this post- and the yogurt gods smiled on me.
I wasn't heating the milk high enough- so after heating the homo milk to 185 degrees- then letting it cool to 110/105 degrees- I stirred in the starter (Astro yogurt- all natural, balkan style original, plain yogurt- 1/2 cup), and let it sit in the yogurt maker- but as I checked it wasn't quite getting warm enough- only 100 degrees, and I wanted 105 degress, I'm sure it's not such a big deal- but instead I poured the yogurt into a pyrex nesting bowl, (the second smallest)and zapped it in the microwave for 45 seconds, then put that bowl into the largest nesting bowl, which I filled with hot tap water- to give the yogurt an insulating water bath- I stuck a thermometer in the yogurt and covered with saran wrap- and then stuck the whole thing in the microwave to sit, checking every hour or two- warming it up as needed- for twelve hours.
It was good yogurt- tangy and smooth- and creamy- but I thought I could do more- so I strained it to maek greek style yogurt- after an hour in the strainer int he fridge (a regualer strainer over a bowl- lined with a coffee filter), it was so delicious, lots of water came out and I was left with yogurt like sour cream- tangy and rich.
I was also looking around online a bit more- and found that if you leave the yogurt overnight in the strainer for two days- it becomes like cream cheese, tastier though- especially when mixed with dill and green onion. It's addictive, and oh so excellent on crsuty french bread. Also I used store bought yogurt to make this 'creamcheese'- the above mentioned Astro brand of plain yogurt- so no need to mess around with making yogurt yourself to indulge in this treat.