I ventured into making homemade yogurt about 6 months ago. We eat a lot of yogurt for breakfast, and it started adding up. I looked into making my own, and didn’t really want to get a yogurt maker, or worry about getting things up to the right temperature, let it sit at the right temperature for the perfect amount of time, etc. It seemed like a bit of a pain.
I started reading about the different types of starters at Cultures for Health, and was intrigued by the mesophilic starters. They have a great page to help you choose the right yogurt starter for you. I knew I wanted an heirloom variety so I could re-use the starter perpetually instead of using new starter each time. So, I bought the villi starter. It was so easy! You just mix milk with the starter, leave it out at a warm room temperature until it sets. I put it in a quart canning jar with a coffee filter on top secured with a canning lid ring. You know it is set when it pulls away from the side of the glass. I leave it sitting on top of my dryer in my laundry room which is off my kitchen – it stays warm in there. Then, you just use 1 tablespoon of yogurt for each cup of yogurt you want to make for the next batch. I make it about once a week.
I liked it so much, I got some Filmjolk starter. The description says it has a slightly cheesier flavor. It was just as easy to start, and has perpetuated quite well. I have used a nut milk bag to strain some whey out of it to make it more like cream cheese – it is a great substitute for cream cheese.