Yogurt making kits
Nick: I don't know whether to thank you or kill you: I read this post and realized this was a perfect gift for my sister, so I looked up yogurt makers on the web. I decided I didn't like the idea of the little individual jars (at least not for my sister, who buys plain yogurt in the biggest size tubs). I fell in love with a large canister model, and decided to get her one for her birthday, which was today.
I spend literally hours on Saturday trying to track one down locally, and after another stint on the phone this morning I gave up and ordered it on line for Xmas, which meant I still had to go out today and find a birthday present.
So thanks for the idea, but I'm also holding you responsible for 24 hours of the most miserable, frustrating and unproductive shopping I've ever done!
PS: According to one person I talked to, the models like the one you linked where the jars are in rows have problems with uneven heating. If I were buying one of the jar-types I'd buy the circular one CarbLover linked.
I used to have a basic retro-looking kit that I probably picked up at a garage sale a long time ago. Don't remember brand, but it worked well and made exceptionally creamy and fresh-tasting yogurt. Not a big yogurt eater, so eventually gave it away, but if your recipient is a yogurt addict, then this is a great gift.
Although I like to look at Sur La Table, think that most stuff is overpriced. There's really not much to a kit to justify a $60 price tag IMO. Check out the $30 one that looks nice and more compact at Williams-Sonoma. The jars are included in price.
Just an fyi, I got a yogurt making machine at Goodwill once and just use some leftover yogurt from a previous batch (or a container of plain from the store) as a starter. It tastes great every time. You really don't need any special ingredients. Homemade yogurt is really great. Much nicer and milder than store bought, IMHO.