Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Simple yogurt in your crockpot

I have been wanting to make yogurt for a while, but I have always been a little bit nervous about "culturing" something in my own kitchen. I finally made some, and am so happy that I did! It was extremely easy and tastes so good!

Here is the quick and easy crockpot yogurt recipe:

1/2 gallon milk
1/2 cup yogurt with live and active cultures

Set crock-pot on low, pour in milk and let cook for 2 hours 30 minutes. After time is up turn crockpot off and unplug it. Let it sit for 3 hours. After 3 hours remove 1 cup of tour warmed milk and mix thoroughly with 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Add mixture to crockpot. Wrap crockpot in 1 or 2 bath towels and leave for 8 hours (up to 12 works too). Alternatively, you can set your oven to 100, turn it off, then place the whole crockpot inside the oven.

Just some notes:
  • If your milk and yogurt mixture is to warm when mixed, or gets to warm, your yogurt will flop. I've done this. I thought my yogurt felt too cool, so I turned the crockpot on. I meant to put it on "warm", but instead put it on "low". My yogurt separated, there was lots of water to strain out, and I was left with very little actual yogurt. I am still going to use it, but I am sure the health benefits of the bacteria have been destroyed.
  • My first batch of yogurt was runny, so I strained it using a strainer and some Viva paper towels. Worked great, and I got Greek yogurt consistency.
  • Flavoring does not multiply itself (i.e. if you use vanilla flavored yogurt as your starter, you are not going to end up with a whole batch of vanilla yogurt!)
  • To save even more money by making your own yogurt, look for marked down milk in the grocery store. A store I go to often has organic 1/2 gallon cartons marked down to $.99 or $1.50, because they are about to expire. You are going to culture the milk anyway, so it doesn't need to last long as usable milk.

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