In our house, we probably go through at least 2 quarts of yogurt each week. I like to purchase whole milk, non-homogenized yogurt when possible. The challenge is that few groceries stock this type and they are not located locally! Also, all those yogurt container are not recyclable in our area and I can only store so many for leftovers. Solution...make my own and it super easy! Do you own a crock pot, some canning jars (or some similar jars), a measuring cup, and a wisk? Then you have all the tools you need to make yogurt! Here's how I do it!
1/2 gallon milk (I used a non-homogenized local whole milk)
1/2 cup of yogurt with active cultures (dannon, seven stars, stonyfield, brown cow..check the label)
1/2 to 1 cup sweetener(s) of choice. (Cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, truvia, agave nectar, etc)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Crock pot (mine is a 5 qt)
Liquid measuring cup
2 quart canning jars + 1 pint canning jar or equivalent w/lids
Old butter tub, frosting container, or small jar to hold 1/2 cup
Ladle or spoon
Gather your crock pot (make sure it is clean) and your milk
Pour your milk into the crock pot, put the lid on, and cook on low for 2.5 hours. (I usually set my oven timer to remind me when time is up)
If you are going to add sweetener(s) and flavorings, you will add them at the end of the first 2.5 hours.
Note, with whole milk, your yogurt is not as sour as when it is made with skim milk. As a result, I do not add as much sweetener. In my last batch I added 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar and 1 Tbsp of vanilla.
So, if you are adding sweetener/flavoring, measure it out, add it to your crock pot and wisk so it is thoroughly mixed in.
After you have mixed in your sweeteners/flavoring (or if you are making plain yogurt), with the lid on, turn your crock pot off and leave it sit for 2.5 hours (I will set my oven timer again)
Now, your milk is ready for you to add your yogurt culture/starter.
In you measuring cup, measure 1/2 cup yogurt with active cultures and add 1 cup of your warm milk (mixture) and wisk thoroughly. Pour this into your crock pot and wisk thoroughly. Replace the lid and let this sit while you get your jars ready.
Wash your 3 jars in as hot of water as you can stand and rinse well in HOT water. You want your jars warm.
Now fill your warm jars with your warm milk/yogurt mixture and put their lids on. Now you need to gather your towels so you can insulate your jars. I placed a folded towel underneath the jars and then wrapped 3 towels over them.
Ugly, I know. Let your yogurt sit overnight (8-12 hours). In the morning, look what you will have!
Now, I take 1/2 cup and place in a separate container labeled "yogurt starter" for my next batch.
Place these 3 jars and your starter in the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 4 hours. Enjoy!