So, today I thought I would share my weekly yogurt making routine with all of you. I have lots of people ask me about this, so now I can just direct them here! Once a week I make a big batch of yogurt in my crockpot. Half of the yogurt I just store as is, mostly for mixing with berries and honey for a yummy snack. The other half I strain through cheese cloth, collecting the whey to use in soups, smoothies, to culture my homemade condiments, and as a buttermilk substitute in baking. That stuff is liquid gold, people! Don’t put it down the drain! The thick Greek style yogurt that’s left we use in place of sour cream.
Here’s the routine…
- Place 2 Litres of milk in a big crockpot and set to low for 2 1/2 hours. I use whole milk because that’s all we buy as far as milk goes around here, but I have successfully used 2% in the past.
- At the 2 1/2 hour mark go ahead and turn off/unplug the crockpot and let it sit (as is, with the lid on) for another 3 hours to cool.
- After the 3 hours stir in half a cup of your starter (this is simply 1/2 Cup of store bought plain yogurt…or 1/2 Cup of yogurt from your last batch that you set aside for this purpose). FYI: I haven’t bought plain yogurt in almost two years and just keep using half a cup from the previous batch!
- Stir, stir, stir the starter in well with a whisk. Then put the lid back on the crockpot and wrap the whole thing in a big bath towel.
- Set a timer for 6-8 hours (so you don’t go to bed, forgetting that pot of yogurt on the counter…been there, done that, and ended up with way-too-sour-to-eat yogurt!)
- I find 8 hours is a good amount of time to let it culture. It’s tangy without being overly sour. So after 8 hours of sitting, wrapped in the towel (your crockpot, that is, not you!) unwrap it and take the whole stoneware insert part out and put directly into your fridge. DO NOT STIR! Don’t disturb the yogurt at all. Resist the urge to even open the lid. Just put it in the fridge and let it sit there overnight. I have found this is key to a thicker consistency. If you disturb it at this point, you will end up with frustratingly runny yogurt! I warned you!
- Next morning, scoop out half a cup to keep at the back of your fridge labelled “DO NOT EAT”. This will be your starter for next time.
- You can transfer the rest into whatever storage containers you want to use or you can strain it in a sieve, lined with cheese cloth. I find I have to fold my cheesecloth over so it’s about triple ply.
- Store/strain in the fridge. Use within two weeks. (The whey will keep longer than that, probably more like a month).
And there you have it…so easy, so cheap, so delicious! If you’re not one for the tangy taste of plain yogurt, mix in some fruit and honey. Maple syrup and a dribble of real vanilla extract make a delicious homemade vanilla yogurt. What I like most about homemade yogurt is that I can adjust it to my sweetness preference. I just find the store bought flavored yogurts don’t even taste like yogurt. They are just way too sweet. I have yet to find a brand that strikes the right balance between yogurt and sugar, so making my own has been my solution. My kids love it. In fact, I dare say “yogurt, berries, and honey” is one of their favourite snacks!
I hope you give this a whirl and let me know how it goes!