I make mine in the cooler overnight. It's easy, and I've never had a batch flop. I make it right in mason jars. I put two pint jars, filled with milk in a pot of water (just keep water level below the neck of the jar....maybe an inch or so), medium heat until milk is 185 degrees, remove pan from heat, and cool milk to 115. As soon as I start heating my milk on the stove, I temper 2 or 3 quart jars. I also set my oven at 230 degrees, and boil an extra pot of water. Once my pot of water is boiled, I fill my quart jars with the water (be careful handling them, the suckers are hot!), put lids and rings on them, and place them in the oven, so they stay nice and hot while my milk is heating and cooling. As soon as milk is 115, I put a tablespoon of yogurt starter (plain yogurt) in each pint, give it a gentle stir with a plastic spoon, cover with lid and ring, and transfer to my cooler. I nestle the yogurt bottles with my hot water bottles (from the oven), and cover with a towel. As long as the lid isn't lifted, and the cooler is in a relatively warm room, you'll have yogurt in 10-14 hours. Put your yogurt in the fridge, let it cool down, and solidify a bit...boom, homemade yogurt! Make sure you save out a couple tablespoons of your homemade yogurt (in a separate container) to use as a starter for your next batch. As long as you use your starter within a week, it stays alive, and your yogurt will get better and better. I'm on my fourth batch of yogurt, using my own yogurt as starter, and it's fantastic
You can flavor it as soon as it's cooled down. Puréed fruit is nice mixed in. Vanilla yogurt, just add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and a teaspoon of two (depending on how sweet you like it) to each pint, and stir. Homemade yogurt trumps store bought, in my humble opinion, and it's easy and fun to make
Sorry for the huge post!
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