It's been a little over a year ago that I learned I could make my own yogurt. I love homemade yogurt, love knowing that there is nothing in it but pure milk and yogurt cultures, but I admit I am not always successful in making my own. The last couple of times I made it -- it's been a few months -- it was a flop. I suspect it was my heating pad that was causing problems. I noticed when I was using it for an injury that it would alternately get very hot and very cool, and I'm sure the fluctuations in temperature were not good for growing yogurt.
a yogurt maker.
I have made two batches so far and am very happy with it. I like the glass jars, and I like not wasting so much plastic. And as silly as it sounds, I like being able to watch my yogurt while it grows. That was a problem with me and the hot pad -- I couldn't peek!
I strained half of the first batch for Greek style yogurt, and I'll probably strain most of the second batch -- I love that thick creamy style. I use 2% milk because I like a little bit of fat in my yogurt and I think some dairy fat is good for us, and I used Greek Style yogurt for my starter (you use store bought yogurt the first time but then use your own yogurt after that). The first time I let it grow for about six hours, and the second time I only let it go a little bit longer because I was afraid the power would go out with the ice storms we've had. But it is pretty firm even after six hours.
If you are a yogurt lover, I would highly recommend looking into a yogurt maker. With 42 ounces of fresh milk -- about $2 -- you can make about 48 ounces of fresh yogurt. In no time at all this machine will pay for itself. You still heat the milk to 180 degrees and cool it off before adding your yogurt, but once the milk mixture gets poured into the little pots, your work is done.