How we do it?
Remember that yogurts are made from milk and bacteria.... and each bacteria has it's own characteristics. Some are synergistic - like saying 2 + 2 = 5. In other words, the desired effect of combining bacteria, and we are not microbiologists here, is greater than either one of the bacteria alone. Dairy yoghurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria - and this is taken directly from the wikipedia. By law, those two bacteria cultures must be present to call the product "yogurt." And these two bacteria, as we understand it, create a firm yogurt faster than either one of the bacteria cultures by themselves - thus being synergistic.
The challenge is to find out which bacteria does what for the consumer - well guarded trade secrets, we imagine. But why worry about those things when we have both special cultures available from such places as the New England Cheesemakers Supply Company (the yogurts are shown about half way down the linked page - including the Y-1 Bulgarian yogurt culture) as well as your local supermarket (Activia)?
So for our first designer yogurt, we thought that the combination of Activia yogurt for it's health benefits and the Y-1 Bulgarian yogurt for it's creamy, rich taste would be a great combination. And late at night on June 12th, 2010, we put equal parts of Bulgaria culture and Activia culture into a tempered milk (with dry, powdered milk, a 50-50 sugar Splenda sweetener and a pinch of salt) which had been cooled to 110F from 190F. Believe it or not, it cultured in under 2 hours! Now that is what we call synergistic!
Sure, anyone can toass two yogurts together - the question is, how did it taste? Well we were very fortunate in that the two yogurts worked as planned, the Bulgarian culture provided a nice, creamy, delicious taste and the Activia, as we all know, provides the health benefits. We designate this as Y1-A for our records.
Our second designer yogurt came to us in testing Oikos Greek yogurt. We used a combination of 25% Oikos culture, 50% Activia and the remaining 25% was the Y1 Bulgarian culture. And luckily we ran out of milk... What happened next was a designer's dream come true. We used 2 quarts of whole milk, 1 quart of distilled water and added 3 packets of dry, powdered non-fat milk, enough to make 3 quarts of milk. After mixing that into the liquid milk, we added the Splenda-sugar mix and a pinch of salt and the rest is history. The result was the thickest, creamiest, tastiest yogurt we have ever come across.
So where to now? Well another culture we think is delicious is the Y-4 culture from the same source above and if we can combine that with Activia, we will have another designer yogurt.