Some of our basic recipes that we use over and over again...

How We Make Our Yogurt

You need milk, some store-bought yogurt (for starter), a candy thermometer, and some empty jars.

Get some PLAIN yogurt from the store. Make sure it's yogurt that says "active cultures." (Not all of them do.)

Pour whole milk in clean glass jars (I use quart-size Ball canning jars), about 3/4 of the way full. Set the jars, full of milk (no lids), in a pot with water about up to the height of the milk.

Heat the milk to 180 degrees. (Watch that you don't get such a rolling boil that the water rolls into the milk.) Remove the jars from the heat & water at roughly 180 degrees. (Up to 185 is fine.) Let them cool on the counter to 110 degrees.

When the milk is cooled to 110 degrees, add about a half-cup of store-bought yogurt to each jar of heated milk.

Cap the jars. Keep the jars in a slightly warm place for 12-24 hours. To keep them warm for 12-24 hours, a lot of people put them in a cooler and toss a blanket in the cooler with the jars for extra warmth.

What I've found that works really well (instead of the cooler method) is to just put them in the oven at 105 or 110. I leave the light on, so I don't forget them in there. I'll do that overnight, and they are ready to go in the morning. And the oven is set low enough that I feel comfortable going out or going to sleep with the oven on.

Incubate for as long as you like within that 12-24 hour window.

Higher heat & longer fermentation = more sour yogurt. Lower heat and shorter fermentation = sweeter, less sour yogurt.

The yogurt will be runnier than store-bought yogurt, but the flavor is beyond compare. Our kids will only eat the homemade stuff now!

Also, you can use some of your homemade yogurt ultimately to provide your starter for the next batch (instead of using the 1/2 cup of store-bought yogurt). I've heard that it will weaken over time, and you might need to kick things back up with store-bought again. But there's some food for thought.

The whole process is super easy and requires very little active kitchen time, but you need to be home for a couple hours to just keep an eye on temps (the initial rise to 185 -- and then the cool to 110). After that, you can go party while the yogurt ferments on its own. ;)