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Why Is My Homemade Yogurt Grainy?

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Sneak Preview: Find out why your homemade yogurt is grainy in this discussion about some possible causes of not-so-nice grainy yogurt.

Did your homemade yogurt turn out grainy? I feel your disappointment. While it may taste alright and it’s safe to eat, it’s probably not what you were going for. Right?

I’ve encountered this problem of grainy yogurt myself. It’s so frustrating! I don’t have all the answers. Based on my experience I’ve figured out one reason for sure.

two batches of yogurt one is grainy and one is not.
LEFT: Smooth yogurt RIGHT: Grainy yogurt

Recently, I made a batch of yogurt using a different starter than ever before. Despite using the exact same method as always, my yogurt turned out grainy. When I complained, my daughter-in-law chimed in that sometimes hers was grainy as well.

Both of us thought our yogurt still tasted good. We talked and compared. Seemed like our starter might be the culprit.  Here are the conclusions from my most unscientific investigation.


Possible answers to the question, “Why is my homemade yogurt grainy?”

  1. Sure enough, in recreating the grainy texture, I discovered using a starter with additives can be problematic. I’m not saying it is the only cause, but this will definitely do it.
  2. Using too much starter as discussed here can be another cause.
a comparison of six batches in which three turned out grainy and three did not.
The three spoons at the bottom of this picture turned out grainy apparently due to additives in the yogurt used as a starter.

The results of my experiment

In the picture above, the labels for each of the starters (commercially-made yogurt purchased locally) claim to have “live active yogurt cultures.” All will make yogurt successfully.

Note that the yogurt shown on the bottom three spoons contained some type of additive.

  • Lower left: inulin (a type of fiber) and pectin (The Greek Gods nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
  • Lower middle: pectin (Krogers nonfat, plain yogurt)
  • Lower right: corn starch and gelatin (Braum’s low-fat yogurt)

The smooth and creamy yogurt on the top three spoons originated with the following starters:

  • Upper left: Fage nonfat yogurt
  • Upper middle: Stonyfield nonfat yogurt
  • Upper left: My own homemade yogurt that had been in the freezer for at least 6 months.

The moral of the story??

When you purchase commercially produced yogurt to use as a starter, stick to yogurt with live cultures, but NO additives.

Does it matter if I use Greek yogurt or regular yogurt as a starter?

Whether it’s Greek yogurt or regular makes no difference in my experience.

Bonus: A blackberry cobbler a là yogurt

blackberry cobbler mixed with non-grainy yogurt

Here lately, I take this treat to work with me every day. Pictured above is my homemade nonfat Greek yogurt topped with Speedy Blackberry Cobbler. 

If I don’t have blackberries, I’m fond of substituting whatever fresh or frozen fruit I can find in my kitchen. Since I can get 6-7 servings from one recipe, the total calorie count is quite reasonable.



If you are still trying to perfect your method for making yogurt at home, I am including a video of the way I make yogurt. Maybe it will give you some ideas.

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

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