The yogurt cultures in the jars will probably seem very similar in several ways, with some subtle differences based on the original type of yogurt used to make them. Try culturing the yogurt in the cooler for a longer amount of time, such as seven hours. •     Two clean forks Empty out any water.

This means that there are living bacteria in the yogurt!

Compare their appearance, firmness, smell and taste to the original yogurts. The yogurt cultures, however, may have small differences in taste and color based on the original yogurt used to make them. •     Add one tablespoon of the yogurt to each of the three appropriate jars.

Was the yogurt in all of the jars firm and white?

•     Two different types of yogurt. Yogurt Making Illustrated from David B. Fankhauser, PhD, University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Instead, these cultures have the amazing ability to turn plain old milk into a yummy yogurt treat. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. If you use a thick-bottomed pot instead of a double boiler, stir frequently. 50°C (122°F) is a temperature that yogurt bacteria grow well at.

Overall, multiple factors affect the yogurt culture, including: the presence of some nonliving diluted ingredients from the original yogurt such as diluted Red 40 coloring, the exact process used to make the culture such as the amount of time in the cooler, and the types and amount of bacteria that were in the original yogurt. You should also be able to refrigerate the sealed yogurt … Cover the jars immediately with their lids and tighten them. •     Quickly heat up about one gallon (3.8 liters) of water until it is at 122 degrees F (50 degrees C).

Thoroughly clean the measuring tablespoon.

How does the yogurt look and smell?

Have they solidified? How do added stabilizers (such as gelatin), using organic yogurt compared with regular yogurt or other factors, like fat content, affect what a yogurt's culture is like? •     Did the yogurt cultures all gel?

•     Extra: Try testing which type of milk makes the tastiest yogurt. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Other types of milk can be used instead.

•     Open the second yogurt container and stir it with a new clean fork. In this activity you'll find out!

•     Add the hot water to the cooler so that the jars are surrounded, but the water is well below the lid rims. Cleanup

You should then aliquot the culture and freeze at the lowest possible temperature (a home freezer isn't really cold enough but if you don't have another solution it will do) for future use. •     Half gallon of whole milk. Likewise, if the original yogurt was a bit sour (like Greek yogurt), the culture should also be a little sour. Alternatively, you can cool the pot in a clean, plugged sink with water. Are they firm or runny?

Be careful not to let the milk boil over! The acidity of yogurt (from lactic acid) helps preserve it and prevent potentially harmful bacteria from growing. A live culture challenge from Science Buddies, Key concepts

Discover world-changing science.

If the yogurt is not firm at all, but is actually fluid or runny, something may have gone wrong in the process and killed the bacteria—most likely the milk was too hot when added to the yogurt starters.

•     Stirring spoon

Cover the yogurt and keep it in a warm place. •     Permanent marker

How do they look, smell and taste compared with the original yogurt that was used? Materials Put the lids back on. •     Cooler •     Remove the pot from the stove and place it in a pan of clean, cool water, until the milk is close to 130 degrees F (55 degrees C ). If you look at the ingredients listed on the yogurt product's packaging, you can often figure out the exact species of bacteria that it contains. Carefully remove them from the pot in which they were boiled and arrange them on a clean surface.

Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Better Homemade Yogurt: 5 Ways to Make Thicker Yogurt, Live and Active Culture (LAC) Yogurt FAQ's.

How does the type of milk affect what the resultant yogurt is like?

How does using more or less yogurt affect the yogurt culture? •     Large double boiler (or a thick-bottomed pot) with lid •     Large pan or sink that can be plugged They should also be relatively firm, or firm enough so they do not slosh when tipped, and all have a similar texture.

Make sure that all cookware is clean and handled properly to keep unwanted bacteria out of the yogurt cultures. Observations and results Direct-set or single-use cultures are added to a batch of milk to produce a single batch of yogurt.

How are the cultures of each type of yogurt similar or different from each other?

How does the yogurt look and smell? With some care, a direct-set starter may be re-cultured two or three times by using some of the yogurt as starter for a new batch.

Because the bacteria have partially broken down the milk already, it is thought to make yogurt easier for us to digest. •     Pour the half gallon (two liters) of milk into the large double boiler or thick-bottomed pot.

Be careful, they will be hot! •     Put the cooler in a warm location and do not disturb it for three hours.

•     Adult help and supervision with heating and handling hot liquids For example, if the original yogurt was really sweet, the yogurt culture should be only mildly sweet. •     While the milk is cooling, prepare your jars.

(Note: The yogurt bacteria can be killed if exposed to temperatures above 130 degrees F, so be careful not to add milk that is too hot!) If you are using a large cooler and one gallon of water is not enough water to reach about 5 cm (2 inches) from the jars' lids, heat up more water to 50°C (122°F) and add it until the water is about 2.5-5 cm (1-2 inches) from the lid rims. •     To successfully make yogurt, a good, sterile technique is needed. •     Water •     Be careful when sterilizing the jars—the pot and everything inside of it will become very hot.

If you are using canning jars that are larger than eight ounces (235 milliliters) in size, only fill them up to about six ounces (175 milliliters).

•     Extra: In this activity you cultured the yogurt for three hours in the cooler, but varying the amount of time that the yogurt is cultured for can affect its flavor. As most yogurt containers advertise, yogurt contains "live cultures." Have you ever wondered how yogurt is made, and why some yogurts differ from others? Yogurt Cultures from Science Buddies, This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies. Do the bacteria affect what the resultant yogurt culture looks, feels, tastes and smells like? •     Place the jars in a cooler and seal it. Eventually, however, a new powdered starter must be used.

If the yogurt cultures were made correctly, you should be able to enjoy your jars of yogurt as a tasty, healthy snack! •     Once the milk has reached 130 degrees F, carefully pour it into the jars, filling them to about one half inch (1.5 centimeters) from the top. Do not to touch the inside of the jars. Bacteria, which are a type of microorganism, turn milk into yogurt. •     Extra: You can test if the amount of starter used in the yogurt culture makes a better product. Does it look, smell or taste different? Use new, unopened containers. Does it take a longer or shorter time to solidify? Try to pick types with multiple features that differ, such as one kind that is white and unsweetened (such as a Greek yogurt) and another that is artificially colored (such as by the food dye Red 40) and sweet. •     Heat the milk at 185 to 195 degrees F (85 to 90 degrees C), keeping the pot covered.

•     Refrigerate the jars overnight. Do they smell good or bad?

Is this the same way the original yogurts differed from each other? Bacteria

Do this by separating these pieces and putting them all in a large pot, adding about one inch (2.5 centimeters) of water, covering the pot, and boiling the water for 10 minutes. If the yogurt cultures were made correctly, you should be able to enjoy your jars of yogurt as a tasty, healthy snack! Some species you might find listed include: Streptococcus thermophilus (S. thermophilus); Lactobacillus bulgaricus (L. bulgaricus); L. acidophilus; L. casei; L. rhamnosus; Bifidobacterium animalis (B. animalis, or sometimes just "Bifidus"); and B. bifidum. The lactic acid is what causes the milk, as it ferments, to thicken and taste tart. Then turn off the heat and let the jars sit, still covered, in the pot. Fermentation

Just sterilize some milk, add a spoonful of yogurt, allow it to incubate at ~36C for a couple of hours and hey-presto, you have your own culture. •     Wash your hands with soap and rinse them thoroughly.

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