For each quart of milk (I prefer whole milk, but you can use 2%, 1% or non-fat as well) you will need about 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt (purchase a small container of a good quality plain yogurt). You can use yogurt from the last batch you made also, but after two or three times you should use a fresh starter.
Bring the milk to a boil (this is to kill any other bacteria that has grown in the milk so only the good culture that you add will grow) in a stainless steel saucepan, stirring all the while so it does not scorch. Have a sinkful of ice water ready. As soon as the milk comes to a boil remove it from the heat and place the pan in the ice water (let some of the water out of the sink if the pan is tipping). Stir occasionally until it cools to about 120 degrees (I never use a thermometer. Put a clean finger in the milk. You should be able to hold it in there for 30 seconds without it feeling "hot"). Now stir in your yogurt starter, using a clean spoon or wire whisk. This should bring the temperature down a few degrees, too.
You can keep the milk in the saucepan or transfer to a clean/sterile glass jar. Put on the lid and set in a warm place (about 115 degrees) to incubate. Good places are: gas oven with pilot light, electric dehydrator, on a heating pad (set to low with a towel on top of the pad), or use a commercial yogurt maker. If you are in Arizona, just put it outside! To contain the heat, it is helpful to wrap the jar in a few layers of blanket or towels. Let it sit undisturbed for 7-8 hours. The longer it sits, the more sour it will become (and the more acidophilus there will be!).
There is nothing in the world like eating a bowlful of freshly made, still-warm yogurt.
Here are a few ways you can enjoy yogurt:
SWEET LASSI (pronounced "Luh'see")
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 ice cubes
few drops stevia
Place in blender jar and blend until smooth. For variation, add a handful of berries or half banana.
BLACK SALT LASSI
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. black salt (more or less to taste)
4 ice cubes
Place in blender jar and blend until smooth. This is a very refreshing drink for a hot day. Also, instead of ice cubes you can just add cold pure water.
CUCUMBER-TOMATO RAITA ("rye-tah")
2 cups plain yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled
2 medium tomatoes, ripe and firm
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
2 tsp. minced fresh mint leaves
2-3 Tbsp. milk or water
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
Peel cucumber, scoop out and discard seeds. Chop cucumber into 1/4" dice or shred, using coarsest blade on your shredder.
Blanch tomatoes in boiling water just for a minute. Remove skin. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and discard. Chop into fine dice.
Combine all ingredients and let sit for one hour before serving. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Add more milk if you desire thinner consistency.
Serve with any Indian meal (very cooling with spicy food!).
© 2001 Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa