Making home-made yogurt...
Step One is to heat your milk in the stock pot to 180-185F. Heat slowly on medium heat and stir often. You will notice the milk becoming a little frothy on top when it is getting close (you can see it in the picture). It takes about 15 minutes. However, check often with your thermometer until you get more comfortable with the process.
Step Two is to cool your milk in the stock pot to 110F. I put water with some ice cubes in my kitchen sink to roughly the same level of the milk in the pot. You can release some of the water if you notice your pot floating. Stir frequently and check often with your thermometer. Once you hit 110F, remove from ice bath and move to step 3.
Step Six is to jar it up and store it. I use glass storage with snap seal lids but use what you have on hand until you can get a better system for storage. Then place the containers in the back of fridge and let it sit for 12-24 hrs. to chill and thicken to final stage of eating.
Step Seven is to EAT and ENJOY! I love mine plain. We also enjoy it mixed with honey, unsweetened applesauce, fresh fruit, all-natural jam. I have also added herbs to make a veggie dip. The list is endless on how you can enjoy home-made yogurt.
Step Eight is to start over and make some more! Reserve the amount you need for a starter and make a new batch once you're ready for more.
Just a note: I used 2% the first round but since then have used Whole so I can get a thicker consistency. I do not add solid milk products...some people do to thicken (commercial yogurt definitely adds solids and pectins)...solid milk products add too much lactose and changes the pH of the yogurt which can impact the quality of your probiotics.
1/2 gallon with 30 minute strain yields about 48 oz. of yogurt.
You can also use soy milk, coconut milk, sheep's milk, goat's milk. You will need to purchase yogurt starter packets if using cow's milk alternatives.
Lastly, my yogurt has always come out quite tasty but don't forget that sometimes things can just happen and not come out as planned. Don't give up...just try again!