YOGURT BY THE GALLON milk powder with the water in a blender until smooth. Heat mixture to a scald over stove top in large pot or in a crock pot (not too hot or it will kill the yogurt's live culture). Watch so it doesn't burn if you are doing this on the stove top. Cool to room temperature (lukewarm to the touch with your finger in it counting to 10. Or if you have a thermometer...till it reads about 120 degrees F). Add the following and mix well: 1 Cup starter (plain yogurt or freeze dried yogurt starter or saved yogurt from your previous batch - this needs to be renewed after a month or the taste becomes sour). Put into a gallon glass jar with a lid and place in some kind of hotbox (wonder box or thermal box) in a warm room for 12- 14 hours until thickened. If you don't have a hotbox, leave it in your crockpot, unplugged, and wrapped in a large towel to keep warm. You can also put it in a cooler wrapped in warm towels. Once thickened: Refrigerate up to 12 hours. May need stirring before use. It does thicken more as it is refrigerated. You may add freeze dried fruit, jam, or a bit of vanilla for flavored yogurt. However, remember to set some plain aside first if you are going to use it as a starter for the next batch. Hint: Freeze your remaining purchased plain yogurt in ice cube trays to have on hand for the next batch's starter when needed. Good for 6 months in the freezer. Enjoy!
HOMEMADE CREAM CHEESEYou can also make homemade cream cheese from your own yogurt that you've made. Take one cup of yogurt and place it in the center of a clean TERRY face cloth or a CHEESE cloth (these are sold at your local food store) that is laid over a small bowl. This cloth will act as a "strainer" for your yogurt. Fold the cloth up. Then take a rubber band and wrap the rubber band around the cloth just up past the point where the yogurt comes to. At this point it will look like you've wrapped up a tennis ball in a cloth with a rubber band to hold the "present" closed. Then take a hanger and hook the rubber band onto the hook of the hanger. Hang the hanger up on your kitchen cupboard door knob or hang the hanger onto a large pot or something strong enough to let it hang. Place the small bowl under your wrapped hanging yogurt and let it just hang there to drip the liquids out for 4 hours.
If you want to (and are home), you can just give it a gentle squeeze now and again to softly wring out some of the liquid. But that step is not necessary. You can just leave your yogurt hanging for 8 hours if you want to while you are gone to work, too. After this there will be liquid in your bowl. Open up the cloth.....you will Replace a round soft ball of plain CREAM CHEESE! It's THAT simple! Keep refrigerated once this is completed. You can always flavor it with a little bit of sea salt and dill or a little pepper or whatever favorite seasonings you like. You can use it on crackers, breads, toast, bagels or flavor it with fruit extracts instead of the seasonings.
Enjoy!Thank you Lynn for these great recipes and tips!