You will need:
– 2 quarts good quality milk (recipe may be multiplied for larger quantities)
– 1 packet yogurt culture or 4 tablespoons plain live culture yogurt from a previous batch
Sterilize your milk containers and utensils in boiling water. Over low to medium heat, gently heat milk to 185° F*, stirring often. Fill a sink with ice water. As soon as the milk has reached 185° F, remove from heat and set in the sink of ice water. Stir the milk constantly until the temperature has dropped to 114° F. Take the pot of milk out of the sink and stir in culture or plain yogurt. Place the inoculated milk inside an insulated container and allow it to sit undisturbed for 6-8 hours or until thickened. Refrigerate and serve cold with honey or fruit preserves. For best quality, consume within one week. Yogurt batches may be re-cultured about four times before you need to start over with new culture packets.
*It is a common misconception that the first step in yogurt making of heating milk to 185° F is to pasteurize the milk, and so proponents of raw milk will often recommend skipping this step. In fact, the purpose of this step is to prepare the milk proteins to form a thick yogurt curd. The step of heating the milk may be skipped, but the resulting yogurt will be thin. I like a thick yogurt, and I don’t worry about any beneficial bacteria that may be lost in the heating since, after all, we will inoculate the milk with beneficial bacteria in the yogurt culture!