in the final product, along with the other 4 strains. If you specifically want a very high count of only L. reuteri, with no other strains at all, we created a separate product for that: LR Superfood, for which fermentation time is 36 hours.
Is the temperature important when culturing yogurt?Yes. Stay within the recommended range of 100°F to 110°F. Too warm and the bacteria will die. Too cool and the culturing will halt, and will likely not start again, resulting in a thin end-product that is not fully fermented.
Why do I have to heat pasteurized milk when using the culture? Heating the milk to 180°F will kill any bacteria present in the milk that might compete with the bacteria in the culture. It will also help denature the protein to form a thicker curd. The goal is to destroy unwanted bacteria that could prevent the yogurt from setting or that could grow beside the good bacteria contained in the starter.
How many times can I reculture? For as long as your batch thickens and comes out pleasantly yogurty.
I've been reculturing many times. How will I know it's time to start over and use a starter from a sachet? When your batch is too sour, or doesn't thicken as before, it's time to start over.
Can I make yogurt without a starter culture? No, either a yogurt starter culture or some previously-made live yogurt is required in order to make yogurt.
What is a starter culture? A starter culture is a blend of bacteria that starts the culturing process, lowers the pH of the milk, and gives the resulting yogurt its tangy taste and firmer texture.
Which strains are in the starter? The Yogurt Plus Starter contains a proprietary blend of selected strains of S. thermophilus, L. delbrueckii, L. plantarum, L. reuteri, B. longum, as well as non-GMO inulin.
How long does an unopened sachet of starter culture keep in the refrigerator? The Best By date is printed on each pouch and on each sachet. Please keep the starter culture refrigerated for optimal shelf life.
Can I make yogurt without a yogurt maker? You will need a reliable method of keeping the temperature at a constant temperature of 100°F to 110°F. You could try using a sous vide device or an Instant Pot.
What should I do if the yogurt slightly curdles or if the whey separates from the curds? No problem! The yogurt is still good, just stir it to achieve a more even consistency.
What should I do if the yogurt has not firmed after 8 hours of culturing? You could leave it to ferment for a couple of hours longer. Do not poke or shake it while fermenting, and check again in 2 hours. Even if not fully firm (depending on the milk used), the yogurt will thicken while it cools down, and firm even more when placed in the fridge.
How does the fat content of the milk affect the yogurt? There's a direct correlation between the fat content of the milk that you use, and the creaminess of the resulting yogurt. Whole milk with a higher fat content will result in a rich, creamy yogurt; skim milk will produce a much less creamy texture.
Can I use metal utensils and lids to handle ferments? Overall yes, because the metal used in utensils and food-grade lids is most probably acid-resistant, and the utensil is not going to touch the ferment for that long. Metal lids can be used provided that they are acid-resistant and do not directly touch the fermented product for an extended period of time. Opt for the type of lids with a waxy interior, used for pickles, for example. If that interior is corroded though, better not use them. Also: the jar should not be full all the way to the top, to avoid direct contact between the ferment and the lid. There's no problem using stainless steel in the preparation stage, before fermenting.
When should I add flavorings such as fruit, sweeteners, etc.? Add these after the yogurt is fermented or before consumption.
Why is the starter shipped without ice? See answer to "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
Do you ship to Hawaii / Alaska / Puerto Rico? Yes. Shipping fees to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico are the same as to any address within the contiguous USA. We use ambient shipping (non-refrigerated, and without ice). Our starters are designed to remain active for several weeks in transit in hot weather, without refrigeration and without ice. The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. See "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather? Yes. Our starters are designed to remain active for several weeks in transit in hot weather, without refrigeration and without ice. The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. We have thoroughly tested our starters to ensure their viability in long transit during heatwaves, without ice and without refrigeration. For this reason, we use ambient shipping, which is significantly less costly for the customer. We keep the starters in a cold warehouse until orders are shipped. When your order is shipped we send you a tracking number so that you can see when it is due to arrive. Once received, the starter should be refrigerated or frozen, and you can use it as normal. Your batch should thicken and come out pleasantly yogurty. See also "I forgot to refrigerate the starter. Is it still active?"
I forgot to refrigerate the starter. Is it still active? This depends on how long the starter has been left at ambient temperature and if the Best By date is still valid. The starter is designed to remain active for several weeks (and depending on ambient temperatures, even longer) at room/warm temperatures (usually for transit purposes). The formula and the packaging provide excellent protection for the live strains. If the delay is much longer and the temperatures are very high, the viability may be affected. That said, reduction in viability is a slow process that does not happen immediately, even past Best By date. You could try compensating for the possible decrease in viability by increasing the ratio of starter to dairy (for example, by using 2-3 sachets to make one quart, leaving the rest of the ingredients unchanged), and by fermenting for a little longer, if needed, to let the bacteria 'catch up' by proliferation over time. See instructions. Your batch should thicken and come out pleasantly yogurty. There's no harm in consuming inactive bacteria; this is equivalent to consuming no bacteria at all. If all goes well, you could later use some of your ready batch to make future larger batches. Remember to keep the starter refrigerated (or frozen) until you're ready to use it. See also "I live in a hot place. Is the starter still active after being shipped unrefrigerated in hot weather?"
What are the starter's caloric/nutrition facts? These are printed on the back of the pouch. But overall, our starters contain such minuscule quantities of powder, that they are too tiny to have any impact on the final result's caloric values. Our starters come in sachets of 1g - 3g of powder (depending on the starter), most of which, apart from the live strains, is either a carrier fiber containing no caloric value, or a trace of a natural sugar containing only a negligible value. When these teensy quantities of 1g - 3g are added to a quart of dairy, the starter's original caloric values, if ever there were any, become entirely diluted in the overall mass, and are practically non-detectable. The final result's nutritional values of calories/fats/carbs etc., come directly from the dairy that the starter was added to, not from the starter itself. For example, if you use whole milk or half and half, it will add more fat to your final result than skim milk.
Is the starter gluten-free/dairy-free/lactose-free/vegan? Although the starter contains no animal products, no gluten, and no dairy (and hence no lactose), it is primarily designed to ferment dairy, and is packaged in a shared facility that also handles products that may contain wheat, soy, eggs, milk, and fish.
Is the starter certified Kosher? No. Our starters are not certified Kosher.
Where is the starter made? In the USA.
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