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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making Greek Yogurt in a Crock Pot

by Tonya

Wow, this was really easy and it turned out great. I just bought a new, larger crock pot since our old one was too small for some soup recipes that I like to make. I was always having to reduce the amount of liquid used. 

I didn't want my husband to throw away the box from the new one until I had tried it out, but recycling day was fast approaching. This yogurt recipe came to the rescue! There is very little labor involved, but it does take a long time to sit and let the different stages of the process occur.

You need: 
1/2 gallon of milk (not ultrapasteurized) 
1/2 cup of plain yogurt with live cultures (I only had honey flavored so I used that and it worked fine)
You can double this recipe and all the times will be the same. 

Put the milk in a crock pot, cover it and heat on Low setting for 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for 3 hours.

Remove 1/2 cup of the warm milk and place in a bowl. Gently stir in the live yogurt. Return the milk and yogurt mixture to the crock pot, stirring gently. Put on the lid, wrap the crock pot in a big towel to keep it warm, and leave it for 4 -12 hours. From what I read, the yogurt will become more tart the longer you let it spend in this stage. 

It is going to be a little tart no matter what, since this is plain yogurt. Plan to add sweetener if you want sweet yogurt. 

After 4 - 12 hours, check the yogurt to see if it has thickened. As soon as it's thick, you can move to the next step. Smell to make sure it smells like yogurt and not soured milk. Then taste it and see if you're happy with it yet. 



You can put it in storage containers and refrigerate at this point (it will be pretty thin), or you can make thicker, greek-style yogurt. To do that, you just need to strain out some of the liquid. Line a colander with cheesecloth, a cotton dish towel, coffee filters, or paper towels. Put it over a bowl. I used the steamer and bowl from my rice cooker and paper towels. 



Transfer the yogurt to the colander and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 hours. 



Now you should have thick, creamy greek-style yogurt. See how it stuck to the spoon?



And it held its shape as I scooped it out of the steamer.



You can add any sweetener, fruit, or fruit puree that you like. If you leave it plain, you can use it instead of mayo or sour cream. 

Mine was a complete success and I will definitely make yogurt again. It was really fun to use homemade yogurt to make Limeade frozen yogurt pops, too! 

This is a blog post that I found very helpful. And here is another one