Readers have asked me this question more than once. Searching the internet produced answers that didn’t add up. Fortunately, this problem had never occurred in my own experience, so I was stumped.
Then it happened.
I made a batch of yogurt using a different starter than ever before. Even though I made my yogurt the exact same as always, it turned out grainy. My daughter-in-law mentioned hers was sometimes grainy, too, although it still tasted good. As we talked, I decided the culprit just might be the starter.
Sure enough, when I set out to recreate the grainy texture, I discovered using starter with additives was the bad boy. I’m not saying it is the only cause, but this will definitely do it. Using too much starter as discussed here can be another offender.
In the picture above, the labels for each of the starters (commercially made yogurt purchased locally) all claimed to have “live active yogurt cultures.” They all made yogurt successfully. However, the yogurt shown on the bottom three spoons was made with yogurt that 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 lowfat yogurt)
The smooth and creamy yogurt seen on the top three spoons was made 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.
Incidentally, all of the yogurt on the bottom row was made from cheaper yogurt than the two on the top left. Of course, my own on the upper right was FREE!
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. Whether it’s Greek yogurt or regular makes no difference in my experience.
Here lately, I take this treat to work with me everyday. It is my homemade nonfat Greek yogurt topped with Speedy Blackberry Cobbler but substituting whatever fresh or frozen fruit I can find in my kitchen for the blackberries. I can get 6-7 servings from one recipe and need no extra sugar added to my yogurt, so the total calorie count is quite reasonable.