We eat a lot of yogurt in this house. I've been wanting to try my hand at making my own yogurt but it was intimidating to me and I kept putting it off. Finally, I heard about making it in the crockpot; it sounded simple enough that I was no longer scared to try it.
We made it yesterday and we love it! If you're used to traditional store bought yogurt it is different - a bit more runny and has the tart taste but it didn't even take us some getting used to - we loved it at first bite.
It's easy too, though there are several steps to follow so you'll want to do this on a day when you are around the house.
Put 8 cups of milk in the crockpot. Non-homogenized is best, as is whole milk. Put lid on. Turn to low and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
Unplug crockpot and leave lid on, let sit for 3 hours.
Scoop out 2 c. still warm milk and whisk in 1/2 c. of store bought plain yogurt. This is the starter which will introduce all the beneficial bacteria to your batch. Once this batch is complete you can reserve 1/2 a c. from your homemade yogurt to make your next batch. Dump the 2 c. mixture back into the crockpot and stir.
Wrap a thick bath towel around the crockpot and let it sit for 8 hours.
That's it! I started mine later in the day and by 11:30pm, when I was ready for bed, the yogurt mixture had only been sitting for 6 hours but I put it away in the fridge anyway, and it had still thickened to a perfect texture. I think this recipe is pretty fail-proof.
I enjoyed mine with granola and a sprinkle of chia seeds. You can also add fresh fruit or even a tablespoon of jam to make it your choice of fruit flavored. Honey would be good or maple syrup for a sweet taste. The possibilities are endless. Joe, the pickiest of the bunch, even enjoyed this plain on top of granola. He told me it was "Yummy like a hamburger" which means the yummy factor is up there at the top of the list with his favorite food.
A whole crockpot full of yogurt ended up being about $2.25 and the price will go down next time as I won't need to buy store bought yogurt for the starter, so it should be closer to $1.90 (the price of half a gallon of non-homogenized milk). This is by far healthier and much cheaper than any store bought yogurt...it's a keeper!