Making yogurt is relatively easy and can be done at home with simple supplies. The full process can take up to 18 hours when making small batches of yogurt, but the actual labour involved is under an hour.
Ingredients Makes: 4 cups
4 cups milk
1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt with live cultures
*Hint: Make it organic yogurt by using organic milk and an organic yogurt starter!
4 quart Crock-pot Slow-cooker
instant-read thermometer ~or~ candy thermometer
clean dish towel
small clean bath towel
Instructions Time: 14+ hours
Heat milk to 180 degrees F. Warm a small 4-quart crock-pot to low and add 4 cups of milk. Let milk cook with the lid on for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Milk should warm up to 180 degrees F.
Turn off heat and let milk cool to 110 degree F. After a couple hours the milk will have plenty of small bubbles. Turn off the crock-pot and place a clean dish-towel between the milk and the lid to capture any moisture from running into the yogurt. Allow milk to sit for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to slowly cool down. At the same time measure out 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and transfer it to a clean medium-sized bowl and allow it to sit out to warm slowly to room temperature.
Slowly add yogurt to cooled milk. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours has passed the milk should have cooled to a temperature of 110 degrees F to be ideal; 115 degrees is still too warm. Carefully remove the skin if one has developed, this happens more often with non-homogenized or raw milk. The yogurt also should now be at room temperature. Some of the milk needs to slowly be introduced to the yogurt before the yogurt can be introduced back into the rest of the milk, this is called tempering.
In the yogurt bowl, add 1/4 cup of the lukewarm milk to the yogurt and gently whisk it in just until combined. Repeat this process until about 1 cup of milk has been mixed into the yogurt. Then slowly whisk the yogurt mixture into the remaining milk in the crock-pot just until combined.
Move crock to oven for 8 to 12 hours. Cover the crock-pot with the clean tea-towel again in-between the lid and the yogurt. Then carefully place the crock-pot in an emptied oven, and then cover with the bath-towel to keep it warm, insulated and dark; an ideal environment for the live cultures to propagate. Turn on the oven light to provide the adequate warmth the culture also needs to grow.
Let the yogurt sit undisturbed for 8 to 12 hours. This process is best if it is organized so that it happens overnight. This way the oven is left undisturbed and you can check on the yogurt in the morning for readiness.
Remove yogurt from oven and strain out access liquid. After the 8 to 12 hour resting period the yogurt can be carefully removed from the oven and the warming light turned off. Thinner liquid may have separated from the yogurt and be sitting on top. This can be removed with a large spoon or by straining the liquid in a colander lined with cheese cloth. Greek yogurt can also be made by straining liquid from the yogurt until the desired consistency is reached.
Storage. Store the yogurt in a sealed container in the fridge for up to ten days. A quarter cup portion of this yogurt can be set aside to make a new batch of yogurt for the following week.
Note: This recipe can be doubled to make 8 cups of yogurt, the only change to the recipe would be the amount of time it would take for the milk to cool down after being heated to 180 to 190 degrees F. Instead of 1 1/2 – 2 hours for the milk to cool to 110 degrees, twice as much milk may take 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When making larger quantities of yogurt at a time, a larger crock-pot may also be used.
Yogurt is best sweetened with maple syrup; for every cup of yogurt add 1 to 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
Recipe shared by: J. Marshall
*Yogurt is an excellent source for the essential nutrient Calcium.
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