Step 8: The Circle of Life
This is a robust process. Over the past 2 years I have fermented about 80 gallons of yogurt. I've used different gear and different milk and made every mistake. For the past 60 batches, I have used only my own starter. Still *never* a failure. I am careful about sanitation; brush cleaning everything with a little bleach in my dish detergent. But my kitchen isn't a laboratory. This bacteria is so territorial, it's fighting off other microorganisms. It creates it's own environment for its safety and our delight. After 60 generations, it's growing like fresh culture.
I tried some batches with added dry milk. That's just more trouble and expense. Fluid milk is cheaper than the equivalent powdered milk. If I need more yogurt for a special culinary project, I'll buy a 2nd jug.
After losing a lot of weight and radically improving my health, I have switched from skim to whole milk. The resulting yogurt product is luscious. Like cream cheese (but with flavor), you can spread it on toast. Of course I use it for fruit smoothies every morning. With a dab of olive oil and spices, it makes wonderfully thick and creamy salad dressings. When loaded with Southwest spices or wasabi, it sauces sandwich meat. Creamy belly-filling vegetable soups too.
With foamed cream or pasteurized egg white, it makes a sweet whipped pie filling. Oh yes. I hope to spend years discovering new yogurt desserts. And living well.
Cheers from Sarasota.