I mentioned it before in the My Favorite Granola post, but I figured it was past time for me to share my Homemade Crock Pot Greek Yogurt with you. I know the idea of essentially curdling milk is freaking terrifying, but I swear it's not that bad.
And can I tell you, it's so damn gratifying to eat yogurt that YOU made, knowing there are no crazy preservatives or other junk in it??
Kind of makes you feel like, heck yeah I could do this homesteading thing. I could live off the land. I could be an organic crunchy granola chick.
But then you remember how awesome a Grande Skinny Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks is and how much you love going to Costco on a Saturday just to eat free samples and you snap out of it.
Ok, back to the yogurt. I'll hold your hand while you take a couple of deep breaths and repeat after me: I can do this!
Here's what you'll need to get started:
- 2 Quarts of whole milk (I usually use organic, but I sent Dude to the store to pick up this milk...enough said)
- 1/2c of plain yogurt
- Your preferred sweeteners, here's what I used:
One word of warning, you're going to want to think about timing on this because in about 6 hours you're going to have to measure and stir a bit. And if you don't plan far enough ahead, you may end up setting your alarm for 3am to do it. I'm not saying this because it happened to me the first time I made this yogurt. Pinkie swear.
Ok, now that you pulled all that stuff out, put it all back except for the milk; and pour that into your Crock Pot.
Put your Crock Pot on Low and if your Crock Pot is goofy like mine and only has a couple of options for time, set a timer for exactly 2 hours and 45 minutes.
|This is what 2 hours and 45 minutes looks like on my stove timer.|
Now walk away until the timer goes off because warm milk smells icky.
After 2 hours and 45 minutes, come back, turn off your Crock Pot, leave the lid on, and set the timer again, this time for 3 hours.
|In case you were confused about the 3 hours thing.|
So anyways, three more hours have passed (see what I meant about thinking about timing before you started?); and you've got a Crock Pot full of warm milk. Ladle one cup of the milk out of the Pot into a small bowl.
Now measure out a 1/2c of plain, store-bought yogurt.
This is called your starter. Someone smarter than me would tell you it has something to do with the bacteria. But personally, I don't understand it and I don't really want to talk about the bacteria in stuff I'm going to eat. Basically you only need this store-bought yogurt once. Next time, you can use the yogurt we're making now in this step.
Plop the yogurt into the bowl of warm milk; and if your helper has been a good puppy all day, you can let her lick the spoon.
Pour the milk/yogurt mixture back into the Crock Pot.
Put the lid back on the Crock Pot and let it sit on the counter for 8-12 hours. If you have a drafty kitchen like I do, I suggest covering the Crock Pot with a towel and putting it somewhere warmish, like your oven.
I have no proof that this does anything, but I read it one time on a blog somewhere; and everyone knows you can't post something online if it isn't true. Plus I'd rather be safe than end up with two quarts of stinky milk in my Crock Pot.
But that's just me. If you want to roll the dice, I won't stop you.
After 8-12 hours your yogurt is done! But to make it official Greek yogurt, you need to drain off the whey.
To do that, grab a strainer, a bowl for it to sit in and some sort of straining material. I use a flour sack towel, but I think cheesecloth or muslin would also work.
So place the towel in the strainer and set the strainer on top of the bowl. I prefer to do this step in the sink because my Crock Pot bowl is heavy and I have weak little girl arms.
Carefully pour your now thickened milk/yogurt mixture from the Crock Pot into the strainer; and move the entire setup to the fridge.
What is whey? I haven't got the slightest clue. I know Little Miss Muffett sat on her tuffett - while we're at it, what the heck is a tuffett? - eating her curds and whey. I can't imagine eating this stuff straight. But, I do know you can substitute it in any bread or dough recipe for water or milk.
Or you can do what I do, pour it into a mason jar, throw it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, plan to use it to make bread; and then never make the bread and throw it out when stuff starts floating in it.
Up to you.
Alright, back to the stuff you came here for! Greek Yogurt!
After you drain off the whey, your yogurt is ready to be eaten and stored. I usually make three different containers. I leave one plain, to use as a starter next time; I layer one with berries and agave or honey; and I layer the final one with jam.
You can set up your yogurt here however you like. If you want to add granulated sweetener or vanilla extract or any other kind of flavoring, now is the time to do it.
Your yogurt will keep in the fridge for a week or two. Use your best judgement there.
Linking up here:
Background Noise for This Project: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 1, Episode 4: Charlie Has Cancer