How to Make Your Own Yogurt (any type of milk)

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Make your own yogurt with just about any type of milk -- cow, goat, rice or soy milk. The process even works as a kitchen experiment with children. Yogurt is good not only for direct consumption, but also as a substitute for fats or buttermilk in baking or for skin and hair mask recipes. You don't need a yogurt-maker, but kitchen stores carry them if you want to cut some time.

Gather your supplies and ingredients. For the freeze-dried starter, head to a health food store. If you plan to use a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, buy a brand with live cultures and without gelatin, fillers or additives. Set out the fresh plain yogurt to get it to room temperature.

Slowly heat the milk to about 180 degrees. Stir it often with the wooden spoon to make sure it doesn't boil. If you don't have a thermometer, heat it until a skin forms on the surface and tiny bubbles appear.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool it to about 112 to 115 degrees. It should still feel warm to the touch. When you make your own yogurt many times, you'll develop a "feel" for 112 degrees.

Stir in 3 tbsp. of room temperature plain yogurt or a packet of starter.

Cover the milk, and set it in a consistently warm place (e.g., top of a refrigerator, a hot water heater, or on a heating pad set on medium, and wrapped in a towel) so the yogurt ferments at 108 to 112 degrees.

Check the yogurt after four hours to see if it's tangy and firm enough for you. It may take up to eight hours to get the right tang and consistency.

Gently stir the finished yogurt, and pour it into the sterilized containers. Cover with lids, and put into the refrigerator. Let the yogurt set in the refrigerator for 12 hours before eating it. The yogurt should keep for a week.