I used to use the standard four-cups-of-milk recipe, and except for the time I added some agar flakes to the milk, it was really too runny to call yogurt, especially after mixing anything into it. I still ate it, but was ashamed of the abject failure.
But this recipe really works. I swear.
Thick Homemade Yogurt
From Vegetarian Cooking, from the folks at Sunset (ISBN 0-376-02911-0), p. 47.
2 Cups low-fat milk (or, go crazy and use something with more fat in it. Someday I will make yogurt with cream.)
1 1/3 Cups dry milk powder (That's 111g for metric users. I didn't think to weigh the other stuff.)
1 1/4 Cups water
1/4 Cups commercial yogurt (or home grown, or cultures)
Heat the milk to 185° F. You can do this on the stove, or in the microwave. My old-fashioned microwave oven has a temperature probe (see Figure 1). I set the temp. and press go. Just in case your microwave oven is a tad newer, I timed how long it took - 5:43 minutes (I assume on HIGH). Remove from heat/oven; discard skin.
Meanwhile, combine milk powder and water, stir to dissolve.
Combine the hot and cold milk into one container. I don't think it matters whether hot goes into cold, or cold into hot. I use the container for the yogurt maker, but if you've got a multi-pot maker, a four-cup measuring cup or any bowl should work for mixing everything together before you divide it up.
Hook the thermometer to the side of your container, and position it so it's in the milk but not touching the bottom (see figure 2). And wait for the temperature to get to 115° F. This can take awhile (~15 min.). Just don't forget about it.
Once it hits the magic temperature, add the yogurt cultures. Stir this around so it is homogeneous.
Put container in the maker and incubate for 8-10 hours (the book says 3.5-5 hours, but I've had good luck with 8.)
Chill it in the refrigerator before using.
Sometimes the yogurt comes out a little stringy. I don't really know why this happens, and it is a little disconcerting. As long as it tastes ok, I just mix this not-quite-right stuff with some of the store-bought stuff to use it up.
For flavorings and mix-ins, you can do whatever you want. I might deal with some specifics in a later post.
N.B.: The book provides the nutritional breakdown, so I will too: Per 1/2-cup serving of the low-fat style: 7g protein, 10g carbs, 8mg chol., 81 calories.
Edited by me so it didn't look so stupid and was easier to read. -TB