22 Apr
Why would I want to make yogurt? Well, most importantly because I like to control things. Secondly I’m cheap. The yogurt I eat is expensive, at Costco its $5.75/32oz. I typically will only eat Fage Greek yogurt. Now I can buy a half gallon of milk for under/about $3, and get about 60oz of yogurt. Awesome.

So, I am not going to buy a yogurt maker. I can make it in my slow cooker, why buy another appliance. Unless of course I find a really nice one online for cheap, but that rarely happens.

So here is my experience with yogurt making if anyone wants to try it, it takes very little effort on your part.

Start off with a pasteurized milk, I used ultra pasteurized for my last batch and it took long to thicken. Although it may have been because I used 1% milk instead of 2%. Actually I think the fat % had more to do with it. Okay, so anyway, use ultra pasteurized or just pasteurized. I want to try a batch with raw milk, for funzies. I never drink milk, but I love yogurt, weird, and I have no idea how raw milk would do for yogurt, interesting.

Anyway, this recipe is adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking. I changed a few things.
A half gallon of milk, fat % of your choice.
A 6oz container of PLAIN yogurt. I used Fage Greek yogurt for my first batch. Then I used Stoneyfield, plain. (note: Stoneyfield is a good brand to use because it offers 5-6 probiotic bacteria species than other yogurt, fuck Activia, just sayin)

1) Pour into crockpot, and set on “low” for 2 1/2 hours.
2) Turn the crockpot off, and let the milk sit for 3 hours.

3) After 3 hours, scoop out 2 cups of milk and put into a mixing bowl. Add the 6oz of yogurt and blend well. Add the mixture back into the crock pot and gently stir together, I use a 8 figure formation.

Now, the reason I say to gently stir is because the heat breaks down the lactose molecules and if there is consistent shaking/stirring the yogurt doesn’t do well. Once you stirred the mix back in, DO NOT STIR AGAIN.

4) What I do after this step is grab a mason jar, fill with hot tap water and put in my temperature gauge, I got it at Target for like $7. I put the jar in the mixture and put the lid back on the crockpot.

I take the ceramic bowl out of the crockpot shell, and put the bowl on a heating pad, and turn it to “high”. I also cover the bowl with a thick terry cloth towel. So its almost incubating.

I start the yogurt process in the early afternoon, then do the heating pad into the evening, and overnight to thicken.

Watch your temperature, it should be between 100-120, I like to see it at about 110F.

Yes, that yellow/green liquid is supposed to be there, its the natural whey extract from the milk.

Ok, I don’t know why I strained the whey this time, however, I have you can use the liquid whey to make bread, or give to your pets, which I think is really cool. Then you’d want to strain it to remove any yogurt particles.

I remove most of the whey, like I said, I like really thick yogurt. If you keep the whey in, it makes the yogurt thinner.

Once I have removed all the whey, I stir the yogurt very well until it is completely smooth. Then I put in these pretty little French terrain jars. I bought them at the Container Store. Put in fridge and let it refrigerate for 24 hours.

Now, its hit or miss with incubation times. I did the incubation for almost 24 hours last time, and I think it was because I used the lower fat % milk. I think making yogurt is super cool, and I am going to experiment with making yogurt dips next, I’m pretty sure I have figured it out.

I don’t add any fruit to it until I put it in bowls to serve or pack for my lunch. Typically I will add some raw honey, sliced almonds and fresh fruit. Its so delish.

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