Homemade Yogurt

This is a recipe I found online. I wasn’t even looking for it. I happened onto the blog to read about how this lovely lady cooks a whole chicken in the crock pot, something I had never considered, but think I will try since I H.A.T.E. cleaning the roasting pan and rack. HATE IT. So I was looking at that recipe when I noticed all sorts of goodies in the sidebar. This was one of them. I didn’t change anything. It’s just too awesome and foolproof to not post though! Original recipe here.

The best part about this recipe for me is that it’s done in the crock pot. This means minimal supervision, so I can actually get other things done, like cleaning and cooking Pinteresting and reading. The times were quite a bit different for me, though, as I will explain after giving you the recipe.

Easy Homemade Yogurt in the Crock Pot
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 24 hours
Yield: 2 Quarts

Ingredients:
½ gallon whole milk
½ cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures

Supplies:
Crock Pot
Candy Thermometer
Beach Towel
Ladle
Mason Jars
Colander (optional)
Cheesecloth (optional)

Directions:
1. Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crock pot, set it to high, and heat the milk to 180°. My crock pot has a probe that will alert me when it reaches the set temp, but you can just check it occasionally with a candy thermometer. It takes approximately 2 hours.
2. Turn off crock pot, remove lid, and let the milk cool down to 115°. Do not disturb. This takes approximately 6 hours (varies widely depending on the temperature in your house).
3. Once the yogurt has cooled down to 115°, stir in ½ cup of plain yogurt. The temperature cannot be above 120° or it will kill the cultures in the yogurt.
4. Put the lid back on, make sure the crock pot is turned off and unplugged, and wrap the entire crock pot in a large beach towel. Leave out overnight, undisturbed.
5. The next morning, remove the towel and transfer the crock pot to the refrigerator, do not disturb the yogurt. Chill for about 8 hours.
6. Optional Step: If your yogurt isn’t thick enough for your preference, strain off some of the whey. Line a colander with a cheesecloth and set in the sink or in a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth, cover, and let it strain until it reaches your preferred consistency.
7. Ladle the yogurt into mason jars and store in the refrigerator.

Notes:
Don’t forget to save ½ cup of the yogurt to use as your starter next time!

My crock pot must be very different from hers, because my milk heated to 187 degrees in under two hours, and then in less than one was already cooled to 124 degrees. So by 3:30pm my crock pot was already wrapped up in towels. I stayed up late (till about 12:15-12:30) to give it about eight solid hours wrapped in the towels, and then stuck it in the fridge. I then proceeded to sleep terribly since I didn’t go to bed at 10 with Alex. Here we are, a couple of childless 20-somethings, and we go to bed at 10pm. We are such dorks. Anyway. I didn’t need to strain the yogurt at all – it was so, so beautifully thick!

This was my first ever attempt at making yogurt, and I declare it a smashing success!

Regular store-bought yogurt lasts around a month, and I’m assuming this will too. I’m not positive, though, so I may give one quart to Alex’s mom or step mom and just save one for us since we don’t use that much. Hm.

Next up is trying the homemade ranch dressing from this blog using the yogurt!

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