Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B 12. When yogurt is compared to milk, yogurt contains more calcium and protein because of the added cultures in the yogurt. Yogurt must contain active and living cultures to be yogurt. Cultures are composed of unique living microorganisms which are responsible for many of the health and nutritional benefits of yogurt. Other benefits of live and active cultures in the yogurt are, they may help to boost the immune system. They encourage the right kind of bacteria to multiply in the gut. So, don't you think with all of the cold and FLU going around, it would be a good thing to eat?
The thing you need to remember about making yogurt, is that everything needs to be very clean, the jar that you put it in and your utensils needs to be sterile. I sterilize mine by washing it in the dishwasher with the heat setting on. Others sterilize by putting the jar, upside down, in a pan with a a few inches of water and boiling it for 5 minutes or so. You can also sterilize the utensils in boiling water.
You need to make sure that the milk you use is not ultra pasteurized; I wish I could buy raw milk, but there is just nowhere in my area to buy raw milk, so, I use whole, pasteurized, homogenized milk, and it works fine.
To make yogurt, you will need:
31/2 cups whole or 2% milk (I would not use skim)
3/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 cups of good yogurt with the active yogurt culture in it, (or you can buy a powdered culture at the health food store) to put in it. I just save 1/2 cup of my homemade yogurt to make the next batch. It will keep for 7-10 days refrigerated. If I don't have left over homemade yogurt, I prefer to use Dannon plain yogurt, not the non-fat, although you can use non-fat if you like, I think full fat makes a tastier yogurt. But, any good yogurt with live culture should work, Dannon, just works better for me.
Before I start my yogurt, I fill a small cooler with hot water and put the lid on it, to let it get warm while I am making the yogurt. Put the milk and the powdered milk in a pan and bring it to 170 degrees to kill any harmful bacteria in the milk. Do not bring to a boil! Take it off of the heat and let it cool to 120 degrees. You can use a candy thermometer for this, (I use a thermometer that Bob uses when he goes fishing to see how cold or warm the water is!! I also sterilize it!!!). Some people say that when you can stick your pinky into the mixture without it burning, it is ready. When it has cooled to 120 degrees, take a small amount of the milk mixture out, a 1/2 cup or so, and mix it with the 1/2 cup yogurt, mix well and add it back into the milk mixture, mixing well. Now, pour the hot water out of your cooler.
Pour the milk mixture into your sterilized quart jar and put a lid on it - I just use a canning lid and ring. Put the yogurt mixture into the cooler. Fill another quart jar with very hot water, put a lid on it and put it into the cooler with the yogurt. fold a clean kitchen towel and put over both jars in the cooler and put the cooler lid back on the cooler. Let it sit for at least 5 hours with out disturbing - if you try to check it or move it around too much, it will separate, so be careful with it. After 5 hours, you should have a very tasty, thick yogurt. You can leave it for as many as 12 hours - depending on how sour you like it. I don't like mine to be too sour, so 5-6 hours is plenty. Refrigerate and enjoy. My favorite way to eat it is with some fruit and honey. I also like to put it on baked potatoes. I make a really delicious yogurt cheese - very tasty! I'll save it for another post.
This is what you get in the end - delish!