This summer I finally achieved my goal of making yogurt. I found a method which worked well and so I posted Making Yogurt Is Easy. It is easy…in the summer. Once winter hit and the temperatures dropped, my “easy” yogurt became decidedly hard!
Winter= runny yogurt. In other words, FAIL! I just could not get it to set. I couldn’t figure out exactly what was going wrong! After a few tries, I finally figured out what was going wrong. Its the winter temperatures which are making my yogurt fail! My original instructions said to preheat the oven to 200 degrees and then turn off. Then incubate the yogurt in the warmed up oven until it sets.
In the winter, the oven cools too quickly to maintain a good temperature for incubation and the yogurt won’t set. So here are a few things to do to help your yogurt set in the cooler temps.
1) Get an oven thermometer and maintain an even temp.
Yogurt needs to incubate at between 100-110 degrees F. If it dips below, your yogurt won’t set, so you basically just have milk. If it goes above 120 degrees your milk will get too warm and you’ll end up with separated curds and whey. Get an oven thermometer and you can make sure to preheat the oven to just around 100 degrees. If it starts to dip below you can quickly turn the oven on to its lowest setting for 2 minutes or so until you get enough heat to boost the temp back to 100.
2) Wrap your incuabting yogurt in a towel.
Wraping the milk mixture in a towel before placing in the oven will help insulate the heat and keep the yogurt warmer longer to help it set.
3) Leave the oven light on and use a candle to add a little heat.
Placing a small candle in the oven will help add a small amount of heat to keep up the temp without pushing it too much over the 100 degree mark. You can also leave the light on to keep the heat up.