My husband has been making me yogurt, and smoothies from it, for years. During my year of cancer treatment, there were times it was all I could manage.I have a recent problem, though, and hoping someone can help. I recently had some Greek yogurt from a store, and he tried to make a batch of homemade using the Fage. Everything else was the same, but it didn't "yog," as we say. Any suggestions ?I also wonder if there's a strict definition of Greek yogurt. I've read that they strain out the whey, but I've done that with my yogurt, and it doesn't have the same mouth-feel. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of info on the labels, so I'm left wondering about things like "what animal did this milk come from - cow, sheep, goat ?"Any info welcome.
Anonymous - if your yogurt didn't "yog" there are several possible causes which I outline in the article. Maybe your milk was too hot when you added the starter, or maybe it wasn't warm enough, or perhaps you didn't leave it long enough. But if you are an experienced "yogger" it is more likely that your starter culture wasn't live, or active enough, to get your milk going. You said you used Fage - they manufacture Total Greek Yogurt, the most popular Greek yogurt in the UK. I found several answers to your questions from their website. It says:
TOTAL Greek Yoghurt is made from fresh cows’ milk, cream and live active yoghurt culture
So if you used Total yogurt then you can rule out sheeps' milk etc. Do you use full fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk for your home yogurt making? They can all be used, but it makes a lot of difference to the finished product. You might also try adding some cream to your milk to try to replicate the Total mouth-feel. And finally you could play around with the exact amount of straining to get the result you prefer. If you don't strain long enough your yogurt will be rather thinner than if you strained for longer. Strain too long and you're on your way you a sort of cream cheese, which might not be to your taste. I like to strain my yogurt through muslin for around 2 hours.
The website also says:
TOTAL Greek Yoghurt is made with live active cultures.
That means it can be used as a yogurt starter. But still, the starter could have been the cause of your yogging failure if it wasn't fresh enough. I always get the best results with spanking fresh yogurt (read the "best before label", don't just assume that if you bought it from the store yesterday it must be fresh), and I sometimes get failures from using my own yogurt as a starter if I leave it too long between making batches.
As far as I know there is nothing special about the microorganisms in Greek yogurt. It is the process that makes it different from regular yogurt. You can make Greek yogurt using any live yogurt. I can't find anything on the Total website about the particular culture they use.
Good luck, Anonymous, with your quest to make perfect Greek yogurt. I don't know about you, but I always enjoy this kind of journey immensely. The sense of satisfaction when you achieve your goal is indescribable. Please keep in touch and let us know if you learn anything new about yogurt making.