HOMEMADE YOGURT (I used this recipe)
8 c. whole milk
1/2 c. plain yogurt (must have active/live cultures in it)
Pour milk into crockpot and heat on low for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug crockpot and let it cool for 3 hours. Take out 2 c. warm milk and whisk in the plain yogurt, then pour it all back into the crockpot. Cover with a thick bath towel to insulate the crockpot, and let it sit for 8 hours (unplugged). Store in fridge for up to a week. For thicker yogurt, set a strainer overtop of a bowl and place a coffee liner or cheesecloth in the strainer. Pour some yogurt over the coffee liner and let the liquid drain out of it, then transfer the yogurt back into a container. This made the yogurt nice and thick, and it cut down the volume considerably (originally I had 2 1/2 plastic yogurt containers filled up, and after straining it I only had 1 1/2 containers.)
This yogurt definitely isn't as sweet as the stuff you're likely used to in the stores, but you can sweeten it however you like. I tried it with some sliced bananas and maple syrup.
You could also add in fresh fruit and purée it right into the yogurt, or try mixing in a little bit of the fruit dips from Epicure. You could try adding some vanilla extract, or whatever else you think might taste good. I used the unstrained plain yogurt this morning to make a smoothie, with a little bit of fresh spinach, some frozen mixed berries, juice, and a little maple syrup. If it weren't so cold out, I would try making some frozen yogurt popsicles for the kids!
The crockpot method was definitely a little time-consuming (and so is the straining method), but it's a lot healthier than the yogurt you find in the stores. My friend Jen said that she makes her own yogurt just using warmed milk on the stove, which would be a lot quicker. Maybe next time I'll try it that way instead to see what works better.