I have been making homemade yogurt for about 5 years now. That is when I got this handy yogurt maker. I have really loved it, yogurt making is super easy. I know you can make yogurt in the oven but you have to check it frequently and reheat it in the microwave if it falls below temperature. In order for the cultures in the yogurt to grow they have to be kept at 115 degrees. So I wanted to see if I could replicate what my yogurt maker does. It is essentially a warmer that keeps the yogurt at a constant temperature, and I thought that my crock pot might do the same thing. Almost everyone has a crock pot, right?
Are you ready to make homemade yogurt in your crock pot? Here is how it is done:
4 Cups Milk (Whole, 2%, 1% or Skim) - or you can use Nonfat dry milk that has been reconstituted, this is how I usually do it.
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Instant Non-fat dry milk powder
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
In a saucepan , combine milk and dry milk, heat over medium heat, stirring frequently to just below the boiling point, 190 degrees. You are scalding your milk. Be careful to not allow the milk to boil. You can also heat the milk in the microwave, but be careful to not over heat it.
Remove the milk from the heat and allow to cool until lukewarm, (between 100 and 110 degrees). I poured my milk into two pint jars and popped them into the fridge to cool.
Add your plain yogurt to the cooled milk, stirring gently to blend. Do not beat or whip it.
Make sure you use plain yogurt for your starter, and make sure that it contains active yogurt cultures. After you have made your own yogurt, you can then use your own yogurt as your starter. After using the yogurt as a starter several times the cultures may become weak and you may have to buy new yogurt and start the process over again.
Place your jars into a warmed crock pot. I have a crock pot that has three settings warm, low, and high. I initially turned my crock pot to low and allowed it to heat up then I turned it down to warm when I put the yogurt into it.
Put the lid on the crock pot and let the yogurt process for 4 to 10 hours, depending on how tart you want your yogurt.The longer it processes the more tart it becomes.
I checked the temperature of my yogurt a few times as it was processing to make sure it was staying at temperature. At one point it began to get a bit too warm and so I turned the crock pot off for about a half an hour and then turned it back on again. But for the most part the temperature of the yogurt stayed consistent.
After processing the yogurt should be mostly set. The liquid on the top is the whey, you can either pour this off or mix it into the yogurt later. The yogurt will continue to thicken as it chilled in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours.
We like to flavor our yogurt with a little bit of fruit and a bit of sugar. I just sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of sugar over some frozen fruit and place it in the microwave for a few seconds to thaw the fruit and allow the sugar to make a simple syrup.
Then stir some yogurt into the fruit.
Top it off with a bit of Granola and you have a very yummy fruit and yogurt parfait. Enjoy!
Plain yogurt is a great low fat alternative that can be used in various ways in your cooking. It can be used as a substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise and it makes a great base for dips or dressings. It also works great for making Spinach and Fruit Smoothies.