I was so excited to find out that I could make yogurt in my crockpot! It’s the little things in life, isn’t it? Our family eats a ton of yogurt, and I confess to being a bit of a yogurt snob. I refuse to buy just the general brands of yogurt like Great Value or Yoplait because to me they just taste like sugared plastic. And I like to buy a whole milk yogurt, not low fat, since the fat in milk is a healthy fat. Besides, low fat usually just means they added extra sugar to compensate for the taste. So I buy expensive yogurt that is really probably too hard on the budget, which is why I was so excited to discover how to make it myself.
All you need is a crockpot, milk, and some all ready made yogurt. Also, if you want your yogurt to be a little bit thicker, you may want to add some dry milk powder to thicken it up.
This is what I did:
Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crock pot and turn on high. Allow the milk to come up to about 180 degrees. All I have is a meat thermometer, and I used that to test the warmth. You need to bring the milk up to this temperature to kill off any bacteria that may compete with theyogurt bacteria as well as get the milk nice and warm to create a happy habitat for the yogurt bacteria to grow. This process will probably take about 1-2 hours.
Once your milk is warm enough, turn off your crockpot, take off the lid and allow the milk to cool to about 110 degrees. You must cool it off a bit so that when you add the bacteria it won’t get killed off. This process will probably take about 1/2 an hour to an hour. Stir occasionally to help it cool off.
Once your milk has cooled off to the proper temperature, add 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt. Make sure the yogurt has bacteria listed in the ingredients. This is your yogurt starter. It contains the bacteria needed to get your milk turned into yogurt. Stir. If you want your yogurt a little thicker, add 1/2 cup dry milk powder now as well. Apparently most yogurts you buy in the store are also thickened this way, so I don’t know how the yogurt will turn out if you don’t add the milk powder, but I imagine it will be quite soupy. Stir thoroughly.
Then wrap your crockpot up in a towel and put it in your oven for the next 8 hours. You want your milk to cool very slowly, so that’s the purpose of the towel and oven. This is perfect to do overnight, just put your crockpot in the oven when you go to bed, and when you get up the next morning, voila, you will have yogurt!
Now, I should probably not be too hasty, I have only done this once so far, so possibly I just got lucky the first time around, but it really seems like it’s not possibly to mess this process up. I will update you if I have any trial and error experiences.
From about $2 worth of milk, I got about $9 worth of yogurt!
I sweetened and flavored 32 ounces of yogurt with 3 TB of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Sweeten and flavor your own according to your own taste!
Since I’ve already been so hard on the budget with the amount of expensive yogurt we eat, I haven’t been making smoothies so as to make our yogurt stretch a little further. But I really love smoothies, especially for breakfast in the morning. Now that I have lots of yogurt to enjoy, I made some smoothies this morning.
The first smoothie I made was a Raspberry Orange Smoothie which I put into Job’s sippy cup for him to enjoy. It kept him nice and busy during breakfast this morning!
Raspberry Orange Smoothie:
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup ice
1/2 cup yogurt
Blend and enjoy. If you use your plain yogurt, you might want to add a little sugar to sweeten.
Triple Berry Smoothie-I made this smoothie because Brandon loves the Triple Berry Smoothie from Orange Julius. This recipe came out pretty good, maybe not quite as good as Orange Julius but a stiff contender!
1 1/2 cups of a berry mix, such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
1 cup yogurt
1 cup ice
1/4 cup of frozen berry juice concentrate (I used a cranberry blend, it added a nice tartness as well as helped to sweeten the smoothie)
sugar to taste or extra juice concentrate
Blend and enjoy!
I took the extra smoothie and put it in ice cube trays to freeze. Then I can just pop out a smoothie cube and give it to Job to enjoy for a snack. Note: sadly the cubes didn’t pop out quite as easily as I had hoped, I think if I lined an 8×8 pan with wax paper, poured the smoothie in, froze it, and then used the wax paper to lift out the frozen smoothie from the pan and then cut the large hunk into smaller cubes, this would work better.
Another fun way to use yogurt is to make a yogurt cheese. Simply put a cheese cloth over a plastic container and secure. Make sure there is some give in the cheese cloth so that you can pour yogurt onto it. Pour desired amount of yogurt onto the cheese cloth and allow to strain for a few hours to overnight. Stir occasionally. This is one way to make your yogurt a little thicker, or if you strain it longer, the yogurt will get really dry and stiff, almost like cream cheese. This is really yummy smeared over crackers!
Hope this inspires you to try making your own yogurt! Happy Yogurting!
Since I didn’t figure this out on my own, I should probably give credit where credit is due. Here is the site where I learned to make my own yogurt in a crockpot.