“I make yogurt in the crockpot,” I said. “Did you make sure to cover it with a towel?”
“Oh, no,” she replied. “The recipe said to put it in the oven.” I was confused. I thought she was making yogurt in the crockpot. So she sent me the link and I looked it over. And I’ll tell you what, she was NOT making yogurt in the crockpot. The only use for the crockpot was to heat the milk. Then everything was transferred to jars to incubate in the oven.
Now why would anyone use their crockpot to heat the milk when it would take f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I told her to hang on, I would write this post so she could truly make fool-proof yogurt in the crockpot. Because if I can do it, anyone can do it.
(Right about here, I can hear you thinking, “I thought Carol made yogurt in the cooler. When did she start making it in the crockpot?” Well, I do both. One way is just as good as the other. But, as you will read below, the crockpot is the best choice if you want Greek yogurt and the cooler is the best choice if you want it already in the jars. )
Heat your milk. Now, most recipes will tell you to heat your milk to 180 degrees to kill any kind of beasties in it. (This is called pasteurization.) But you can make “raw-milk” yogurt by only heating the milk to 110 degrees. I heat my milk on the top of the stove because it’s faster. BUT, you have to watch it; as it scorches easily. If you don’t have a thermometer, 180 degrees looks like it’s just foaming and 110 degrees is hot to the touch but it won’t burn you.
Preheat your crockpot. While your milk is heating, turn your crockpot on to preheat. Once it is hot, turn it off. Pour the hot milk into the crockpot.
Add your start. If you pasteurized your milk, you need to let it cool back to 110 degrees. I let it do this in the crock, as the act of pouring will cool it some and you don’t want to get it too cool. Once it is just right, add your start. I use Dannon yogurt. It’s never failed me. I have used both the plain and the vanilla. You can buy yogurt starter in the health food store as well. For a crockpot full, I use about a cup of the starter yogurt. If you buy a commercial start, follow the package directions. I take a measuring cup full of the warm milk out and stir the start into that until it’s real creamy, then return it to the crock. Stir it again until well mixed.
Add flavorings. If you want to add sugar and vanilla to your yogurt, now is a good time. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. You know me, I’m the intuitive cook. So I can’t even tell you precise measurements. About a tablespoon of vanilla and three or four of sugar should do it. Trust me, if it’s not enough, the kids will let you know. I also make the yogurt just plain, too, because they like to doctor it up their own way when they eat it.
Cover. Put the lid on the crock and wrap the whole thing in a towel or small blanket. Let it sit for 8-10 hours to set. Generally, I start my yogurt after supper and let it sit till morning.
Strain. This part is optional. If you want a nice, thick yogurt like the Greeks, strain out the whey. I line a colander with a piece of muslin and set it over a bowl. I then pour the yogurt in the muslin and let it drip for a while till it stops. You will about cut the quantity of yogurt in half. Save the whey for some other healthy concoctions, scrape the yogurt into jars and refrigerate.
And that’s it. Easy Peasy. Now, go make your own yogurt in the crockpot and come back and let us know how it turned out.
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This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop, Mop It Up Monday, Homemade Mondays, The Scoop, Backyard Farming Connection, Titus 2sday, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist, and Mix It Up Monday.