At first it seemed to me that the yogurt would match the American store bought yogurt. Wrong. It was thinner and not as sweet. Thus began my long journey to duplicate American yogurt, which resembles more of a parfait.
This past weekend proved success, and it was a lot easier than the experiments I had been conducting for years w/ gelatin, pectin, and agar (seaweed) powder. Here are the instructions:
1) Mix the following in a 3 quart pan:
1 quart of whole milk (which produces the thickest yogurt. You could use a lower fat version but may not get the same results)
1/4 to 1/2 cup dry milk powder (increases thickening, but not necessary)
1 Tablespoon of corn starch
2) Scald this mixture on medium high heat for a few minutes. Make sure to stir constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan (so milk won't scorch!). Keep it nice and hot for about 3 minutes so cornstarch can activate). If it is getting too hot and threatening to burn, reduce heat to medium. Just make sure to keep stirring.
3) Remove milk mixture from heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon of stevia powder or 1/4 cup of sugar and whisk well to combine.
4) Let milk cool to between 100 and 115 degrees. This may take a few hours, depending on the air temperature. I like to use my instant-read thermometer to judge the temp. Add 1-2 Tablespoons fresh yogurt as a culture. Whisk well.
5) Put milk and culture into appropriate container (I use glass quart jars) and cover. Incubate at a warm temp that doesn't exceed 115 degrees for 4 or more hours until yogurt is thick and a spoon can tap the top w/o penetrating the surface of the finished yogurt. For incubation, I use my Excalibur dehydrator at the 115 degree setting. You could also use a cooler w/ a heating pad inside it. Set the heating pad on low, put the jar of milk inside, cover w/ a towel, and put lid on the cooler. (note: the longer the incubation period, the more sour the yogurt will get.)
6) When yogurt has finished, put in refrigerator until cold.
7) For a "fruit on the bottom" product, take 1/2 pint canning jars, put 1-2 Tablespoons of jam in the bottom, and then spoon plain yogurt on top until jar is almost filled. Cover w/ screw top lid. I make a few of these for my husband's lunch.
I make 3 to 4 quarts of this yogurt at a time. All of our children enjoy it.