Heather's Favorite Recipes

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1 Gallon Milk (any percent you like)
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup sugar (use only in vanilla-no sugar for plain yogurt)
1 tea. cc 773 (USU creamery stabilizer)--can do without-may have something similar at a natural food store-ask about homemade yogurt.  
4 TB Plain Yogurt (be sure it has several active cultures-I like Mountain High Brand)
1 tea vanilla (for each quart of vanilla)

Mix 1/4 of the first four ingredients in blender ( 4 cups of milk, 1/4 cup powdered milk, 1/4 cup of sugar)  and place in glass jars without lids.  Place in water bath and heat milk to 185 F (takes about 45 min) --the thermometer is very important in this.  I have a digital one I really like, it beaps when it hits the target temperature.  This first process is to kill all the bad bacteria in the milk.
Cool in fridge to 105 F (takes about 1 hour) 
Add culture (1 TB per quart jar) This is the good bacteria
Place in water bath and keep water between 105-110 F for 5 hours.
The milk will be about 103-108 F
The longer it sits the more bitter the taste of the yogurt will be.  For plain yogurt do not add sugar.  If you want to have vanilla yogurt add 1 tsp of vanilla at the time of the plain yogurt.  It is always amazing and gratifying once the yogurt is set up.  I just tip the bottle to see if it set up.  See pictures above to get an idea of the step by step process.  It really isn't as hard as it sounds.  
I actually made this batch of yogurt when Samantha was sick and had to leave while it was setting up.  I made sure the temp. was good before I left and came back 4 hour later and the yogurt was all done and set.  I regulate the temperature, when I'm home about once an hour.  I just turn the stove on for just a little bit until it gets back to where it should be and then turn the stove off.  I put a lid on it to keep the temp. at one place for a while.  The pictures are backwards in order.  I am still figuring out how to do this picture thing.  If anyone has a good idea of formatting pictures within your text let me know.  If you try it let me know, it is pretty fun!  I challenge you.  =)   
Money Saver tip.  I pay about $2.00 a quart for commercial yogurt and for the same about of money I can make one gallon of yogurt.  That is 1/4 the cost.  It is a staple in our home now.  We have yogurt parfaits for breakfast, make smoothies, yogurt for lunch, put it in fruit salads instead of cool whip.  We go through about 1 gallon of yogurt in 2 weeks.  I make one quart of plain yogurt to 3 quarts of vanilla.  I use plain in recipes to substitute buttermilk, and sour cream.  Much healthier and cheaper for us.