Round one...not so good--tried a Crock Pot recipe and it was runny like watery sour cream. Edible..and tasted ok, but definitely NOT the consistency I liked.
So, after a little further research, I found GREAT success today!!!
So after a fail and after searching for what might work this is what I ended up with.
2 quarts whole milk--not homogenized--low temp pasteurized works best. (I haven't tried it with other skim, etc yet--but stay tuned)
1/2 c. store bought yogurt with cultures MUST have live active cultures in it. (or you can use leftovers from last recipe)
(this next step in heating seems to be what firms up the yogurt)
Bring milk to 185/200 degrees in pot on stove. Keep it there for approximately 20 minutes (I read it can go to an hour--may make even thicker?). Keep watching temp and stir gently so it doesn't scald or boil over. I had a hard time maintaining the heat evenly throughout that time but it didn't seem to matter since I still got firm yogurt.
This is what I read about what is happening at this necessary stage:
from this site
"Most yogurt recipes have you warm the milk to around 200°F before cooling it down and adding the yogurt culture. During this step, try holding the milk at 200°F for 20 minutes or longer. This allows some of the moisture in the milk to evaporate and concentrates the solids.
Cool pan to apx 112 to 115 in ice water in sink (5 minutes?) Watch closely. While cooling set oven to 115 on bake. (if you don't have that setting on your oven, use an oven thermometer)
Add apx 1/2 c. to 1 c. of warm milk to yogurt and stir gently. Then add to remaining milk. Cover with lid, then wrap in thick towel.
Gently set wrapped pan in oven and close door. Turn Oven Off! Let sit in CLOSED oven for 4 hours--or up to overnight(if you want it more "sour". Don't move it much. Keep it still.
TADA....here it is--2 quarts of yogurt for about $2.00