Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the shelf life of the yoghurt and probiotic cultures?
- How should I store my yoghurt culture?
- What is the difference between a Best Before Date and Use By Date?
- Why do we send two Sterile Jars?
- Does the Yoghurt Culture contain any dairy?
- Does the Yoghurt Culture contain any allergens?
- Why has my yoghurt culture started clumping together?
- How much culture do I use?
- Can I make Yoghurt with just your culture, or do I have to use a probiotic too?
- Can I make Yoghurt with just your ABC probiotic culture, without the yoghurt culture?
- Can I add the ABC Probiotic Culture when making non-dairy yoghurt with the Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture?
- Can I use my Non-Dairy yoghurt culture to make Dairy yoghurt?
- Can I clone more yoghurt from the yoghurt I make with your Yoghurt Culture?
- Why is there a special Non-Dairy culture, if both the Mild and Tangy yoghurt cultures work with Soy Milk
- Can I make yoghurt out of goat’s milk?
- Why should I heat dairy milk to 90° C.?
- Do I have to add the extra milk powder?
- How is Powdered Milk made, and does it have additives?
- Can I use Soy or other milk?
- What coconut cream should I use to make my coconut yoghurt?
- Do I still heat dairy milk alternatives to 90° C?
- When making non-dairy yoghurt the recipe calls for some sugar to feed the bacteria. What kind of sugar should I be using?
If you have a question or require help with your yoghurt making, please call (07) 3808 2576 or email us with as much information about your question or problem as possible at email@example.com.
What is the shelf life of the yoghurt and probiotic cultures?
How should I store my yoghurt culture?
The yoghurt and probiotic cultures are freeze-dried and require "long term storage" in the freezer. The cultures also readily absorb moisture out of the air so should be kept in airtight containers which should only be opened at room temperature.
We supply two sterile jars for storage of the cultures. Please see the next FAQ for more information regarding this.
What is the difference between a Best Before Date and Use By Date?
A Use By Date is put on products that must be used or disposed of before the date supplied as these foods will deteriorate and could become dangerous to consume. A Best Before Date is put on products to indicate that the product is literally best before the date supplied but can still be used after that date.
When used with culture products the Best Before Date is applied by the manufacturers who must allow a certain leeway for the time the products are in transit etc. and are not being stored as proscribed. Given that both our suppliers and ourselves take great care to ensure these products are stored correctly prior to shipment we are more than confident, and experience has shown, that these products will be able to be used successfully well past the dates on the packaging.
Why do we send two Sterile Jars?
The two jar storage and dosing method help to keep the culture in the best condition, helping prevent cross-contamination and with dose control. We recommend placing approximately 90% of the culture in one jar, rarely opened, and have another jar with a small amount of culture in as your working supply.
When a cold item is taken from the freezer moisture condenses onto it out of the air. This is true of the opened sterile jar with culture inside.
With Yoghurt Culture and the Probiotic Culture both requiring storage in a freezer and being so concentrated, the storage jar will be opened many times, if kept only in one jar, before being used up and it is impossible to keep the culture 100% dry.
This also has a side benefit of reducing the chance of the contamination of the culture. If the working stock does get contaminated, at least the main supply is still OK.
If you have used sterile jars from your last batch of culture, they are no longer sterile and are not suitable for reuse.
Does the Yoghurt Culture contain any dairy?
Sacco's cheese and yoghurt cultures are grown on a dairy based medium. At the end of propagation, the starter culture cells are physically separated from this medium, then concentrated and freeze-dried. Very little, if any of the dairy components end up in the final starter culture. However because people with allergies to dairy protein can be sensitive to parts per million (ppm) levels, Sacco cannot guarantee that such levels are not present in their cultures, and therefore declare that all of their cheese and yoghurt cultures may contain traces of dairy.
We do have a specialist Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture, actually grown on a non-dairy base, so as not to contain any dairy at all.
Does the Yoghurt Culture contain any allergens?
We have Allergen Declarations from Sacco, who supply our Yoghurt and Probiotic Cultures.
Why should I heat dairy milk to 90° C.?
Heating the milk to 90° C for a short time breaks down a protein in milk, enabling the culture to do its work better, making a thicker heartier yoghurt.
If using UHT milk, there is no need to do this as it has already been done as part of the "Ultra Heat Treatment", that UHT stands for. Just heat your milk to 40° C before adding the culture.
Do I have to add the extra milk powder?
Adding the extra milk powder simply gives the culture more lactose and dairy protein to "eat", this makes the yoghurt thicker and heartier without adding extra thickeners, such as agar-agar or gelatin.
If you wish to make a thinner "drinking yoghurt" simply leave out the milk powder.
If you wish to make a thicker yoghurt without using milk powder, hanging the yoghurt in a tight weave cheesecloth is a way of getting it to thicken by draining the whey. This will reduce the amount of end product.
How is Powdered Milk made, and does it have additives?
Powdered milk is made from fresh, pasteurised milk. First, the milk is concentrated in an evaporator until 50% of the milk solids remain. Next, the concentrated milk is sprayed into a heated chamber where the water almost instantly evaporates, leaving behind tiny dry milk particles.
Powdered milk has the following ingredients, that all came from the milk:
- Nonfat Dry Milk
- Vitamin A Palmitate
- Vitamin D3
Instant powdered milk has a small amount of soy (322) as an emulsifier, this what prevents clumping and makes mixing 'instant'.
If your powdered milk has any of the following listed, it is not real powdered milk:
- sweet dairy whey
- non-fat dry milk solids
- partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: canola oil and/or soy oil)
- corn syrup solids
- sodium caseinate
- dipotassium phosphate
- propylene glycol monostearate
- mono and diglycerides
All the powdered milk we have seen in Aussie supermarkets are good quality products.
My yoghurt has a stringy consistency, how can I fix this?
A stringy, almost slimy consistency is typical of yoghurt fermented at too low a temperature.
With thermos style, yoghurt makers try increasing the temperature and also monitoring the temperature over the fermentation period to make sure that it stays with the temperature range of 37 to 43° C.
With electric yoghurt makers, if the milk goes in too cold, the cultures may experience unbalanced growth as the milk slowly heats up to 40° C, this unbalanced culture growth may lead to an undesirable texture. We have found that preheating the milk to between 35 and 40° C, negates this effect.
Can I use Soy or other milk?
Yes! All of our yoghurt cultures work with soy milk, almond milk, and coconut cream.
The addition of a small amount of sugar to act as food for the cultures may be needed depending on the sugar content of the milk, and a thickening agent is needed for almond and coconut yoghurts.
Can I make yoghurt out of goat’s milk?
Yes, you can. Goat’s milk has fat, protein and lactose, just the same as cow’s milk, although they are different. This means that the lactic acid bacteria used to make yoghurt will work in goat’s milk as well as cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenised and when using this milk to make yoghurt or cheese the curd is always softer. The use of powdered milk and calcium chloride is essential to get a thick yoghurt, but even when I do that, I have never seen goat’s milk yoghurt get as thick as cow’s milk yoghurt. Powdered goat’s milk is readily available at the grocery store.
What coconut cream should I use to make my coconut yoghurt?
You would think that if you bought a can/packet of coconut cream, what would be in the can/packet would be coconut cream and nothing else, but that is not the case. Sadly, not all coconut creams are created equal.
To get premium coconut yoghurt you need to use a good quality coconut cream that has not been watered down. It is disappointing, but the fact is that one of the main ingredients in many coconut creams is actually water. If you use one of these to make your coconut yoghurt, then the result will be a watered down coconut cream.
It is always important to read the ingredients to see what is actually in the can. I have in the past recommended a brand only to find out later that they have changed their formulation and it no longer gets the result I am looking for. For that reason, I am not going to recommend a particular brand, as if they do change their formulation, it will become bad advice.
Here is a quick review of some popular, readily available coconut creams on the market as of September 2018.
Coconut cream 99.9%
It also has stabilizers ( Xanthan Gum E415, Guar Gum E412 and Carrageenan E407), I am assuming here that all three add up to .01%
Xanthan gum is a sugar-like compound made from bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris, through a process of fermentation.
Guar gum is derived from the seeds of the drought tolerant plant Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, a member of Leguminosae family (Whistler and Hymowitz 1979; Kay 1979; Prem et al. 2005).
Carrageenan is an extract from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus, commonly known as Irish Moss.
Apart from the fact that all three of these ingredients are considered natural, I am not in this article including any further research or comment on them.
TCC Premium Coconut Cream:
Coconut extract 65%
Water, I am assuming about 35%
Stabilizer 466 (Carboxymethylcellulose), is made from cellulose, which is the main polysaccharide and makes up the woody parts and cell walls of plants. It is also called modified cellulose.
Emulsifier 435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate. E435 is a synthetic compound, produced from ethylene oxide (a synthetic compound), sorbitol (see E420) and stearic acid (a natural fatty acid).
Macro (Woolworths) Organic
Coconut Extract 78%
Emulsifier E412 Guar Gum and E435 Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate
While this coconut cream seems like an obvious choice, I have had some complaints about the coconut yoghurt you can make with this. The cream itself has a bit of a grainy texture and is slightly grey in colour. This being eth case, the yoghurt that you make with it will be the same and some people just do not like it.
Try to get a brand that does not have added water. Read and understand the label and what the additives are, if any, and choose the one you are happy with. This will be different for different people, depending on your health and sensitivities. I use Kara as I am happy with the additives being natural and my having no sensitivity to any of them.
The more water in the coconut cream, the thinner your yoghurt will be. High water content in the coconut cream will also diminish the flavour and mouthfeel of what should be luscious and rich.
Do I still heat dairy milk alternatives to 90° C?
Yes and no. For soy milk and coconut cream simply bring the temperature up to 40° C, add some sugar if desired, a thickening agent if required, and add the culture. Then keep your inoculated soy milk warmed to around 40° for 12 to 24 hours, and when it has turned into a nice thick yoghurt refrigerate.
We have found that almond milk will sometimes 'split' into two layers during fermentation. This can be prevented or at least reduced by heat treating your almond milk to 90° C for ten minutes prior to cooling, and continuing with the fermentation process.
How much culture do I use?
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by customers is how much culture do I use when making yoghurt.
Cultures come in packets that are labelled with how many litres of milk they will inoculate. Our yoghurt cultures come in a packet that will inoculate 100 litres of milk. How much is in the packet will vary from culture to culture and batch to batch of the same culture. Remember, it’s alive, so it will not be the same for every batch that is grown. Culture is not measured by weight or volume, but rather by its rate of activity.
The activity rate of a culture is most easily determined by measuring the acid production or decrease in pH of the milk it is added to. In order to have an easily understandable system, the growing conditions are standardised by having the same medium, temperature and time. For example, the use of a standard weight/volume percentage concentration (w/v) reconstituted skimmed milk, at 30oC for six hours.
So if you get a packet of yoghurt culture that does 100 litres and you want to make two litres of yoghurt, you would use 2/100 of the packet (1/50th), regardless of whether the weight has changed from batch to batch for that culture.
Bring the sachet to room temperature before opening it for the first time. This should only take a few minutes and reduces the effect of condensation causing some of the culture to stick to the inside of the sachet. Cut all the way across the top of the sachet and using a sharp, pointed knife empty the culture into one of the sterile jar supplied. Using a shard, pointed knife allows you to get right into the corners of the packet to get all of the culture out.
Once you have all of the culture out of the packet into the first sterile jar, take a look at it. This is enough for 100 litres and is your main ‘storage jar’. Now estimate 1/10th of the contents of the first sterile jar and place into the sterile second jar. This becomes your ‘working supply’, label both jars and store in the freezer.
Your ‘working supply’, being approximately 1/10th of the original supply of culture, will make approximately 10 litres of yoghurt. Now you are getting the idea of how small the amount of culture is that you need to use. Use the tip of a sharp, pointed knife to get the amount of culture you need to use for the size batch you are going to do. I usually do a two-litre batch, but you might be doing a one-litre batch.
The most common problem people have with this is using too much culture. If you do accidentally use not enough; no big problem. Remember the culture is alive and if kept at the correct temperature, it is going to double about every 30 minutes. The Green Living Australia yoghurt maker is designed to keep the temperature accurate over extended fermentation times, so wait half an hour longer and you have doubled your culture.
From time to time I am asked why we do not supply a simpler way to do this. Why don’t we have a one sachet system so you can just tear open a packet and add it; no measuring; no guessing. That would be great, but unfortunately, so would the cost. There is a product out there like that and we are compared to them all the time. How easy would it be if the Green Living Cultures could be packed in these convenient packets? Well, let’s have a look at what you are getting in regards to convenience and how much you are paying for it.
I did a Google search on yoghurt making cultures and I found the price to be $4.20 for a packet that makes one litre. It is mostly powdered milk and you just add water. So for 100 litres that is $420.00. Now compare that to $17.95 for 100 litres of the Green Living Australia culture. You do have to add the Green Living Australia culture to milk, so you are up for another $100.00 there. Overall saving to you is $302.05. Is that worth a few minutes of your time?
How to store the culture and how much to use.
This system will help you get the best value out of our yoghurt cultures, kefir and probiotic veggie culture while helping protect the culture from moisture and contamination.
Can I make Yoghurt with just your culture, or do I have to use a probiotic too?
Yes, you can use just the Yoghurt Culture to make yoghurt. The probiotics are used in conjunction with the culture for those people wishing for an end product that is Probiotic
Can I make Yoghurt with just your ABC probiotic culture, without the yoghurt culture?
No. The texture and flavour cultures are in the yoghurt culture, but not in the probiotic cultures.
Can I add the ABC Probiotic Culture when making non-dairy yoghurt with the Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture?
You do not need to add the ABC Probiotic Culture to yoghurt made with the Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture as it already has probiotics build into it. In fact, if you add additional ABC your culture will become unbalanced and the result may not be the yoghurt you are looking for, but more like a thick, probiotic drink. For best results, do not add ABC Probiotic Culture to non-dairy yoghurt made with the Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture.
Can I use my Non-Dairy yoghurt culture to make Dairy yoghurt
Not really. You should use the Non-Dairy Yoghurt Culture for non-dairy milks such as soy and use the Dairy Yoghurt Culture (Mild or Tangy) for dairy milk. The dairy culture will work well with both dairy and non-dairy, but the non-dairy culture is not suited to dairy. It will make yoghurt, but it will have an undesirable texture due to the higher amount of Streptococcus thermophilus.
If you want to make both dairy and non-dairy you should purchase either Mild or Tangy Yoghurt culture and the ABC Probiotic. If you are only going to make non-dairy yoghurt, you should purchase Non-Dairy Yoghurt culture which already has probiotics built in.
Can I clone more yoghurt from the yoghurt I make with your Yoghurt Culture?
Yes, you can clone your next few batches of the yoghurt you make from the yoghurt you make with our culture, although when cloning from a previous batch, you are cloning all of the bacteria present in the yoghurt, including any contaminants. This is why cloned yoghurt typically becomes runnier, and does not set as well in the second and third generation. It may be considered a false economy, risking the disappointment of failed yoghurt, to save 17 cents worth of culture.
Why is there a special non-dairy culture, if both the Mild and Tangy Yoghurt Cultures work with Soy Milk?
The Mild and Tangy yoghurt cultures are grown on a dairy base and, while they are separated from the dairy base, there may be the odd molecule of dairy left behind. Some people are so allergic to dairy, this is enough to be a serious issue.
Other people such as Vegans just wish to avoid dairy altogether.
Why has my yoghurt culture started clumping together?
The clumping is caused by the culture absorbing moisture. The moisture can be absorbed directly from the air and also from moisture condensing out of the air onto the inside of the storage container if opened while cold. So we always allow the culture to come to room temperature and we keep the jar closed as much as possible to minimise the amount of fresh air coming into contact with the culture. I also try to avoid making yoghurt on a really damp or humid day unless I run the air conditioner for a while to dry the air out. I also don't spend any time trying to judge 1/10th perfectly accurate, I just know to use an extremely small amount, making the time the jar is open probably less than 20 seconds.
How do I test my yoghurt maker?
To find out what temperature your machine runs at and whether your machine experiences 'temperature creep' is very easy. Simply place a litre or so of tap water in the yoghurt canister at about 40 deg C. and then check the temperature periodically over the next 12 to 24 hours. Electric yoghurt makers should keep the water between 37 to 43 degrees and this temperature should be consistent even over longer fermentation times.
How do I sweeten or flavour my yoghurt?
In order to sweeten your yoghurt, you need to add any flavours after the yoghurt has been made and at the time of serving. Do not add flavour to the milk and culture in the yoghurt maker. Anything with sugar, added during the making of the yoghurt, will be eaten by the culture.
You can add any flavour you like to your bowl of yoghurt at the time of serving, such as fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey or a spoonful of strawberry jam.
When making non-dairy yoghurt the recipe calls for some sugar to feed the bacteria. What kind of sugar should I be using?
The sugar is for the bacteria and not for you, so trying to replace it with a “healthier option” such as honey or stevia, for example, is not recommended. Just use plain old table sugar, white or raw. This is the easiest for the bacteria to digest and should no be replaced.
Stevia is used to sweeten and that is not what you are doing when adding sugar to non-dairy yoghurt. You are adding sugar to feed the bacteria because there is not lactose (milk sugar) in non-dairy, milk alternatives. Good honey has antibacterial properties so you cannot add this to a food that you are using bacteria to make.
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