I have made my own yogurt twice before this.  Those times were not fails, the thing is if you’re yogurt is too thin, you can just use it for smoothies, so there’s not an actual fail.  But, I think everyone, well, at least I, love the thick, creamy yogurt.   Not necessarily the Greek yogurt, but I do like it thick.  So when I saw this post for “Four Secrets to Thick, Creamy Yogurt Every Time.”  I was interested.  I think the main “secret” she fails to mention in this post is the fact that you need to incubate the yogurt at a warm temperature.  You can’t just put it in warm water once and leave it at that you have to keep it at a fairly steady warm temperature.  So, after reading more, I decided on the following method for making it at I was pretty happy with the results.  I think it will be the same for you.

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey or sucanat (I used the maple syrup)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sucanat OR other sugar (I didn’t use this the first time and I’d like it a bit sweeter so I will add this the next time.)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Chobani)

Equipment:
Kitchen thermometer
Cooler big enough to hold 2 quart and 1 smaller jar
Large saucepan

In the large saucepan combine milk, syrup, sucanat and vanilla.  Heat milk to 180° or  until it just starts to bubble and forms a skin on the top.  Remove from heat and cool to 120°.  You can hurry this process by putting bottom of pot in sink of cold water. 

While your milk is scalding.  Prepare your jars.  Sterilize with boiling water and let sit upside down to drain.

Put on a pot of water to get hot not boiling.  If you’re water from the tap is really hot you can use that the first time.  You want it to be around 110-120°

Once the milk has cooled take one cup of the milk and the 1/2 cup of yogurt DO NOT STIR!  Gently swirl the yogurt around in the milk.  It will stay mostly separate and chunky. This is what you want.  Pour this starter back into the milk, swirl gently to introduce the starter to the milk. 

Pour the milk into the sterilized jars try to divide the chunks between the jars.  Put lids on them.  I use these lids.  Place the jars in the cooler.  Fill the cooler with the hot water so it comes about 1/2 way up the jars.  I took an extra jar and filled it with water from the cooler to hold it down and put the thermometer in there so I could monitor the temperature.  Close the lid and let it sit.  I checked it every 2-3 hours to see how the temp was holding.  I would heat water on the stove and add it to the cooler.  If the water started getting to high up the jar I would just scoop some out before adding more.

You want the yogurt to incubate 10-18 hours.  No, that is not a typo.  I let mine go for about 13-14 hours.  Next time I will try for longer.

Place in fridge. Once chilled you will be able to turn your jar upside down and it should be so thick it doesn’t move.  If you shake it around it will though, or if you turn the jar over more than once or twice it will. 

And that is that.  I was super excited and I hope you are too.  If you try this come back and let me know how it turns out for you.