It requires no electric, has simple easy to follow directions and comes with yogurt starter culture. I was content with the consistant results. I did find a couple slight drawbacks to the Yogotherm. I needed smaller containers to store the yogurt in (we never consumed 2 qts quickly enough). And also I have an issue with using and storing milk products in plastic, fear of bacteria leaching into plastic. The inner works of the Yogotherm is a plastic container.
I did the glass jar in the oven method, but never felt quite comfortable with the temp control there either.
Then by accident I found the EuroCuisine yogurt maker. I absolutely love it! Comes with 7 glass storage jars, has temp control and auto shut off. So easy!
1 quart whole milk (I use our fresh whole goat milk)
1 packet of a yogurt starter culture (I use the DS Yogurt culture from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.)
¼ cup sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses or artificial sweetener. (This is optional, though if you are use to store bought yogurt this will help with the transition to homemade.)
¼ cup instant dry milk (Also optional, it does produce a creamier, thicker yogurt and will increase the protein content in your yogurt by 2 grams per cup)
Scald milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When the temperature reaches 112º to 116º (don't want too hot, heat will kill the active bacteria), remove pan from heat, stir in the sugar or other sweetener. Once sugar or sweeteners are dissolved you may add other flavorings if desired.
Add instant dry milk, stir well.
Add culture, stir well.
Fill all jars, place the jars into the "machine" and follow the manufactures cooking instructions. It will take 6 to 12 hours (I leave mine to set overnight), depending on the type of milk you use, and the firmness desired.
When done, chill the jars in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. You can keep your yogurt for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
Though I use a commercially available direct set yogurt culture, you can use 1 - 2 rounded tablespoon of store bought plain yogurt (make sure it has live bacteria cultures) as a starter culture. Use only unflavored.
You can use 1 tablespoon of extract such as vanilla, lemon, almond, banana, etc. to flavor your yogurt.
You can also flavor with 1 tablespoon ground spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or other favorites. 1 tablespoon of instant coffee, instant Chai tea mixes or the General Foods International instant beverage mixes can also be used for flavoring.
For jam or fruit preserves, add 1 tablespoon into the bottom of each container and pour the warm yogurt mixture over. Incubate as normal.
For fresh, canned or dried fruit, it is best to add these after the yogurt has incubated. The acid content of some fruits can curdle the yogurt mixture and prevent proper fermentation.
Only use one pan during the yogurt preparation process.
If you use soymilk, make sure to use UHT soymilk, which contains fructose, honey or malt. These ingredients are necessary for fermentation.
Remember - Homemade yogurt will never be the same texture or flavor as store bought.