I've recently acquired a yoghurt-maker, and love making my own.
Turns out you don't even need a fancy machine -- you can just make it using a thermos or cooler, or in your oven if you can keep the temperature around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, such as a gas stove with a pilot light.
But given how cold it can get in the house during winter (and the fact that my electric oven does not have a low setting), I do think my new yoghurt-maker will be a nice convenience for consistent batches of the white stuff.
I'm, shall we say, an imprecise cook, and after the initial measuring and checking temperatures, I now make my yoghurt as follows:
1-2 qtMilk (I like whole milk rather than reduced fat-- it's often on sale at the Grocery Store)
1-2 T plain yoghurt (Greek is my favorite)
Heat up milk on stove or microwave until it's warm enough for a baby bottle (test on back of hand -- if it's nice & warm but doesn't hurt, then that's good!) Officially, it's supposed to be 110 F, and most recipes call for scalding milk first (180F) and then cooling it back down, but with already pasteurized milk that is not necessary.
Add a little of the milk to your starter, mix it well until there are no clumps, then return to big container of milk.
Then put it all into the yoghurt-maker, or if you're using a cooler -- just bed your container (closed) down in such a way that it stays nice and warm (insulate by wrapping in towels, etc).
Keep it warm overnight (minimum 4 hrs), and all the little bacteria will go to work and multiply happily!
Do not disturb while culture is forming.
To get the nice thick creamy stuff, I send the final product through a cheese cloth or coffee filter for a couple of hours to get rid of the whey (liquid)--- the remaining yummy thick yoghurt doesn't have any of the carregeenan or other gelatenous thickening agents used in commercial yoghurt, and it's delicious!
Some uses for homemade yoghurt
sustitute for sour cream, mayo
Simple dessert (yohurt -sweeten slighty if desired, strawberries, sprinkle w/ granola)
Smoothies (yohurt, banana, OJ, etc)
Tsaziki (cucumbers, yoghurt, dill, salt & pepper)
Frankfurter Gruene Sosse (*recipe on one of my potatoes posts)
Chicken Tikki Masala (and the related Murgh Tikki Masala), go here for recipe.
photo credit: bonappetit.com