Sunday, November 27, 2011

My first try at homemade yogurt!

I've been wanting to make yogurt in my crockpot for a couple months now.  I finally got around to making it yesterday.  It was done when I woke up this morning, and let me just say- oh my goodness it is amazing!  I mixed up some banana yogurt and some blueberry yogurt.  They are so good!  Here is how to do it (I followed the directions from this great website.) You can read through the comments there to get tips on how to thicken your yogurt, try different varieties, etc. 

Turn your CrockPot on to the Low setting.  Pour in a half gallon (8 cups) of whole milk.  Make sure that it is not ultra-pasteurized (pasteurized is fine).  Place the lid on the CrockPot and cook for 2 1/2 hours.  (my milk in the picture is not boiling, it is just bubbling from being poured in the pot).

After the 2 1/2 hours, turn off the CrockPot and let it sit for 3 hours.  Do not take the lid off.  After the 3 hours, scoop out about 2 cups of the milk and pour it into a bowl.  Add in 1/2 cup of store-bought plain yogurt with live and active cultures (this is your starter-next time you can use your own homemade starter).  Mix well, pour back into the CrockPot, stir, and replace the lid.  At this point, I turned my CrockPot to the Warm setting for about 30 minutes, then I turned it back off and unplugged it.  That was not in the original instructions, but I got it from a comment on the above mentioned website from someone else who does yogurt a lot.  You don't necessarily need to turn it back on.  Wrap the CrockPot in a heavy bath towel for insulation, and let it sit for 8 hours (or overnight).

Mine sat for 14 hours because I just let it go overnight.  I was surprised at the thickness because I thought it would be very thin.  It is pretty comparable to store-bought consistency, maybe a little thinner, though (it thins when you add flavorings in to it). 

At this point, you can flavor them however you want.  I mashed a banana, added honey, and a bit of sugar for one container of yogurt.  In another container of yogurt I added pureed blueberries, a splash of pomegranate and cherry juice, some honey, and a pinch of sugar.  They are delicious!

Now that you have your first yogurt batch, reserve 1/2 cup of your plain yogurt for your "starter" for the next time.  Chill your yogurt and enjoy!

If you like thicker yogurt, you can try adding powdered milk or a packet of unflavored gelatin to your original milk mixture, or you can try filtering it at the end.  The possibilities are endless!

For $2, you can get a half gallon of tasty, homemade, ingredient-controlled yogurt.

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