I've only haphazardly tried making my own yogurt - it's one of those things On My List that I will work into my habit more consistently once I've moved. But I regularly buy my yogurt plain in one of the large tubs, making sure it's a good one with all the nice probiotics that make yogurt such a good thing to eat.
Usually, I wind up using a bit of it at its normal consistency to cook a meal that would call for yogurt or sour cream, and then follow this process to thicken it up. My end result is somewhere between thick Greek-style yogurt and commercial cream cheese, and it works great as either a fluffly spread or as the base of parfait (throw in some crunchy granola bits, dried fruit, bits of fresh fruit, nuts, a drizzle of honey and this is an awesome breakfast or dessert.
I've seen instructions for this that call for cheesecloth and hanging it from the kitchen faucet and all sorts of convolutions like that but that sounds just fussy enough for me to rarely bother (my sink gets heavy use - food stuffs hanging out in there would be so beyond annoying to me).
So here's my lazy girl's method of thickening plain yogurt - get one of those middling sized mesh strainers (mine's 6" across) with a lip of some sort on it so it will rest on the edge of a bowl. The bowl should be deep enough that the strainer allows for at least a couple inches at the bottom - you want to be sure that as the whey drips into the bowl, the strainer doesn't wind up sitting in the whey.
Now, instead of cheesecloth, jus slip a basket style coffee filter into the strainer. Dump the container of plain yogurt into the coffee filter and... that's it. Cover it (a clean dish cloth is fine) and pop it into the fridge.
In about 4 hours, you'll have good thick Greek yogurt. Another 4 hours, and it will be as thick as spreadable cream cheese.
The coffee filter makes it extremely easy to turn it into a container for storage in the refrigerator - the filter can be picked up (carefully so the contents don't fall out), held over the container and one little shake plops the whole thing into the container with very little still left on the filter to be scraped off.
Pour the liquid into a glass jar (this is a clean spaghetti sauce jar), and keep it stowed in the refrigerator - it'll keep for up to six months at least, although mine never lasts that long.
Whey is an acidic pale yellow liquid that is perfect for adding to dried beans when they're soaking to aid with digestibility, to soak whole grains for the same reason, as a healthy addition to soups or smoothies. You can even stir a bit of it back into the thickened yogurt if you suddenly have an urge to eat it at its thinner consistency. I add a couple splashes to whatever I'm making and by the time it's gone, so is my thickened yogurt, so I do all this again.
All of this takes about 10 minutes actual work total, including washing the dishes used, and yields great returns in terms of healthy refrigerator ingredients and in cost savings. Can't beat that!
(shared with Saturday Nite Special, Whatcha Got Weekend, Weekend Wander, Check Me Out Saturday, Weekend Wrap Party, Show and Share Day, Think Pink Sundays, Not Baaaad Bloghop, Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop Sunday, Amaze Me Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Motivate Me Monday, DIY Project Parade, Made With Love Monday, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday, Monday Mania, Motivated Monday, You're So Very Creative, Making the World Cuter Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits, Get Your Craft On, Anything Related, Hearth and Soul Hop, What's On the Menu Wednesday, We Did It Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Show and Tell Wednesday, Make It Yours Day, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Penny Pinching Party, Hump Day Link Love, Full Plate Thursday, Thrilling Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday)