I prefer to use raw milk, if you can find it. Otherwise, organic milk is a must. I also like to use whole milk.
Find a plain yogurt that you like – I love Stonyfield Farm. This will be your starter.
Freeze your storebought yogurt in ice cube trays and store cubes in Ziploc bag. Each cube is approx 1T.
I like to make a large batch – we eat a lot of yogurt, so I use a ½ gallon of milk each time – which yields two quarts.
If using frozen yogurt as your starter, pull the number of needed cubes (see below) out at the start so they can thaw.
Gently/slowly heat 8 cups of milk to 180 degrees.
While the milk is heating, fill your teapot with tap water and bring to a boil. Make sure you have enough to fill 2 quart jars. Once the water boils rapidly, fill the jars, cover and put in a small cooler (like a 6 pack size) and insulate with an additional towel or two. I like to do this right at the beginning of the milk heating process because I have found that if the water jars are too hot in the cooler it retards the incubating process.
Once milk reaches 180, turn off the heat, cover and let cool to 116. Stir in 4 T of the thawed yogurt (4 cubes) or 4 T of yogurt from a previous batch. Stir gently but very well.
Pour warm milk into 2 quart size canning jars. Place in the small cooler with the (now warm/hot) water jars and close the cover and let sit for at least six hours or overnight. Chill. Keeps very well. Enjoy with fresh fruit, nuts, honey and raw oats (fabulous – let the oats sit for about 5 mins to absorb a little moisture), or just plain. Its also fabulous on a baked potato with fresh chives.
Feel free to use your batch as a starter next time. I only use the frozen cubes if I feel that my yogurt is losing its tangy-yogurtish taste.
Adapted from Liz at Pocket Farm, who unfortunately, has stopped blogged.