As I mentioned in the original post, my first attempt at yogurt came out tasting delicious, but lacking in the texture department. For my second attempt, I integrated some of the changes I mentioned earlier, and the result was amazing! Thicker, richer, possibly even more delicious. Here's what I did:
1. Poured 1/2 gallon milk into heavy pot. Snapped on my candy thermometer.
2. Heated on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until it hit 180 degrees. Meanwhile, heated oven on "warm."
3. Pulled pot off heat, put on the lid (as best I could, given the thermometer).
4. Waited for the milk to cool to 110 degrees. Meanwhile, turned oven off and allowed to cool a bit.
5. Removed some milk using a large measuring cup, stirred in a couple tablespoons of yogurt.
6. Returned mix to pot, whisking thoroughly.
7. Removed thermometer, replaced lid. Made sure oven was below 110 degrees (to protect my culture), turned on oven light to help keep it warm.
8. Wrapped thick towel around pot (including lid). Placed covered pot in oven. Allowed to rest overnight.
Here's the finished product, scooped into the Bell freezer jars I mentioned earlier. One of them actually tipped over in the fridge and yet didn't leak. These are perfect for the job.
What to do with all that yogurt? We are currently obsessed with the mango lassi. Here's what to do:
1. Drag out your blender.
2. Pour 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of milk, fruit and juice from 2 mangoes, and your preferred sweetener in the blender. I've been using a bit of agave nectar, Brett likes good ole' sugar. My new mango secret: after you cut out the pit and scoop out the flesh, squeeze the pit over the blender with your hand. This ensures you get all the juicy mango goodness around the pit and decreases waste.
3. Whip until smooth.
4. Top with ground cardamom and enjoy! These are even better if you let them sit in the fridge for a bit to get really cold.