As I mentioned earlier this week I have tried several different yogurt recipes and methods…I have found this to be the easiest method and the best recipe.
I make my yogurt in the crockpot with regular milk…not raw…not organic…nothing fancy. I prefer to use 2% but you can use any variety, just be aware that the less fat in the milk, the thinner your end result will be. I use the crockpot because I don’t have to worry about the milk burning, it takes longer but I can just dump in my milk turn it on and only come back after a couple of hours to check the temperature.
You will need:
-milk (I usually make it by the gallon…1/2 gallon bare minimum)
-candy thermometer (you can also just do the finger test, but I like using a thermometer)
-starter yogurt…plain yogurt, you can use pretty much any brand. All the yogurt I have made has turned out differently using different starters you may need to try a few different kinds before you find one you like.
-jars or other storage containers
-flavor (if you desire) I like to use honey, but you can use sugar, vanilla or even jam.
To start just dump your milk into the crockpot and turn it on high. You are trying to get the milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of the yogurt recipes you find online will instruct you to heat the milk to 185 degrees and then cool back down to 110 degrees…I have found this to be a pointless step, it doesn’t seem to change the yogurt…but if you want, you can add that additional step.
While your milk is heating your starter yogurt should be sitting out warming to room temperature. If you have a single-serving cup of yogurt just use the whole thing…you need at least a half cup and as stated earlier you can use pretty much anything but for best results pick a yogurt that contains several different types of bacteria examples: Dannon, Activia, Chobani..etc. I have tried several and have found my favorite to be noosa yoghurt (if you use noosa the honey flavor is the plain yogurt). Noosa can be found in health food stores or in the “healthy”section of your grocery store.
When your milk has reached the desired temperature add a ladle of the hot milk into the yogurt starter and stir…DON’T WHISK…just gently stir then introduce the starter yogurt to the rest of the milk in the crockpot again, gently stir…this doesn’t have to be perfectly combined.
Now you will want to set aside about a 1/2 cup of your milk/starter mixture to use as the yogurt starter the next time you make a batch.
If you want to flavor your yogurt do it now. I use about 3/4 cup of honey for a full gallon of milk but you can flavor it as you desire.
Turn on your oven and preheat to 200 degrees.
Now ladle your mixture into jars…you can use any size, you just want it in glass jars (of course make sure they are clean…this should go unsaid but, you never know).
After your jars are filled turn off the oven and place the jars inside. Turn on the oven light and let the jars incubate for 12-18 hours.
If you like regular yogurt you are finished after the incubation period is complete. Place the jars in your refrigerator to cool. If you prefer greek style yogurt: grab a bowl, a colander and a cheese cloth (or a thin kitchen towel or linen napkin will work as well).
Set the colander on top of the bowl place your cloth inside the colander and dump your yogurt (it will be very runny …totally normal).
Let the yogurt drain. The thicker you like your yogurt the longer it will need to sit, but the really nice part about this is you have complete control over how thick or thin you want your yogurt to be. I like really thick yogurt so I let mine drain for about an hour for a gallon mixture.
You may want to stir the yogurt a few times through the process. It makes draining the whey go much much faster.
The volume of the yogurt will drop drastically.
After the whey has drained away from the yogurt simply spoon the yogurt into a storage container (I put in back into the incubating jars). Let it cool and enjoy! I like mine with homemade granola…yum!
You will have ALOT of whey but don’t throw it out…we are going to do something with it after we have about a gallon. Just place it in a container (a bowl with a lid or you can put it in the empty jug if you kept it). And keep it in the refrigerator for later.
Happy eating on this fabulously frugal Friday!
*We JUST got plain Noosa in our grocery store…all this time I thought the closest I could get was honey.*
**Just a thought…but if you happen to receive WIC you can make your yogurt for even less which then may free some money in your budget!**