Making your own yogurt is easy, and it's a good way to save money and control the quality of the ingredients.
You can use whole milk or low fat. You can opt to use milk from pastured, local cows (or goats). You can definitely leave out all the non-dairy thickening and "texturizing" ingredients many commercial brands add.
Flavoring your homemade yogurt is a lovely way to enjoy your other homemade preserves. Try a spoonful of jam, or some simple canned fruit. A little applesauce or pear butter is always tasty with yogurt, or try a dash of real maple syrup or vanilla extract.
Once you've made yogurt, you're halfway to one of the easiest homemade cheeses, labneh. Originally a Lebanese recipe, labneh can be used as a cream cheese-like spread. You can flavor it with fresh herbs - my favorites for labneh are thyme and chives.
It seems like everyone who makes their own yogurt has a favorite method for making it. Here's mine, along with an easy recipe for labneh:
Photo © Leda Meredith