1 gallon milk
2/3 cups powdered milk, optional for thicker yogurt
¼-1 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
½ cup maple syrup, optional for sweetened yogurt
Scald milk (180 degrees F – turn off when a light skim forms on the top and tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the milk). Cool to 115 degrees F in a sink filled with ice cold water. Pour milk into a gallon pitcher or mason jars and add starter. Stir until smooth.
Incubate milk between 90-110 degrees for 4 to 10 hours with one of the following methods. Disturb the yogurt as little as possible until whey collects at the top of the jar. Put in the refrigerator once set.
1. Cooler. Put yogurt in a cooler with 2 jars filled with hot water (115 degrees F). Check the hot water jars after 4 hours and replace if necessary.
2. Electric oven. Set the stove dial half way between OFF and 200°, or at approximately 100°. The light signifying the oven is on pops on for a moment and then pops off when the temperature is reached. Set jars in the oven 6-8 hours.
3. Thermos. Pour the milk mixture into a large preheated thermos. Let sit overnight.
4. Warm place. Set yogurt on top of a warm radiator, close to a wood stove, or in a gas stove with the pilot operating. Place the jar in a pan filled with warm water, to keep the temperature even.
5. Heating pad. Set a heating pad on low then cover it with a towel. Place yogurt on top and put a large bowl or stew pot upside down over the yogurt.
Add syrup or sugar to the milk, before the boiling process. When it has boiled and cooled to the 110 to 95 degree mark, stir in ½ teaspoon of vanilla.
FRUIT FLAVORED YOGURT:
Add syrup or sugar to the milk before the boiling process. After whisking the milk and starter together, spoon into jars, 1 to 2 tablespoons of any fruit flavored preserves, jelly, jam or pureed fruit (baby food works!). Add yogurt mixture to fill the jars. Continue with the rest of the steps given above.
Pour incubated yogurt into a colander lined with thick paper towels. Drain until it reaches the desired consistency. If it’s drained too long, add back in some whey.
Pour incubated yogurt into a colander lined with 3 layers of cheese cloth. Let drip for several minutes, then lift the four corners of the cheese cloth and tie them together. Hang cheese cloth bag over sink and let drip for 4 to 6 hours. Remove and store in refrigerator. Use yogurt cheese as you would regular cream cheese.