To make yogurt, you need milk and yogurt starter, which you can buy from a cheesemaking supply house, or you can simply use store-bought plain yogurt as a starter. I’ve looked into several different recipes for making yogurt at home, but I’m in love with this yogurt in a crock pot method. (The optional dry milk idea comes from another recipe.) It’s so easy and the result is so good. And I love the idea of being able to keep a pot of yogurt going from one batch to the next. Wanna try it?
How to make Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot:
1/2 gallon milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup dry milk (optional)
Pour the milk into the crock pot and turn on high. (Note: You can use any type of milk.) A half-gallon of milk is two quarts, so I used a quart jar to measure. You can also add 1/2 cup of dry milk for a thicker yogurt. If you choose to add the dry milk, add it in this step.
Heat the milk in the crock pot until it’s almost boiling. (The temperature should be 180-degrees.) This process will take two to three hours, depending on your crock pot. For me, it takes two hours. Turn off the crock pot and let cool to 116-degrees. (You can also use the fingertip method of testing the milk for readiness when you can hold your finger in the milk for 10 seconds. However, the yogurt will not firm up if the milk is too hot, so your best bet is to use a thermometer.) Stir in the plain yogurt.
Put the lid back on and, leaving the crock inside the heating element, place a towel over the top to further insulate the pot. If your house is warm, a dish towel will do. If your house is cold, wrap the pot completely in a bath towel or even place inside your oven (not turned on) while setting. Yogurt won’t set if it’s too cool. Keep the covered crock pot in a draft-free area and leave it alone for six hours.
Like magic, it will start turning into yogurt. After six hours, check the pot periodically. It may take up to twelve hours to set to the consistency of thick cream.
Store in the refrigerator. Reserve one cup to start your next batch.
Homemade strawberry yogurt (mixed with strawberry jam). Mmmmmm!
Use a tablespoon or two of jam per cup of yogurt and you can have any flavor you like. Add cut-up fruit, granola, whatever you like, but homemade jams (or butters) do the job perfectly. Just one more reason to make jam. Yogurt!
Thank you to CindyP for finding this method of making homemade yogurt in a crock pot. See her original recipe here.
You can also use your fresh, homemade yogurt to make cheese.
How to make Yogurt Cheese:
Place however much yogurt you want in butter muslin. (At least a cup or two.) Tie the corners of the butter muslin and hang to drain for 12-24 hours, or until the cheese has reached the consistency you like. This is very similar to a soft cheese like chevre in that you control the consistency by how long you let it drain. FYI, the easiest place to hang it is right on the faucet of your kitchen sink. Set the yogurt to drain at night after you’re finished in the kitchen and cheese will be ready for you when you wake up. When the yogurt has drained to your satisfaction, remove it from the bag and place in a bowl. Add salt, minced onions, herbs, etc, to taste. Anything you like. The world is your yogurt cheese!
(What is butter muslin? It’s like cheesecloth, with a tighter weave and is best for draining cheese. You can buy it from cheesemaking supply companies. However. I will say that I have used ordinary cheesecloth, available at most grocery or hardware stores, and it is serviceable if you use a double thickness. I just want to put that out there for those of you who may not know whether you want to get into this or not and you want an easy solution to try it out. You can get away with the more readily available cheesecloth if you fold it over to double-wrap it.)