I was always a little bit nervous about making yogurt, even though everyone said it was really easy. Warm milk up to body temperature and leave it out all night? On purpose? And then eat it? Really?
Recently I realized that it’s just like sourdough starter. Yogurt is basically sourdough bread that’s made of milk. You have your culture of bacterial pals, and your job is to keep it warm enough to let them colonize the entire sample. Then you eat it. Simple as that!
Yogurt and sourdough even share a bacteria in common. Lactobacillus is what makes both cultures acidic. It’s this acidity which helps prevent bad bacteria from getting a foothold. It makes sourdough sour, and yogurt tart.
Yogurt really is just as easy as they say. The tough part is finding a way to hold it for 12-24 hours between 90 and 100 degrees. I had previously (for the sourdough) learned that my oven holds at 95 if you leave the light on and close the door. Other people use a crock pot, a food dehydrator, a cooler full of hot water, or a bucket with a heating pad. Whatever works.
All the recipes are about the same. Heat the milk to 185, cool it to 110, introduce the culture, pour it into your containers, put it somewhere warm and check it in the morning. Voila!