Making yogurt can be very simple if you use a store bought yogurt as your starter. All it takes is a good sized dollop of yogurt with active cultures. Make sure you choose one that doesn't have any sweetener or fruit mixed in, just plain yogurt. Choose a variety that you already like because the resulting yogurt will take its flavor from what you use as a starter. This was my first attempt at making yogurt. It came out well but I think next time I will use a little less milk so that I end up with a slightly thicker end product.
As with the vinegar cheese, I started with two quarts of fresh, raw milk. I added 2/3 C of powdered milk to mine to help thicken it. I started by heating the milk slowly until it reached 185 F. I then allowed it to cool down to 110 F. I just let mine sit and cool on the counter while I stirred it occasionally but if you want to cool it faster, you can put the pot in a sink of ice water. Just keep a close eye on it because it will cool down very quickly if done that way.
After it was cooled to the correct temperature, I added a few heaping spoonfuls of the plain yogurt I was using as a starter.
I have a yogurt maker, so after the plain yogurt was stirred in, I simply poured the milk into my yogurt maker, put the lid on, and left it to sit on the counter. I have heard of electric yogurt makers, but the one I have isn't. It is like a mini cooler. It has a removable plastic bucket where you pour in the milk and the bucket sits inside a styrofoam housing. All it does is keep the milk at the correct temperature for the yogurt cultures to incubate and turn all the milk to yogurt.
The mixture sits in the yogurt maker for 7-10 hours. When it is done, I simply spoon the yogurt into the container of my choice. Very easy and delicious!
You can easily make yogurt without a yogurt maker though I have not done it this way. These directions are taken from a thread at backyardchickens.com and are not written by me:
Pour the mixture into a quart sized jar. Wrap in a dishtowel to insulate.
Using a second jar, fill it with boiling water. Wrap it in a dish towel to insulate.
Place both jars in a small cooler that you have heated with hot water***. Allow the yogurt to cure for 10 - 12 hours. When the milk is set to a solid it is ready. Refrigerate and serve cold.
***Do not leave water in the cooler. Fill the cool with hot water while you are preparing everything then pour it out. You simply want a warm place to incubate your yogurt cultures.