Originally Posted by Chef Munky
Is it possible to make your own starter from home without buying & using the commercial brand kits. Or a container bought from the store?
We go through quite a bit of yogurt and cottage cheese around here. Like everything else the prices are getting ridiculous. Since I do have the equipment. Dehydrator, canning jars of all kinds sitting in the garage doing nothing. Why not?
Yes, you can make yoghourt using yoghourt bought from the supermarket or health food store. Just be sure it's "live" yoghourt (not pasteurised of in any other way heat treated as this kills the useful bacteria). Usually the yoghourts displayed under refrigeration are live but check the label. Also check the sell by/use by date on the label and choose the pot with the longest date.
Once you've started your first batch of home-made yoghourt you can use some of that as a starter for your next batch and a batch of the second batch for your third batch, etc. When we used to make it that way we found we needed to buy a new pot of live yoghourt about every six batches as it began to lose it's potency after that. You'll need to experiment a bit.
Oh yes, I forgot - use "natural" ie unsweetened, unflavoured yoghourt with no additives as your starter. Also remember (probably preaching to the converted her) that you need to keep all your equipment spotlessly clean and to scald everything with boiling water before commencing the yoghourt making.
I have got lazy in my old age and use Easiyo.
You can make soft cheese by straining yoghourt through muslin overnight (you can use the whey that drips out for making scones, etc.). The fat content o the soft cheese varies according to whether you use skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat milk. It can be used for cheesecakes or anything you'd use Quark or similar soft cheese for.