Friday, July 29, 2011

Crockpot Yogurt

Yes I realize that crockpot yogurt sounds gross but it's not.  It's not hard, you can do it in your sleep and it tastes like no other.  Other good reasons to make your own yogurt is that it's cheaper and you can control the ingredients.  I'm big on the last one and would still do it even if it wasn't cheaper.  Our family eats a lot of yogurt and I do mean a lot!  My youngest, AJ would seriously eat yogurt all day every day.  Since I don't buy foods with chemicals or additives or preservatives or anything I can't pronounce, the yogurt I buy is expensive.  Plus, sometimes I can't get it at my local grocery store. 

I had no idea that you could even make yogurt at home until one day I was chatting with Sister Chef and telling her about my breadmaking.  She then told me how she had been making her own yogurt.  WHAT???  You can do that?  It took me about a month, but I was all over that.  She bought a yogurt machine to incubate hers in but it doesn't hold a lot which is fine for her since it's just her.  I needed to make larger batches so I started scouring the Internet to see how I could do it.  After reading eleventy billion (yes that's a real number in my house) sites I finally came up with something I could do. 

 Here's what you need..... a crockpot.  If you have one with a built in thermometer that's perfect, if yours doesn't, like mine, you'll need a thermometer.  You also need milk, this recipe will use half gallon but you can increase/decrease as desired.  I've had the best luck with 2% but have used non fat and it works fine.  You also need a cup of plain yogurt with live cultures.  You can buy a little container at the store or save a little from your last batch. 
 Heat the milk until it reaches 180 degrees.  You want to kill off the nasty things but not the good stuff.  Then cool it to 110 - 115 degrees.  This is the optimal temperature for those little enzymes to get to work.
 When your milk has cooled to 110, put a 1/2 cup of your plain yogurt to a bowl. 
 Add a cup of the warmed milk
 Give it a stir.
 Until it's nice and blended.
 Add the yogurt/milk mixture back into the crockpot.
 Give that a stir.  (never fails, I always get a sideways picture or 3)
 Then let it sit for 5-7 hours.  You need to keep the temperature around 110 degrees.  I wrapped my crockpot in a towel and after 2 hours I turned it on for 5 minutes and then back off.  I've heard of people putting the crock in the oven with the light on, or leaving it on the counter overnight. (see you can do it in your sleep!)
 When you open the lid you'll be delighted to find this!  Don't worry about that liquid stuff you see.  That's the whey.  You can stir it into your yogurt OR
 You can put it in a strainer and strain some of the whey out and make greek style yogurt.  Greek style is our preferred yogurt and is even more expensive than regular.  (don't toss your whey you can do lots of stuff with it.  I use it in my breadmaking instead of water.  Whey has a lot of protein in it.  It also has the lactose, so don't use it if you have an intolerance.  Put your yogurt in a container and back in the fridge to chill.
The next morning (or sooner if you like warm yogurt) you have a delicious and nutritious breakfast.  I spooned a little homemade vanilla syrup over it and added a few organic boysenberries.  Don't worry about that little black spot in my yogurt, it's a piece of vanilla bean scraping.  It was delicious.

1 comment:

Jill (Scrap Wench) said...

Sounds delish. I've been contemplating trying this myself, but I'm not allowed to use a crock pot here...