We must really be getting back into the swing of things because yesterday I made yoghurt in the slow cooker. Noah is nine months old and that seems like a good time for yoghurt. Sorry, Americans, the spell check is angry but this is how I spell yogurt.
3:30pm: I put some pasteurized whole milk (almost a half-gallon) in the slow cooker, had it on low for 3 hours
Unplugged the slow cooker and let it cool down for 2.5 hours (Using a meat thermometer, checked that the temp was below 110F before the next step, as the bacteria in the yoghurt will die at temps above 110F.)
Took a bowl of the warm milk out, and mixed about 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt in.
Put the mixture back in the unplugged slow cooker.
Wrapped the slow cooker in a towel to slow the cooling process.
5am this morning: Plain Yoghurt!
The only question I have at the moment is whether I should scale the quantity down, because we don't realistically eat that much yoghurt in a week, but I'm so excited about the simplicity of the process and the fact that absolutely no packaging for yoghurt will be necessary ever again. (Yes, when I commit to something, I really commit.)
That leads you to the question of milk packaging! Inspired by the Archibald's milk priority list, I've switched to Crescent Ridge Dairy, which comes in glass bottles that you return to Whole Foods. I've never visited Crescent Ridge, so I'm not sure what they're like, but they're local (Sharon) and our milk-related trash is significantly reduced. Also, their milk is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. In addition to mattering for general consumption, this matters for yoghurt making (some commenters say that the ultra-pasteurized doesn't work)
As an aside, the baking soda-instead-of-shampoo experiment worked just fine in South Africa, even when it was pretty hot.