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I was introduced to making yogurt at home by Mrs. Lakhani's excellent Indian Recipes for a Healthy Heart. After much experimenting and many of my own tweaks, I have come up with a very thick yogurt that always gets raves.
- Make sure all of your cooking implements are very clean before you start. You will be using a medium sized pot, a large pyrex (or other non-metal) bowl, and some measuring tools and stirrers. It also helps to have a thermometer. I usually pour boiling water over them.
- Stir the agave into the milk, and put it on the stove at medium heat.
- Slowly add the milk powder to the milk, stirring constantly so as to avoid scalding.
- Add the vanilla and stir well right before the milk reaches the boiling point.
- When the milk just begins to bubble, or alternately, when it hits 210 degrees F (just below boiling), remove it from the heat and transfer to a non-metal bowl (something with thick sides works best).
- Let the milk sit until it's just cool enough to hold your finger in for fifteen seconds (or until it hits 105 degrees F).
- Your 1/4 cup of yogurt (starter) should be at room temperature. Add enough of the milk to your starter to mix it into a thin liquid, and add this back to the milk, making sure it's stirred in very well.
- Put plastic wrap over the bowl, wrap it in a small towel, and place it somewhere warm where it won't be disturbed (I use a rice cooker on the warm setting).
- Let it sit for 6-12 hours, making sure not to peek or otherwise move the bowl. The time will vary depending on how warm it is where the yogurt is left to ferment, but as a rule, warmer spots will take less time and cooler spots will take more, but leaving the yogurt anywhere warmer than 110 degrees should be avoided, as it may kill the active cultures. For me, nine hours works best.
- When it has finished fermenting, the plastic will puff out and your yogurt will be sitting in a yellowish syrup. This is just the whey, and it is up to you whether or not you want to drain it off. Place the yogurt in the fridge and let it get cold before serving.
- Reduce the milk powder to 3 tbsp and omit the agave and vanilla for plain yogurt that can be used in recipes.
I liked the taste of this ok, but it still was watery and a bit grainy. I think because of the powdered milk. I loved the flavor the agave nectar gave though and will definitely use that again. Thank you.
Boy is that gooood!!! I've never eaten such a tasty vanilla yoghurt. No artificial aftertaste like in store bought yoghurts. I had one tablespoon leftover home made vanilla essence plus the vanilla bean from it, so I heated the vanilla bean with the milk and discarded it before stirring in the starter. Instead of agave I used rice syrup but otherwise I followed the instructions exactly, and I'm totally thrilled with the result. Thanks for posting this!