More experiments in the kitchen!
I'm pretty comfortable making yogurt at this point. At first, I was worried about the safety of culturing things on my counter, but there's really nothing to it. It's one of the easiest things I make. Whether it's cost effective is debatable. I think I only save a bit, but homemade is healthier so it's still worth doing. And makes me feel quite clever!
I started out using my standard method yesterday but wanted to try making it in the oven just to see if I could. I am never all that precise in the kitchen so I recommend doing some reading on the internet and not just following my pithy instructions. I found this post helpful.
Pour 4 cups of whole milk and 1 cup of half and half into a clean saucepan on medium heat. Heat the milk mixture until it just begins to climb up the sides (about 180 degrees). Some people skip this step, I think. This is about the right quantity to fill the 7 jars that came with my yogurt maker.
The mixture needs to cool down to about 110 (opinions vary). Whilst pouring into a glass bowl, I strain off any skin from the top of the milk. Then I stir in 1 individual size carton of Stonyfield Plain Yogurt (not sweetened, flavored, or fat free). Whisk it all together.
At this point, I usually just pour it into the little jars from my Eurocuisine Yogurt Maker, flip the switch, and let it sit but this time, I left it in the glass bowl, wrapped the bowl in a couple of towels and put it in the oven with the light left on. It really does stay at the perfect temperature. I let it sit in the oven for 7 hours - that's the tricky part - the oven is unavailable for 7 hours.
You can stop there, but with this batch I strained it over some cheesecloth for a thicker yogurt. This is something I can't do when making it in the little individual jars, at least not easily. I sweetened the whole batch a bit, poured it into jars, and topped it with the blueberries so it's all ready to go for my little boy.
It took some tinkering to find the right starter, the right method, and the right length of time to create just the right yogurt. And everyone seems to have their own method and formula. Of this latest batch my son states, "It's exactly the same, but even better." OK then!
ETA: It seems like this method might need some adjustment depending on how cold it is outside/in your home. This batch I made was done in 6-7 hours on a 70+ degree day. I made another batch on a 30-50 degree day that took almost three times as long to thicken.