That's right, ladies and gentlemen, I finally made yogurt! Back on my A game. With the aid of a thermometer, it was really easy. I realize now that the past two times I tried this, I didn't get the milk nearly hot enough--you're supposed to bring it up to 180°, which took about 20 minutes (granted, I was heating the milk over a cautiously low flame--next time I'll probably be a little more bold). In the past, I heated the milk only for about 10 minutes. So there was my mistake. Anyway after the milk gets up to temperature, you take it off the flame and let it cool to 110°. Then you mix it into a small amount of plain storebought yogurt that you've placed in a warmed glass jar, stir well and let it sit undisturbed in a warm place for 10-12 hours. This, too, was easier now that it's summer; I just left it at room temperature. When I woke up this morning, voila! Yogurt was waiting for me:
I really enjoyed the flavor of the yogurt. It does taste different than the store-bought stuff: fresher and cleaner. The texture, too, is markedly different; the yogurt is runnier and less uniformly smooth than what you get at the store. For me, this is a good thing, as it's a reminder that there are no sweeteners, stabilizers, or other weird things (xantham gum, anyone?) in the yogurt. I'm sure it would taste even better if I had used organic or locally-bottled milk; I just got the cheap store brand. No matter; with a drizzle of maple syrup and some blueberries, the yogurt made a wholly satisfying summer breakfast:
From Nourishing Traditions
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 quart milk
Gently heat the milk to 180°, stirring often. (Use a thermometer!) Set aside and let cool to 110°. When 110°, warm up a glass jar by filling it with hot water and then dumping it out. Put the plain yogurt into the bottom of the jar, add several tablespoons of milk, and stir well. Then pour the rest of the milk into the jar, stirring well to incorporate the yogurt culture throughout. Cover loosely and keep in a warm place (wrapped in a towel, in a warm room, in an oven that has been heated and then turned off) and let rest undisturbed for 10-12 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator.