I eat yogurt nearly every morning for breakfast, usually with a bit of fruit and a sprinkling of cereal. Yummers! Nearly two years ago I moved and no longer have access to my favorite dairy. Well that is not exactly true, I can still find their yogurt but it is pretty pricey. After collecting homemade yogurt recipes for years I decided it was time to start experimenting. If you're thinking about making your own yogurt read this New York Times piece.
Neat yogurt fact - if you're lactose intolerant the probiotics in yogurt will help you digest the lactose! When you make your own yogurt it is especially high in these enzymes. (70% of the world's population is lactose intolerant including me).
This is my process--
starter (choose a yogurt you like - cultures differ and will affect taste)
dried milk (I use a non-instant non-fat organic milk as thickener)
instant read thermometer (opt.)
pan (to heat milk) and whisk
jars (to set & store yogurt)
1. Combine dried milk (4T.) with fresh milk (4c.)
2. Heat milk on stovetop until vapors rise, 180-190 deg. F (be careful to not burn milk)
3. Cool milk until you can hold a finger in the milk for 10 sec, 110-115 deg. F
4. Mix starter (4T.) into milk (I usually shake starter with some warmed milk in a jar).
5. Pour mixture into jars. Place in warm location (wrapped in towels or blankets, or in the oven...)
6. Once yogurt is set (min. 4 hours, although I frequently let it set for over 24 hours) place in fridge. After it is fully cooled, it is ready to eat!
Update: I've decided the best way to incubate the yogurt in my apartment is with a heating pad, thick kitchen towel, and a cooling rack. I place the heating pad on the cooling rack and the jars of yogurt atop with the towel covering it all. I set the heating pad on 'low'. Makes thick delicious yogurt and is much quicker than my old method.