I've been making our yogurt for about a year now. It's a simpler process than you might think. I know I was surprised when I found out how easy it was!
We've been buying raw milk from a local dairy and using some of this milk to make yogurt. I know some say that homemade yogurt is less expensive. From my calculations, it turns out to be about the same price for both homemade and store-bought. But if you are able to use milk that has been bought at a reduced price, then the homemade will be less expensive. The homemade is healthier though since it has no added sugars or preservatives and I know exactly what's in it! We also have a hard time using a whole gallon of milk before it goes bad so this is an excellent way to make good use of that.
I use a small yogurt maker that I found new in the box at Goodwill. This gave me the courage to try making yogurt!
I have read on different blogs how some make yogurt by putting it in jars or bowls in the oven overnight. I would like to try this at some point, not only as a way to reduce the amount of gadgets I have around but also because I could make more than one quart of yogurt at a time this way. Stephanie gives wonderful instructions here.
To make yogurt, simply heat 1 quart(4 cups) of milk on the stove at medium heat until almost to the boiling point( bubbles will form around the edge). At this point remove milk from heat and let drop to between 100-110 degrees. I put it in the refrigerator and set the timer for 20 minutes as that's about how long it takes to cool to that point. (Use a candy/cooking thermometer!) When at the right temperature, gently stir in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt(with live cultures). Place all in the warmed yogurt maker or jars in a warm oven and let set until cultured, about 6-8 hours or overnight. Refrigerate yogurt for several hours before serving.
This will of course be plain yogurt. You can eat it plain as I often like to do or add fruit and sweeteners. My husband likes it with honey and vanilla. Homemade yogurt won't be nearly as creamy and smooth as store bought.It is also slightly runnier. Also the longer it cultures, the more tart it will be.
I still purchase yogurt when I can combine coupons with a sale since we enjoy it so much. But I love that I now know how to make my own as well!