Tuesday, October 2, 2012

homemade "greek" crockpot yogurt

Up until about 4 months ago I had never really thought about making homemade yogurt. There are so many commercial yogurts out there, and many with a small ingredients list. I always eat plain yogurt as well, so no added sugar.

But the problem with store bought yogurt is that although the ingredients list may be small with easy-to-understand ingredients, the milk used may not be the greatest. Making homemade yogurt ensures that I can use the best milk I can get my hands on.

And the steps are very simple.

Crock pot
Candy thermometer
Beach towel
Cheesecloth or muslin or thin cotton fabric
Fine mesh strainer - optional
Rubber band - optional

1 gallon of milk
8 oz plain yogurt

Place milk in Crock pot on high. Heat until temperature reaches 180 degrees. For me this usually takes 3-4 hours, although some websites I have seen say it only takes them an 1.5 to 2 hours. Once it reaches 180, turn off crock-pot and let cool to 115 degrees - about 1 hour. Take 1 cup of the warm milk and mix it with the plain yogurt. Add it back in to the crock-pot and stir. Place lid back on crock, wrap the crock pot in a beach towel (or thick bath towel) and stick in a semi warm place overnight - 8-12 hours. I put mine in my oven with the light on.

In the morning, take out the crock pot, unwrap the towel, take off the lid, and...yogurt! That's it, actually. At this stage it is runny, but it is still yogurt.

If you would like it thick like "Greek" yogurt, or the less fancy term "strained" you can do the following. I have tried this two different ways and I like the second way better.

Option 1. Take some cheese cloth and place it over a wide mouthed container or deep bowl. Use rubber band to hold the cloth in place. Let the cloth have a bit of slack to create a bowl. Place yogurt on cheesecloth and let drain.

Option 2. Take a fine mesh strainer and place a place the cheesecloth or fabric in it.

This second option seems to hold more and strain better. The drained whey is much clearer with the second option, which tells me less yogurt seeped through. 

This is so thick. It has the consistency of cream cheese.

So there you have it. I have not done a cost comparison, but I bet it is cheaper as well.

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