Homemade yogurt: do you really need the powdered milk?
My yogurt maker has a recipe that calls for 4 cups milk, some amt (1.2 cup, maybe?) of powdered milk, and 1/2 cup yogurt. Do I need the powder or can I do without?
If you use whole milk, you will be fine with just milk. I have made perfectly adequate yogurt with 2% milk as well. The powdered milk adds body, which is particularly nice if you want to make yogurt with skim milk or very low fat. Low/nonfat yogurt will be rather thin without the dried milk, but it will work. If you can find powdered milk, it does improve it. I would most strongly recommend it if you're going for nonfat.
I also only use about 2 heaping tablespoons of yogurt for a starter.
I make a lot of yogurt using whole milk and powdered. The addition makes a thicker, richer yogurt better for sauces and straining for cheese.