I've never had much luck with 'ordinary' yoghurt. Into a jar I'd put scalded milk and starter. I'd leave it in a warm place, open it up a day or so later, and find - scalded milk and starter.
It's true that I didn't perservere as determinedly as I could have. But since getting this Caspian Sea yoghurt (from Deb at Wellington WAPF) I haven't seen the point in trying to make regular yoghurt again.
Making Caspian Sea yoghurt seems almost failsafe, and perfect for people like me for whom precision is not a strong point.
Put a few dollops of the starter in a clean jar. Add any kind of milk (or cream). Then put the lid on, shake it around a bit, and leave it somewhere that's not too cold. Open it up the next day, and there you have it! A jar of yoghurt!
(This may not seem so amazing if you're used to success with yoghurt, but for me it's nothing short of miraculous. I feel like Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold.)
Caspian Sea yoghurt, also called Matsoni, originated in Georgia apparently, and was introduced into Japan in the 1980s. It contains yeasts as well as bacteria - so it tastes very like ordinary yoghurt, but with an extra yeasty tang. It also has more of a gloopy, viscous texture.
So far I've used it in curries, smoothies, dips, and for Bircher muesli. Next on the to-do list is a frozen yoghurt dessert.
It's so ridiculously easy, I feel like I want to make more ... and more ... and MORE! And I want to give little pots of it away to everyone - so they can start making more and more and MORE!
There are some interesting community swap networks getting going in Wellington at the moment - as well as a Really Really Free Market happening in town on Buy Nothing Day - November 29.
I'm hoping to be there with great mountains of Caspian Sea yoghurt.