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1 liter / 1 quart whole or reduced fat milk (not long life)
4 tablespoons plain, unflavored yogurt with active live cultures
Place the milk in a saucepan and heat to: 82º Celsius / 180º Fahrenheit. (just below the boiling point). Take care to not scald the bottom. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, around: 40.5º to 43º Celsius / 105º to 110º Fahrenheit (baby bottle temperature).
While the milk is cooling, slightly heat oven for several minutes so it is warm, around 35º Celsius / 85º Fahrenheit. Turn off and leave the oven door closed.
A skin will form on top of the cooling milk. Remove it. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of yogurt. (At this stage, several tablespoons of honey may be whisked in, if desired.)
Transfer to clean jars with tight-fitting lids or pour into glass or ceramic large or small bowls. Cover open containers with a dish towel.
Place on a sheet pan in the warm oven. Close the oven door. (Alternatively, place in a warm place or inside a large, plastic cooler.)
Let sit completely undisturbed for 6 to 12 hours. When the yogurt has thickened, carefully drain excess liquid, if necessary.
Place in sealed containers in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before eating. Use within 4 to 5 days. Serve plain, with granola, topped with fruit, preserves or honey. Don’t forget to save a small amount to make the next batch.
If it does not set, either the milk was too hot when the yogurt was stirred in or the cultures were not live in the yogurt.
Yield: 1 liter / 1 quart plain yogurt.
To make thick Greek-style yogurt:
Line a colander with cheesecloth and place over a bowl taking care the bottom of the colander is well above the base of the bowl. Pour finished yogurt into the colander. Gather four corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze excess liquid out of the yogurt. Tie off the top of the cheesecloth just above the yogurt mass with string. Place back in the colander over the bowl and let rest in refrigerator 2 to 3 hours. Squeeze any excess. Store up to 5 days in a closed container in the refrigerator.