I love yogurt and eat a lot of it. I eat it straight from the container, I use it in smoothies, I strain plain yogurt to make it Greek-style, I play around with it. But I'm not so jazzed about some brands' ingredients, so I'm careful what I buy. Oftentimes, being careful what one buys equals paying more for what one buys, since quality can cost more than, you know, not-so-quality.
So I was excited to discover Stephanie O'Dea's recipe for slow cooker yogurt on her website. (Thanks to Tricia at Hodgepodge for the link!) I've made two batches and feel confident enough in the process to write about it.
The first time I made it, I used two percent milk and nonfat yogurt as my starter. This was in direct disobedience to Stephanie's advice, which stated whole milk, especially for one's first attempts. The resulting yogurt was tasty but quite liquidy. It made great smoothies without adding any extra liquid. I strained some of it for a thicker yogurt, and this was successful. But I wanted to try whole milk the next time, which I did.
On my second attempt, the result was thicker than the first batch but still runnier than store-bought. Refrigeration helped. But let me hasten to add that the texture and taste are both marvelous. Never has such silken loveliness graced my tastebuds. Tiny Girl and I experimented by adding strawberry preserves to a bowlful and then freezing it. More like a granita than ice cream, our fro-yo was delightfully tangy, sweet, and strawberry-y.
In another experiment, I strained some of the whole-milk yogurt, which resulted in a super-creamy, rich, and thick yogurt for which there are no words to describe its magnificence. It was better than the strained yogurt from my first batch. I swirled a touch of honey atop a dollop of strained yogurt and was in heaven (or at least my imaginary approximation thereof).
I learned that some folks add gelatin or other ingredients to their homemade yogurt to get more of a store-bought texture, but I prefer not to do that. To me, homemade yogurt's texture is far superior to any gelatinous goo from the grocery.
Homemade yogurt is incredibly easy and frugal, but it seems luxurious. What a perfect combination!