Sunday, September 11, 2011

crockpot yogurt

did you know you can make yogurt at home in a crockpot? i tried it for the first time this week, and was truly amazed - it's super easy, tastes great, and saves money. what's not to love?

my friend Momi sent me this recipe a while ago, and I finally had reason to try it out for the eat local challenge.  i had bought a half gallon of local milk the other day on a whim because it was on sale, but i don't really drink milk, and i've been missing having yogurt in my (100% locally grown) smoothies in the morning, so figured this was the perfect time to try out the yogurt recipe. to be honest, i was highly skeptical that it would actually work. I've always been intimidated by yogurt-making, similar to my fear of proofing yeast when baking bread - it's so much pressure to get the temperature right so those little buggers will grow. anyway, despite my skepticism and nervousness, the process was incredibly simple - you just need to start it at a time when you expect to be home periodically to switch the crockpot off and mix in the yogurt. I made a 1/2 recipe because my crockpot is little and that worked just fine.

the ingredients.

--12 cups (3/4 gallon) of whole milk--pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized.

--1 6oz store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt

the directions.

plug in your crockpot and turn to low. add milk. cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.

unplug your crockpot. leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.

scoop out 2 cups of the milk and put it in a bowl. whisk in live/active culture yogurt. then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. stir to combine.

put the lid back on your crockpot. keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation.

go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.

in the morning, the yogurt will have thickened---it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt. (i actually found it to be quite thick - see note below)

chill in a plastic container(s) in the refrigerator. your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.

*for thicker yogurt, line colander with cheesecloth/paper towels and set in big bowl. pour yogurt and cover. place in fridge.

now, fellow thick yogurt-lovers, don't be dissuaded (i was, and i think that's part of why it took me so long to try the recipe). i am not the kind of person who loves just eating yogurt, because i don't think it's rich enough - the one type of yogurt i fell in love with is a brand called Liberte from vermont that's something like 8% milkfat (yum!). now that i can't get that i settle for greek-style yogurt. and yet i LOVE this homemade yogurt - it's creamy and fairly thick and very flavorfull. in fact, i ate an entire 35oz container in the first 24 hours (is that gross?) and none of it has made it into the smoothies yet.

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