Hotel Bel-Air in L.A. serves up this delectable vanilla-infused breakfast treat that's surprisingly easy to make.
1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups whole milk
1 tsp yogurt starter culture (plain yogurt with active culture)
Step 1: If using vanilla bean, split lengthwise, scrape out seeds and add pod with milk to a small pot. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cool to 110°F and remove vanilla pod.
Step 2: Liquefy the yogurt starter culture with some of the cooled milk, then add mixture back to remaining milk; stir to combine. (If using vanilla extract, add now.) Ladle mixture into yogurt-machine containers and follow manufacturer's directions. When done, refrigerate overnight, then dish it out and top with fresh berries.
To make yogurt without a yogurt maker, follow this recipe, adapted from food scientist Harold McGee's book Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes (2010 Doubleday).
Step 1: Heat milk to 180°F-190°F, then let it cool to 115°F-120°F.
Step 2: For each litre of milk, stir in 2 tbsp of store-bought yogurt (first thinning it with a touch of the hot milk). Pour mixture into a warm jar, container or insulated bottle, cover and keep still and warm until it sets, about 4 hours. Once the yogurt sets, refrigerate.