1 1/2 cups skim milk powder
6 cups skim milk
1 cup distilled water, bottled water, or RO (reverse osmosis) water
2/3 cup starter (plain yogurt with active cultures) (I originally said 1/3 but this should be 2/3 cup!)
Start with a large measuring cup, mine is 8 cups in size. Do not use any aluminum utensils and everything must be very clean!
Add 1 1/2 cups of skim milk powder to your measuring cup.Then add 6 cups of skim milk. You can use 2% or whole but to keep it fat free I like using skim.
Add 1 cup of distilled water, I have an RO system but bottled water is fine. This should bring the whole thing up to roughly the 8 cup mark on your measuring cup, that is, if you have the same one as mine, if not, then wing it :) I've put less milk in and more water, it all depends on how much milk I have in the house when I make my yogurt.
UPDATE: I should have said 2/3 cup of starter instead of 1/3!! Sorry!
Usually about 4 hours, give or take, is enough for me. This batch was done in exactly 3 hours and 37 minutes, give or take :)
To check your yogurt, simply lift the lid off and tilt it, ever so gently, sideways. When it starts to set it will be a bit jelled, the longer you leave it the firmer it will be, but beware of leaving it too long because it will get a stronger flavour the longer it incubates. When it gets almost to the point of where you like it, take it out, place it in the fridge and it will continue to firm up a bit more as it cools down.
I've flavoured the mixture before letting it incubate using everything from jam to instant coffee with Splenda (artificial sweetener) added. But I let it incubate plain now and add the flavourings after it's done, only because I need plain starter for my next batch. The kids love it with a few dollops of jam mixed in. I like to eat it plain, and I even like it hot straight from the dehydrator! Another great way to eat it is to let it drain overnight in a colander lined with cheesecloth. The next morning you will have very firm yogurt "cheese." Add onion soup mix and seasonings and you've got a great dip for chips or veggies. Add jam and you have a nice dip for fruit. You can use yogurt in place of sour cream too. We often put it on our potatoes and I've also baked with it. Jersey Farms has a few recipes on their site.
If you don't have a dehydrator for incubating there are numerous other ways to do it, Hillbilly Housewife has a few suggestions as well as Fias Co Farm, two places I first used when I started making my own yogurt. I've heard of using an electric frying pan, woodstove, thermos, or Styrofoam ice chest, there's bound to be something you have! Let me know how your yogurt turns out!
UPDATE: I was reading through my Yogurt book and besides all the things I mentioned above for incubating yogurt you can use your oven (gas or electric) as well. Instructions are as follows:
"Yogurt can be incubated very successfully by the warmth of the pilot light in a gas oven. Place the covered container of prepared milk on a rack in the top half of the oven. On a rack directly below, place a large, flat baking pan filled with boiling water. This will help to sustain the heat of the milk at the beginning of the incubation process. In an electric oven, turn the thermostat to the lowest possible setting. If the oven is still too hot, leave the door ajar while incubating the yogurt. Oven incubation is the easiest method to use for making large quantities of yogurt." (I think this last statement rings a bit false as I can fit quite a bit of yogurt in my dehydrator!)