I never thought making yogurt was so easy. And it’s great to watch bacteria at work making something useful (and delicious). I started making yogurt after reading Harold McGee’s article in the NY Times. Ever since, I’ve been making it religiously (well, not really religiously, but regularly), every other week. First time you make it use your favorite yogurt (flavored or not). The following times, you can use the last of your previous home-made yogurt. Here’s how you do it.
1 quart (4 cups) of milk (regular or reduced-fat milk; keep in mind that not all reduced-fat milk brands work well for yogurt)
2 tablespoons yogurt
A 1 quart container (preferably glass)
Heat the milk to 180-190 F, or to the point when it starts to steam and form bubbles. This denatures the whey proteins and is necessary for a good yogurt texture.
Turn off the heat and let cool to 120 F, or when it is very hot, but not burning. If the milk is too hot, the bacteria will die. If it is too cold, they will take longer to grow and “make” the yogurt.
While the milk is cooling, put the old yogurt in a small bowl. When the milk reaches 120 F, add a couple tablespoons to the yogurt and mix to dissolve. Add this mixture to the container and mix with the rest of the milk.
Cover the container with kitchen towels to keep warm. After 4 to 5 hours, the yogurt will be set and you can transfer to the fridge. If you want greek-style yogurt, strain it with a cheese cloth.