|Cora enjoying a yogurt parfait with fresh blueberries & granola|
If your family eats a lot of yogurt like mine does, then chances are you’ve noticed how expensive it has gotten in the stores lately. We used to buy the individual cartons, but for economical reasons have switched to the 32–ounce tubs instead. Still, yogurt isn’t cheap.
But after finding a simple recipe for homemade yogurt that doesn’t require purchasing a yogurt maker, I started making my own. I have been making our family’s yogurt for over two years now and have found it to be very cost-effective, easy, & delicious. Plus, I like that I can control the ingredients including sugars and preservatives.
Yogurt-making may sound intimidating, but, honestly, if you have a slow cooker, then you’re all set!
What You Need
|The Cast of Characters: A 4-Man Show|
- 1/2 gallon pasteurized milk*
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, with live/active cultures (check label)
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk or 1 packet plain gelatin (optional-to use as a thickener)
- vanilla bean (optional-for flavoring)
- 4-quart or 6-quart slow cooker
- 2-3 large bath towels to wrap slow cooker in
*It is crucial that you do NOT use ultra-pasteurized milk. Check the label on your milk first!
|Grade A Pasteurized Homogenized Milk|
|Bubbly Milky Goodness|
|Remember: Use the lowest setting|
2. Turn slow cooker off. Unplug, and let sit for 3 hours.
3. After 3 hours, add 1/2 cup yogurt and any thickener you like (if you want). (I have used nonfat dried milk in the past, but currently, I don’t use any thickeners.) Whisk everything together thoroughly and return lid to slow cooker.
|Yes, that’s a 1/2 cup measuring cup|
4. Wrap your cooker in towels to hold in the heat. Let yogurt set for 8 hours or overnight.
|My girls’ princess towel|
5. After 8 hours, your yogurt is ready to eat! You will find that it is not as thick as some store-bought yogurt, but if you like it plain, it’s ready.
|See those black specks? That’s vanilla bean.|
However, if you want your yogurt a little thicker, you can strain it using a colander lined with cheese cloth or ultra-absorbent paper towels over a larger bowl.
|For thicker yogurt, just strain it.|
Put the yogurt in the refrigerator while it strains; you can strain for as long as you want. The longer it strains, the thicker your yogurt will be. My husband likes his the consistency of Greek yogurt, so sometimes I will strain it for 6-12 hours.
Note: One batch of unstrained homemade yogurt yields a little over two 32-oz. containers. However, if you strain your yogurt for 6-12 hours, you may only make 32 ounces.
|2 Dannon 32-ounce tubs replaced with homemade organic yogurt|
6. Once your yogurt is ready, you can add your own flavorings and sweeteners to it. Sometimes I will keep one tub plain to use in place of sour cream or in recipes. Then, I will add agave, honey, or raw sugar to the other container of yogurt.
|I like mine with cinnamon & honey.|
You can add whatever you have on hand and control how sweet you make your yogurt. That is the beauty of cooking from scratch.
Start yogurt-making in the afternoon, say around 2:00 or 3:00, so that you don’t have to stay up late to complete Steps 3 & 4 and so you will have fresh homemade yogurt waiting for you when you wake up! : )
|Even the baby loves her yogurt!|
Wasn’t that easy? If I can do it, so can you! Why don’t you give yogurt-making a try?
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