About ten years ago I picked up a yogurt 'maker' at a yard sale for five dollars and stuck it in the storage space that had served as my room until I went off to college. Until two weeks ago, it just sat there, collecting dust on a shelf and waiting for its closeup.
Maybe it was the amount of money we were spending on yogurt, maybe it was my mostly failed attempt to make it without properly incubating the milk, maybe it was the raw milk that my friend Alex at Feed Me Like You Mean It kept buying for me that inspired me to wind up the ole Salton and see what she could do.
The 'machine' (little more than a low-energy warmer) is pure 1974.
The machine has five milk-glass jars and snap-on lids for each. There's something that looks like a timer at the top, but all it actually does is remind you what time you started to incubate the yogurt.
I followed the basic recipe for yogurt: heat milk just past 180 F, cool to 120, add culture, incubate 12 or so hours. There's also Harold McGee's recipe from the New York Times. It works. You can then drain the whey out (and reserve it for lacto-fermentation starter for coolers, krauts etc) and make yogurt cheese which is a great substitute for cream cheese or can be mixed with other spices and ingredients to serve as a dip.
Seriously easy. You'll never supermarket yogurt again - except when you need culture. And no, you don't need a vintage yogurt maker. There are a ton of modern ones available on Amazon, and if you make a water bath and keep the cultured milk warm-ish for a few hours, you won't even need a maker.
For those who want to see the instructions, I give you the instructions, in order, from the manual. If you want to see a bigger version, click on the photo and go to the Flickr page where you can see a larger copy of the page.
There were a couple more pages - mostly recipes that incorporate yogurt. Nothing special. You know what to do, right?