Okay, so I saw Mireille Guiliano interviewed and she made this offhand statement about how a French woman would NEVER think of buying yogurt because she makes her own. ooh-la-la... She even includes a recipe in her new book, "French Women Don't Get Fat."
Using a yogurt-maker... uh-huh... don't own one of those... However, I do recall seeing an episode of my fave cooking show, "Good Eats" in which he describes how to make yogurt using a heating pad, not a fancy schmancy yogurt maker. Heating pad, I have.
So this is a mix of the two recipes, Mireille's ingredients, but Alton Brown's heating pad.
1 quart whole or 2 percent milk
1-2 tablespoons plain yogurt as a starter or 1-2 tablespoons of a commercial starter culture (available at natural food stores)
1. Warm up the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles appear around the edge and steam rises from the surface.
2. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl to cool until the temperature reaches 110 to 115 degrees on a cooking thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, do what the locals do: the temperature is correct when you can keep your index finger in the warm milk for 20 seconds.
3. Put the starter in a small bowl, add some of the heated milk, and stir until well blended. Return the mixture to the large bowl, a third at a time, making sure to stir and blend well after each addition. End with a final stir, making sure all is well blended. Pour it into a tall narrow container (I use a tall cylindrical tupperware). Cover with a heavy towel.
4. Place container into a narrow wine bucket, lined with a heating pad, or secure the heating pad around the tupperware with some rubber bands.Set the heating pad to medium. Let the mixture ferment for 3 to 12 hours making sure the temperature stays as close to 115 degrees F as possible. ("Medium" is the setting I use on my heating pad.)
5. After fermentation is complete place into the refrigerator overnight. If thicker yogurt is desired, empty chilled yogurt in a muslin bag or cheese-cloth, suspend over a bowl, and drain. (The volume may decrease by as much as half!)