Homemade Crockpot Yogurt
When I was growing up we had a yogurt maker and every week or two my Mom would fill up the little glass jars with milk, turn it on, and the next morning we’d have fresh yogurt. We’d mix in fruit or fresh strawberry jam and have it for breakfast. Over the last few months I’ve seen (ok, searched for) several different recipes to make yogurt in a Crockpot. I was intrigued, and after hearing good reviews from a few other bloggers (thank you, RA and Pink), I decided to give it a try. I read a dozen different posts about making your own Crockpot yogurt, spent an inordinate amount of time on the yogurt aisle picking out my perfect yogurt culture (any plain yogurt will do), and went to work in the kitchen. It is key that you have a food thermometer, once you know how long it takes for your Crockpot to get the milk to the appropriate temperatures you can wing it, but until then, use a thermometer. If you plan on straining your yogurt (recommended) make sure you have either cheesecloth or a couple of coffee filters. You guys, it was super easy! I think we have a winner!
Crock Pot Yogurt
1/2 gallon milk (I used 2% organic)
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup honey or agave (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Dump milk into crock pot, whisk in powdered milk (and honey/agave and vanilla, if you’re going that route), and heat on high until milk is 180 degrees (2-3 hours). Turn off your Crockpot and let cool until it is 115 degrees (1-2 hours, if you take the lid off during this process it goes much faster). Put your oven racks as low as they will go and preheat to “warm”, or 100 degrees. Skim off any film that has formed on the top of your milk, and scoop out about 2 cups of the mixture, whisk in ½ cup plain yogurt, gently stir this yogurt-y mixture back into the rest of the milk. Put your lid back on, turn off the oven, and wrap the ceramic crock pot with a bath towel. Place it in the oven, flip on the oven light, and let it sit, undisturbed, for 8-10 hours (I let this sit overnight and it was perfect.)
After your yogurt is done you’ll want to strain it a bit to remove some of the whey. Cover the inside of a mesh strainer with a layer or two of coffee filters (or you can use a colander and cheese cloth) and scoop in the yogurt, try not to stir it too much. If you want yogurt that is sour cream consistency, you’ll want to let it drain for about 2 hours. I let mine sit for about 20 minutes (while I did my hair and makeup) and then scooped the thickened yogurt into pint sized jam jars. You can keep the whey, it’s the milky-clear liquid that you strained out. Apparently it has a lot of good qualities and is a good, protein-packed substitution for the liquid in bread or breakfast smoothies, but as I rarely make bread or breakfast smoothies, I just tossed it down the sink.
In the morning, I grab one of those little jars, scoop in a spoonful or two of raspberry freezer-jam and a handful of granola and have a perfect, portable breakfast!