Not to brag but, the best vanilla yogurt I have ever had is my own homemade yogurt. It has the texture of a Greek yogurt, which I know is quite popular right now, and is pretty simple to make. Yes it is science, but it's not rocket science. Not to mention a fraction of the cost of buying the equivalent in the grocery store.
If you think you might want to try making your own yogurt you will need the following high tech supplies:
One picnic cooler
One large pot
One small sauce pan
One candy thermometer.
One wooden spoon
Four pint jars and one half pint jar with lids and rings
Prepare your equipment by filling the pot with water and bringing it to the boil. Place your clean jars in the sink and fill with the boiling water. Put your lids and rings in the small sauce pan and cover with the remaining hot water to just to make sure to get rid of any unwanted bugs.
Now assemble your ingredients:
1 half gallon of whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
1/2 cup yogurt starter*
What the heck is *yogurt starter you ask? Simple. You just need some yogurt. For my first batch I used a 6oz cup of vanilla yogurt from the grocery store. After that I use my own homemade yogurt. That is what the half pint jar is for. You don't ever eat this one because next time you make yogurt you dump it in the new batch. It becomes perpetual, just like Friendship Bread, only it doesn’t grow out of control like Friendship Bread. Oh I could use a slice of that right now. J
Where was I? Oh yes.
Put your milk in the pan and stirring constantly over medium heat bring it up to 185°. Whatever you do don’t let it boil and don’t scorch it. Stir, stir, stir. This is when a kid comes in handy.
Once the milk reaches temperature remove from heat. Fill your sink a few inches with cold water. Carefully put your pot in there. Don't let water get in the pot. Allow milk to cool to 120°. Remove your pot from sink and add sugar, vanilla and yogurt starter. Use a whisk and thoroughly combine.
Pour your yogurt into your jars (actually I like to use a ladle because I have bad aim) and put the lids on tightly. . Place jars in cooler. Fill your pot (you may want to wash it out first) with warm 120° water. Not too hot, not too cold. Pour water into cooler to cover up jars. Close lid and place cooler in draft free place for 3 hours. Leave it alone. Walk away man, don't even peek.
At the end of three hours remove jars from cooler, wipe dry and place in refrigerator overnight. Then enjoy your delicious yogurt.
You can eat it as is or with fruit, homemade granola, or both. For a plain yogurt version just omit the sugar and vanilla. Give it a shot!