I made yogurt in my crockpot last night! You can't imagine my excitement when I uncovered the mixture this morning, half expecting a sour liquid mess to be waiting for me, and realized that it had indeed actually worked.
Mac was the first one up, and I fixed him a small bowl with raspberries mixed in. I told him it was unsweetened, and that he could add a little sugar or honey if he liked. He gobbled it right up, without sweetening it, and told me this was how they eat their yogurt in Spain. "If Mrs. O (his AP Spanish teacher) hears that you made this, she'll go crazy!"
We go through quite a bit of yogurt around here, and making it this way is so much more economical, and so much better for you.
Here's what I did:
Plug crock pot in and turn to low heat. Add 1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole milk. Let cook, covered, for 4 hours. Turn crockpot off, unplug it, and set lid ajar for milk to cool. Check often with a candy thermometer, while waiting for milk to reach about 115 F.
When milk has reached desired temperature, remove two cups to a glass measuring cup. Whisk in 3 T dried milk, and 1/2 cup plain yogurt. (This acts as a starter. After you've made yogurt, you can use 1/2 cup of your own as a starter.)
Whisk milk/yogurt mixture back into the warm milk in the crockpot. Cover. Wrap entire crockpot in bath towels for insulation. Leave sit for 8 hours. Uncover.
You can now refrigerate your yogurt as it is, or place a coffee filter in the bottom of a colander, and place it over a bowl. Fill the colander with your yogurt, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for several hours. This allows the whey to drain from the yogurt, leaving you with a thicker product.
To serve, eat plain, drizzle with honey, or mix with fruit or granola.
I started this at 6PM, just as I was preparing dinner. I turned the crockpot off at 10 PM, and it took almost an hour to cool to the right temperature. It was covered and "put to bed" by 11 PM. This worked perfectly for me. Had I made it during the day, I would've been tempted to peek during the 8 hour resting time. This way, I just went to bed and woke up to yogurt!