Have you heard this one? Says one guy to another, “My mother-in-law makes yoghurt by simply staring at the milk.” Clearly, he knows nothing about microbes 🙂
I’ve made yoghurt for years but our travels abroad took us to places where there was no fresh milk, except the ultra heat treated variety that that could survive unopened without a refrigerator for six to nine months. We didn’t miss it except for tea. Nairobi though, had lots of fresh cow’s milk, unlike that of the water buffalo milk largely available in India. The 20th Livestock Census found that India had more than 109 million buffaloes, above 56% of the world population  Apparently, Italy guard their water buffalo like a national treasure, India should take a page out of their bible.
On the East Coast of the US, the milk from the regular supermarkets ranges from pasteurised, non homogenised or homogenised whole milk to milk that contains no fat,  none of it like that of the water buffalo. So, there are no thick creamy layers that separate out and add an amazing layer to yoghurt but I have finally managed to successfully make a fairly thick natural yoghurt, thanks to a starter from a friend. This one tastes very unlike the store brought varieties that are usually thickened with carrageenan  or other such ingredients.
Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are responsible for producing lactic acid that help coagulate milk proteins and thus ferment milk, making it digestible. There are many other types that will exist alongside these two main species involved 
I was so happy to see the curds come alive that I felt compelled to write about them. All it needs is a spoonful of culture or starter, scalded milk that you can dip a finger into without burning yourself and a clean glass bowl (whole milk makes for thicker yoghurt) I placed the culture in the container and poured the milk over and stirred it, covered lightly (I didn’t seal it), I placed it in a warm corner ( the inside of the oven with the light on or a microwave oven). At ambient temperature, it may take a few hours to reach a jelly like consistency which indicates it’s done. I left mine undisturbed for twelve hours and it will stay well alive in the refrigerator, for a week or more until it begins to sour. There are other things that can be done then, like labneh  (akin to Greek Yoghurt) or it can be heated to form a soft cheese. Someday, I should write about this too. The yoghurt can be used as a starter culture to begin another batch.
There's no metaphor in milk,
it's simply a variety of cows,
like the seven days in a week,
seven breeds of cow in America.
Smile for the small brown Jersey*
with the long eyelashes.
Bacilli meet bovine, to curdle
the chaos in tepid milk.
An iteration of this philosophy
yields more curds than
there are clouds in the sky !
The sediment could be Greek
if the hyper-agile microbes
emigrate across a sieve
and the plot would thicken
to defy patents** in a kitchen.
within a porcelain bowl and
all it takes is a spoonful
to whip up a new world colony.
The Onomastics of teeming multitudes
engaged in a strange barter
of affections is the logic of science.
That I simply stare and smile is mine 🙂
I was having fun with figures of speech and some obsolete Onomatology ! For those of you that really like yoghurt, this is the most “terriblest” song I have ever heard about Yoghurt by Ylvis and it’s still the best ! The video is too 🙂
* Breeds of Cows, USAhttps://dairycarrie.com/2018/12/10/the-seven-common-breeds-of-dairy-cattle/
Yoghurt Song by Ylvis~https://g.co/kgs/hYVNLv