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Homemade Yogurt (In A Crockpot)
January 17, 2011
7:57 pm
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Sundownr
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CindyP, I have tried making yogurt with strictly powdered milk and water and no fat, to find the yogurt's texture to be very grainy. I didn't like it at all, but someone else may not have a problem with the texture, especially if they will be adding fruits, nuts, and crunchy granola (oh how that made me drool).

umstetter, I try to recycle as much as I can, too, but never thought about the old plastic insulated cooler in the basement! Thanks for the reminder!

 

Thanks for all the additional info and advice from everyone. I haven't had the chance to make yogurt yet. It's been pretty busy around here. I'll post the results when I do though!

Bev/sun

January 17, 2011
8:06 pm
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CindyP
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I put the powdered milk through the blender to make a fine powder before I used it for thickening.  Do you think that might make the texture different?

 

And I forgot to point out earlier, I did use Ultra Pasteurized milk this last time also…. I was thinking it was the 2% I wanted to note.  I added the powdered milk for thickness.  It DID set up….more so AFTER it was in the fridge and cooled down.  I made a gallon and have eaten 1/2 gallon now (breakfast and snacks with my granola)…this jar I'm on now is THICK.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

February 5, 2011
10:40 pm
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lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
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Okay, so I was making homemade yogurt in the crock pot………..

milk warmed….

milk cooled…

time to add yogurt and powdered milk…

Here came the problem..

I bought Dannon fatfree Plain all natural yogurt. I just bought it
today. Date for expiration is Feb 20th. When I peeled back the sealed
foil lid, it was soooooooo watery. I knew that was the whey separated so
I stirred it back into the yogurt. However, the yogurt itself was itty
bitty curds instead of the creamy consistancy I expected. I stirred the
heck out of it and added the cup to my milk in the crock pot. The Dannon
never did get to what I consider yogurt consistancy. It did blend back
together but was more like a really thick glass of milk. (Think
milkshake). I took a bite of it and it was soooooooo sour but then again
I think store bought plain yogurt is sour. Anyone ever had that happen?

 

Now I am a little nervous about whether its ruined my batch.

February 5, 2011
10:47 pm
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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I think the fatfree yogurt is more lumpy than normal…it's thickened with pectin.  That's why many use the powdered milk when using low-fat milk to make the yogurt, for thickening powers.

Has it set for the 8-12 hours?  Did it thicken up?  Mine normally thickens up after sitting in the fridge for a couple days.

And yes, it does have a sour taste when you're not used to plain yogurt (or don't like it).  Add some sweetener or jam….wonderful!

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

February 5, 2011
10:58 pm
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lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
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its doing its sitting up routine now…….will be ready in the morning.

I was just freaking out about the Dannon and how it looked and tasted. I have never bought dannon all natural plain before and was expecting it to look like my lovely yoplait fruity stuff. I knew the taste would be different. I am just paranoid when I do something and a step looks off beat. lol

February 6, 2011
9:31 am
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lavenderblue
WNY
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Last week I made yougurt in a crock-pot and it really didn't set up at all. I used a cup of this all natual fancy schmantzy locally (-ish) made yougurt we'd bought with a coupon. The yougurt I'd bought was really, really good. It had a real butter-y creamy aftertaste. But it didn't translate to homemade. My crockpot yougurt turned out thin, almost ropey… Should I always add powdered milk to the crockpot recipe or did I go awry in the basic steps? I used a little plastic thermometer that came with my yougurt maker. It doesn't have the temperature markings on it but says “Add starter” at a certain point. Sort of a remedial thermometer.

I heated the milk to that stage and then followed the other steps, letting the crock incubate in the oven 'cause my house, particularly my kitchen is cold, cold, cold.

Oh well, I used it in cooking and poured some on my poor old dog's dinner to soften it up for him. Guess what? My dog is a hippy, he waits now for yougurt on his food. Who knew?

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.  Ogden Nash

February 6, 2011
9:44 am
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CindyP
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Did the yogurt you bought have active cultures listed in the ingredients? 

Not all yogurts have active cultures  no  That's a live and learn experience.  It's the active yogurt cultures that will set the yogurt up….like adding mesophelic starter culture to milk to make lactic cheese or ricotta cheese.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

February 6, 2011
9:49 am
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CindyP
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And no, you don't always have to add the powdered milk.  Yogurt made with whole milk and NOT ultra-pasteurized milk will set up thick without it. 

Everything I've read says not to use ultra-pasteurized milk (ultra pasteurizing kills even more of the good bacteria needed to create a curd)…..but I was able to make it happen using powdered milk.

The higher the fat content, the thicker the yogurt.  If you look on the ingredients of a low-fat or fat-free yogurt out of the store, you will see pectin.  They use that for thickening to the consistency you're used to in a yogurt, because of the lower fat milk used.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

February 6, 2011
11:03 am
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lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
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When I woke up this morning I had a crock pot full of …..hmmm yogurt I think! I put a packet of knox gelatin and 1/2 cup powdered milk during the process and it still wasn't thick this morning and even worse the crock was cold to the touch but then again it had been 12 hours. I poured it into a big glass jar and reserved 1 cup for starter in a smaller jar and popped them in the refrigerator. Now, three hours later I just checked on it. It's pretty thick..not creamy thick like I am used to but pretty darn close. I had sampled the Dannon last night and it was horrible. Just sampled mine with a tsp of strawberry perserves stirred in and OMGGGGGGGG I am in heaven!!! It is a lot thinner than I am used to and the texture is a little lumpy but it is so good…sooooooo sooooooo good!

Thank you Cindy for your help!

February 6, 2011
3:28 pm
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mamawolf
Colorado Springs
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My crockpot holds 5 quarts – big enough for 1/2 gallon of milk.  I use whole milk.  After adding the commercial yogurt the pot is then wrapped in a large bathtowel and I sit it next to the furnace register in the spare room, usually overnight.  The next morning cheesecloth is put in a large colander set over a large stainless steel bowl, a weight is placed on top and then out to the cold, cold enclosed porch to drain off the whey.  I let most of the whey drain off, saving the whey for bread.  If the yogurt is too thick I just stir  a little whey back in.  It is just like the commercial Greek yogurt my Greek friend uses, in fact she prefers my yogurt.  A couple of spoonfuls, a handfull of blue berries is even better than ice cream!

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like you do when no one is watching.

February 6, 2011
8:06 pm
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courtneyb
Parkersburg, WV
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When I have been short on prep time and really want to make some yogurt that night to have ready when I wake up the next day, I have heated my milk in the microwave in a glass batter bowl.  I do three minutes on three, minutes sitting, four times, then I start to use the thermometer to test, between each three minute cycle. It usually doesn't need to be heated more than 5 times, and I know I could do that on the stove top, but it is just convienient to me.  I usually end up with a skin on my milk, and scoop it off.  If I don't I end up with lumps in the yogurt, but I don't think they hurt anything.  If you do it like this, and the crock was warm you could finish it in the crock pot, or whatever method you use.

I freeze a few starts of the yogurt I buy for starter or some of the first generation of the yogurt I have made, in two tablespoon containers, I only make one quart at a time and two tablespoons is plenty.  After the fourth time making yogurt with my last batch, the fifth batch is usually considerably thinner, and takes longer to make.  I generally thaw my starter in a small bowl in the fridge overnight.

I really don't know how long the yogurt cultures stay good in the freezer, but I date everything and lable whether it was the starter I bought or the first generation I made, and use the oldest first.  I haven't had any fail yet, but I haven't frozen massive amounts.

The best frozen yogurt I have ever had was made from homemade frozen yogurt, so if you have an ice cream freezer give it a try.  I only made vanilla, but it would probably be heavenly with fruit flavors.  My youngest that wasn't crazy about ice cream (how can anyone not like ice cream?) loved the frozen yogurt.

April 12, 2011
2:02 am
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bonita
north east IL
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CinyP: What size crock pot are you using? Round?

Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

April 12, 2011
9:15 am
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Pete
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lavenderblue said:

…I used a little plastic thermometer that came with my yougurt maker. It doesn't have the temperature markings on it but says “Add starter” at a certain point. Sort of a remedial thermometer.

I heated the milk to that stage and then followed the other steps, letting the crock incubate in the oven 'cause my house, particularly my kitchen is cold, cold, cold…

Not sure that you brought the milk up to the required scalding temp (180 F).  Evidently that is an important step, although I cannot figure out why exactly, then let the temp drop back down to cool enough to add the culture.

One of these days I really want to get one of those point at it, laser thermometers, but so far just can't justify it!  For now, a very cheap meat thermometer is working just fine.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

April 12, 2011
10:07 am
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sparrowgrass
Iron County MO
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I use a gallon of whole milk, heat to 140, cool to about 100, whisk in 1 cup of plain Dannon yogurt.  I pour the milk into quart canning jars, put them into a cooler, add hot water about 3 inches deep around the jars.  In the morning, I have lovely thick yogurt. 

I dump the yogurt into a big colander lined with a wet dish towel (not terry) and set into a big bowl and let the yogurt drain overnight in the fridge. 

Makes Greek yogurt for a fraction of the cost of commercial Greek yogurt, and just as delicious.  I use sweetener and some of my homemade vanilla, and add berries or other fruit if I have it.

I just haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

April 12, 2011
10:30 am
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CindyP
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Pete said:

lavenderblue said:

…I used a little plastic thermometer that came with my yougurt maker. It doesn't have the temperature markings on it but says “Add starter” at a certain point. Sort of a remedial thermometer.

I heated the milk to that stage and then followed the other steps, letting the crock incubate in the oven 'cause my house, particularly my kitchen is cold, cold, cold…

Not sure that you brought the milk up to the required scalding temp (180 F).  Evidently that is an important step, although I cannot figure out why exactly, then let the temp drop back down to cool enough to add the culture.

 

 

Heating the milk up to 180 kills off any competeing bacteria so that the yogurt will respond better to the culture after you let it cool back down to 115F or where you can stick your finger in and leave it for 10 seconds. If the milk is any hotter than this then it will kill off the yogurt cultures.

 

The trick to making yogurt is heating to 180, cooling back down to 115, adding LIVE cultures then incubated somehow, someway so it cools down SLOWLY.

 

My 6-qt crockpot will hold 1 gallon of milk.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

April 12, 2011
1:37 pm
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Pete
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Yesterday I tried a variation on the theme, and it turned out just great!  I've been doing the crockpot way, and am loving it.  But, since I was measuring the milk in the 8-cup measuring cup, I started heating the milk nearly to temp in that using the microwave, then transferring to the crockpot for the final getting to temp and the cool down.  Yesterday I just left the warmed milk in the measuring cup to cool, stirred the culture into that when it got to 116 F, then covered and wrapped the measuring cup to cool.

This may just become my way of doing it all the time!  (Unless I want to do more than 2 quarts at a time, which seems to be about the right amount for us at the moment.)  There was only the only dish to wash, and it took up much less space than the crockpot.

You just gotta love this place!  Something else I had never seriously considered trying (or at least every time I'd read about it, making yogurt seemed like a terribly complicated endeavor!) and because of this easy method, discovered that we really CAN make it ourselves. it's not at all scary or complicated, AND we now have a way of doing it at home that works even better for us than the originally posted techniques – all while learning the science behind what we are doing!

Wow!!  It's a winner in every regard!!  Thanks everyone for posting, encouraging, commenting, and otherwise enjoying this journey!    happy-flower

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!

April 14, 2011
5:25 pm
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pamplemousse
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I found this on wikipediea “

Yoghurt can be easily prepared at home. To produce a quart of yoghurt, a quart of milk is heated (generally to 180 °F or 80 °C) and then cooled to approximately 110 °F or 43 °C. An inexact test for the temperature is to test it with a finger: if the finger can be left in the milk for ten seconds, the milk is at about the correct temperature.

Once the milk has cooled, a tablespoon of yoghurt containing live active cultures is added to the scalded milk and mixed well. The yoghurt is poured into a container and incubated for the desired length of time. The fermentation time depends on the desired texture and tang in the final product. A shorter period yields a slightly runnier product with a mildly sour flavor, while a longer period yields a thicker and tarter yoghurt.[19]

To store plain yoghurt for the purpose of culturing future batches, it can be frozen in one tablespoon portions and then stored in the freezer. The culture can be thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature and then used.”

 

It's funny that a lot of the techniques described here are exactly as described in the post! Of course you go into more detail, but after reading four pages of questions and answers there's a general summary of it all on WP!

Can't wait to try and make my own yogurt.

April 14, 2011
5:42 pm
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Well, not so funny really.  We're all here because we like to share and discuss, and talk with each other, and mostly we try to share what we have experience with and know to be true.  Sometimes if it's stuff we've heard from others or read about, but then most people say that's the case if it's so.

Anyone can look things up on other web sites, here we enjoy each others company while we learn a little.  snuggle

Located in N.E. Ohio

April 14, 2011
7:14 pm
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wvhomecanner
North Central WV
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and you don't find the info about powdered milk or ultra pasteurized milk in the wiki article either, among other things. I know I like hearing first-hand accounts anyway.

ANYone can load info on wiki and sometimes it's very good. Not always.

 

dede

If common sense were truly common, wouldn't there be more evidence of it?

April 15, 2011
9:28 am
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sparrowgrass
Iron County MO
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Looks like I need to heat my milk up more, but it has worked well so far!

 

I like to strain the finished yogurt because it seems to eliminate some of the tartness from the finished product.  I am not a big fan of sour stuff.

 

I am going to try freezing some of the Dannon to use as starter–I never thought about doing that.  I find that if I use some of my homemade yogurt as starter, the next batch is thinner and sourer.

I just haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

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