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How to Make Your Own Yogurt in a Crockpot
I don’t know about you, but I’m a big yogurt fan. My stomach doesn’t tolerate lactose very well, so I tend to buy Greek yogurt, which has less lactose and is a bit more expensive. I really wanted to start making my yogurt, since I eat it for breakfast and as a snack during the day. After some research, I found a recipe that I liked and tried it. It went wonderfully well! I used the DIY pot yogurt method – it’s basic, only requires two ingredients, and produces a lot of yogurt. You’ll only spend $5-7 on materials (I’ll break down my costs at the end!) and you’ll end up with yogurt for the whole week, if not more. The great thing about this method is that you can pretty much prep your yogurt and let it set overnight or while you’re at work. And, if you decide you have enough yogurt, it’s easy to make cheese or dip the rest! So, let’s not waste time here. You’re going to want to go out and make your own yogurt right after reading this!
What you will need:
- Milk (I used 1%)
- Plain yogurt (I also used 1%) with live cultures
- Slow cooker (any size – mine is 1.5 litres)
- Dark colored towel or blanket
- Cheesecloth (a clean, unbleached white t-shirt, sheet, or pillowcase will also work)
Pour the milk into the slow cooker. Mine holds 1.5 liters, so I put in 4 cups of milk. Most large slow cookers should comfortably hold 8 cups. Leave a little extra room to account for the foam it will produce, as well as any yogurt you will need to add.
Cover your slow cooker and run it on low for about an hour. The milk should reach around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit for about 30 minutes – keep it covered. This should cool the milk to a comfortable 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add a small amount of yogurt to the mixture to start the process. Since I used 4 cups of milk, I added 1/4 cup of yogurt. If you used 8 cups of milk, add 1/2 cup, and so on. You don’t need to add a lot of yogurt to start the yogurt making process.
Wrap the slow cooker with your towel. The key is to make sure it stays warm in a dark, still environment. This is when the bacteria will be most active.
Wait 6-12 hours. If you wait less time, the yogurt will be runnier and less spicy. It will have a higher lactose content. If you wait 10 to 12 hours, you will get thicker, tangier yogurt, similar in taste and consistency to Greek yogurt.
Depending on how thick you like your yogurt, you’ll need to strain it a bit. You’ll notice it’s still quite fluid at this point, but that doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
I set up a bowl to catch the whey and put a small strainer over it to strain the yogurt.
Next, lay your cheesecloth over the colander. I used an old pillowcase for mine. Pour your yogurt into it. Don’t worry if some whey has already separated; it will filter again.
Tip: Whether you choose to use real cheesecloth or a spare t-shirt/sheet, make sure the fabric isn’t treated with chemicals and hasn’t been washed with detergent recently . You don’t want your yogurt to taste like soap.
If you want a thicker yogurt, cover it and put it in the fridge. Let it drain for a few hours and you’ll end up with your very own homemade Greek yogurt. If you want something similar to plain yogurt, strain it for just half an hour to an hour. You can test it from time to time to see how it turns out.
Once you’re done, you can collect the whey and store it. Use it in place of milk in shakes or baking recipes. Maybe one day I’ll try more things – but I’ve used it in my protein shakes and it has worked wonders!
As promised, here is the cost breakdown:
- 1 gallon of 1% milk (pasteurized, non-organic): $2.99
- 1 liter of 1% plain yogurt: $2.99
- So for $6 I could make 16 cups of yogurt, which is about 16 servings. It’s only about 38 cents per yogurt.
I’m sure I could do it for an even lower cost if I had managed to find a better brand of milk and yogurt, or had a coupon. I’m not a big dairy consumer, so I didn’t do much research. Still, I think I did pretty well.
You can also use half of your yogurt ingredients and do something different with the other half – make your own cheese, dips, frozen yogurt, or do something totally crazy and creative. No matter what you choose, you’ll love experimenting with your own homemade yogurt. You’ll never want to shop for yogurt again!
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