Yogurt is one of those all-around fabulous edibles that can be used a thousand different ways. It gets added to smoothies, eaten with cereal, mixed with herbs to create spreads and dips, or just devoured by the spoonful right out of the container. Yogurt exists in many different forms all over the world, and it’s actually ridiculously easy to make at home. Keep reading to learn how you can use your slow cooker to make a bounty of creamy yogurt.
Slow Cooker Method
This fabulous method for making yogurt in a standard Crock-Pot comes courtesy of That Mama Gretchen. The batches I’ve made have been created with half the ingredient amounts, as I have a teensy little Crock-Pot, and they’ve turned out beautifully.
Ingredients and Supplies:
- 8 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt with live cultures
- Slow cooker
- Bath towel
Pour 8 cups of milk (or 16 cups which is 1 gallon if you’re doubling the recipe) into a large Crock-Pot. Set to LOW for 2 1/2 hours, then turn off your Crock-Pot let it sit with the lid on for 3 hours.
Add 1/2 cup yogurt (or 1 cup for a double recipe), place the lid back on, and wrap a bath towel around the Crock-Pot. Your goal is to make a dark, insulated environment for the live cultures to propagate.
Let the Crock-Pot sit covered (with lid and towel, not by heating it up again) for 8-12 hours. It’s a good idea to start the yogurt process by 3 pm so this 8-12 hour step happens overnight. By morning, your milk should have turned into yogurt!
At this point, your yogurt will be a drinkable consistency that’s perfect for smoothies or for pouring over granola, but if you’d prefer to eat it with a spoon or just have a thicker consistency, you’ll want to strain it for 15-30 minutes. To do this, line a strainer with a cheesecloth, place the strainer over a bowl, and let the yogurt drain until it reaches the desired thickness. If you prefer a really thick consistency (like Greek yogurt), let it drain for at least an hour. Another option is to just set it in the fridge for a few hours: the yogurt will settle, and the liquid whey will rise to the top. You can pour off the excess liquid and use that in drinks, cooking/baking, etc., and the more solid yogurt will be beautiful and thick at the bottom of the container.
You can then use the strained liquid in your favorite smoothie, and use the thicker yogurt in whichever manner makes you happiest. You may come across other methods of yogurt production, such as the heating pad method or the oven method, or you might wish to invest in an actual yogurt maker. If you’re so inclined, experiment with a few different methods to see which one works the best for you.
*Note: Yogurt made with goat, soy, or almond milk requires different types starter cultures, so your best bet would be to hunt around online to find out which cultures you’d need for which milk, and then use the technique mentioned above to cultivate it.
When it comes to flavoring your homemade yogurt, it’s best to add extras to individual servings, rather than the entire container. Store-bought yogurt that has fruit or other flavors added in also have preservatives that can prevent spoilage, and chances are you don’t want to add those into your own. Keep your yogurt plain and well-chilled in the fridge, and stir in the fruit/spices/sweeteners of your choice just before you eat it.