Yes, for me, success comes in the shape of a white blob. How many months ago did I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and think, "Wow, I really want to try to make cheese this week, or at least yogurt" ...? Well, I lost count after a dozen months. But now I reign victorious and have broken the mental roadblock of intimidation. It's that dang thermometer again.
Over the holidays, my father-in-law, who had recently given us a yogurt maker (essentially a plug in low-heat incubator), showed me in no uncertain terms how easy the task is. You heat a quart of milk with 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk for added richness. You cool the milk down to a certain temperature range. You add 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style yogurt). Stir, incubate overnight. Refrigerate. It's done.
I'm not giving specifics on heating and cooling because the details I saw online are different than the ones my father-in-law told me, so I need to experiment more before I go and toot that horn.
The point is, you can make yogurt with a few ingredients and no official equipment (besides a thermometer). I used the yogurt maker for a few jars of yogurt, but I also experimented with keeping a bowl of the mixture covered and on a heating pad and got equally good results. It sounds like you can use other heat sources, such as a previously heated oven or even a crock pot.
I like that I can control the thickness and acidity. I also love that making yogurt costs about half as much to make it than to purchase it. Next up: Cheese. Yes. This will happen. It will happen before a dozen months from now. I've used the thermometer, and I've made something from a culture...there's no turning back!