So, in my continuing adventures of making stuff I can't buy here, I managed to make yogurt today. I had a few issues going into this project that needed to be solved. The biggest one is that you can't make yogurt with UT milk, which is the only kind of milk we can buy out here. Second, you need some kind of starter. The cheapest way to do this is to use a commercial brand that has live and active cultures in it. It should also be plain, although I've read vanilla can also be used with some success.
For the milk issue, I found some information online that said you can make yogurt successfully with powdered milk. The problem I had with this is that powdered milk is nonfat. I don't do nonfat. I know it's supposed to be healthy and all that, but nonfat anything is gross. We do fat in our house. Butter, whole milk, you name it, we eat it. So nonfat yogurt was definitely out. I decided to add heavy cream to it instead, after reading that cream, while also UT, is still usable in yogurt.
For the second issue, I got lucky. I'd toyed with buying freeze-dried starter, but hadn't taken the plunge. Then, this week, the store stocked some tubs of Dannon nonfat plain yogurt. Typically, I wouldn't buy the stuff because of the fat-free state of it, but it made for some great starter. I also have enough to freeze for later batches.
Yogurt is not that hard to make. The hardest part is figuring out how you are going to maintain a 110 degree environment for it to set up in. I trolled the internet trying to decide how best to go about this, and finally decided to use the cooler method. Because of the amount of yogurt I was making, I wanted to use one of our smaller coolers, but they both seem to have vanished in the move. So, put the two jars in this ridiculously large cooler and filled it with a lot of warm water:
I left it sitting on the kitchen floor for eight hours, cringing every time Oscar decided to climb up on it. After I put the boys to bed, I opened it up and discovered it had set up nicely:
Now I just have to figure out how to doctor it up nicely for the kids to eat in the morning. I also need to buy some more organic powdered milk next time we are in the States. I don't have much, and now I think we're going to be running through it sooner than later.