Things you need:
- Big pot
- Thermometer -- I use an instant read thermometer, as I broke my candy thermometer
- Jars -- I use 6 oz Ball or Mason jars (they might be 8 oz), as they're single-serving size and I'm more likely to eat my yogurt if I'm not dirtying dishes to do so. You need more capacity than you think; the milk expands as heated and a gallon will make an extra half pint to a pint
- Canning Funnel -- not strictly necessary, but makes life SO much easier
- Ladle -- More necessary than the funnel
- Milk -- Can be any type: whole milk, 2% or skim. I like whole or 2% for yogurt, but I made it with skim for my mom and she loves it
- Starter -- If I don't have any of my own yogurt, I buy a small pot of Stonyfield Farm plain. It's got active cultures in it and is very good quality
- Whisk -- again, not strictly necessary, a spoon will do, but it incorporates the starter nice and fast
- Cooler -- must be big enough for a single layer of jars
How to make it:
- Pour milk into a big pot. Make sure you have room for it to expand, as it does when heated. Heat to 185dF. Stir now and again, but *do not* let it boil. Prep an ice water bath in the sink as you wait.
- When it reaches 185 degrees, move the pot to the ice water bath and let it cool to 120dF. Prep the starter while you wait (ie, open the container).
- When the milk has cooled to 120dF, add the starter and whisk or stir to incorporate.
- Fill the jars. I usually leave about a quarter inch of head space. If you want to add a lot of mix-ins (fruit, granola, etc), leave more space.
- Put the jars in the cooler and add enough hot tap water to submerge the jars up to the level of the milk. Try not to submerge the jars completely; if they aren't sealed you don't want to risk getting water into your yogurt.
- Cover the cooler with a thick towel and put it somewhere out of the way. I put mine in my tub.
- Ignore for 6-8 hours, or overnight. You can check it, but don't touch it for at least 4-6 hours. It won't set if you play with it.
- At the end of the incubation period, the milk shouldn't move when you tip the jar on its side. Refrigerate and eat when chilled.