Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homemade Crock Pot Yogurt

This is so easy!  I can't believe I never knew about this before!  You can easily make your own yogurt at home.  All you need is milk and starter cultures.  For the milk, I have only used skim and 1%.  Both of those have worked out just fine.  I assume if you used whole milk that you'd probably get something pretty rich and creamy.  For the cultures, I used plain Greek yogurt.  Any plain yogurt should work fine.  You can also purchase a packet of starter cultures, but I've never looked for those in the store.  So, here it goes.  Prepare to be amazed at the ease!

  1. Pour your gallon of milk into your crock pot.  
  2. Turn on crock pot.  I like to leave it on warm or low for an hour or so before I crank it up to high.
  3. Periodically check the temperature of your milk using a candy thermometer.  It needs to reach 180-190 degrees F.  This will take a few hours.  Its important to reach this temp to kill all unwanted bacteria.
  4. Once it reaches 180-190 degrees F, turn off the heat.  I take out my crock and set it on the stove top to begin cooling.
  5. Keep checking the temperature, because you need to inoculate your milk with the cultures when the temperature drops to 110 degrees F.  
  6. Once your milk is at 110 degrees, take out about one cup, gently stir in about 2 Tbsp plain yogurt, then pour mixture back into the crock.  Gently stir.
  7. Now this sounds odd, but trust me.  Wrap your crock in a big towel (beach towels work nice) then place in a cool oven overnight, no peaking!  I have left mine go for ten hours once, and I think I liked how that turned out better.  You have yogurt when your time is up!
  8. I like the thicker Greek style yogurt better, so I strain mine.  Take a large colander, use clothes pins to secure a clean dish towel to the inside, put colander on top of large pot to collect whey, then dump yogurt in colander.  The whey will pass through your dish towel leaving a thicker yogurt for you.  You'll want to stir the yogurt and scrape the thick stuff off the towel periodically.  You'll be surprised how much liquid comes out.  What's in the picture isn't even half of it!
  9. Store in refrigerator.  One gallon of milk turned yogurt normally lasts me 10-14 days.  You can flavor it with fresh or frozen fruit, jams, or honey.  Throw in granola if you'd like.  I've been meaning to try a little vanilla extract and coconut.  Really, whatever you'd like you can try.  I've also used sugar and artificial sweeteners, both taste fine.
  10. Enjoy!

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