When I was in Florida I stumbled across a website that talked about making your own yogurt. I was immediately intrigued since I eat yogurt everyday. Plus, I always think I can make anything that can be bought.
I used to eat 1 Dannon Light n Fit everyday for lunch. Last year, I reevaluated my eating habits and decided to cut out artificial sweeteners. For years, I was eating Splenda in everything!! I drank it in my coffee, in my oatmeal, yogurt, Crystal Light and pretty much any other fat-free “health food”. I’ve really come a long way with my eating habits.
Recently, I started buying the large containers of plain yogurt and was adding my own mix-ins for flavor. Less waste, less cost. So the idea that I could make my own yogurt sounded perfect. Eat healthy, help the environment and save money!
There are a lot of different ways to make homemade yogurt. In a cooler, in your oven, with a heating pad or in your sink. Basically the most important thing that you need to watch is the temperature. It needs to stay at a constant 110 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. I was going to try the heating pad method until I found a recipe using your crock pot.
I love crock pots!! Just turn it on and walk away.
To make your own yogurt, you start with milk. I read that you could use any type of milk, whole, 2%, 1% or whatever you choose. I decided to use fat-free since that is the type of yogurt that I generally chose to drink. It has to be pasteurized, which is how milk from most stores are sold. Be careful when using organic milk that may be ultra pasteurized, it won’t work.
I started with a 1/2 gallon of fat-free milk. I thought a gallon of yogurt might be a little too much for me to eat in 10 days. That’s a lot of yogurt!
I read that adding dry milk to the mix can help it thicken. So I added 1/2 cup of fat-free dry milk. I’ve never bought dry milk before. Didn’t even know where in the store it was! My local grocery store only sold it in large packages. $10 for dry milk seemed a little too much for this experiment, so I found it at Walmart for about $3, Much better!!
I whisked the dry milk into the crock pot with the milk. Turn it to the lowest setting and left it alone.
3 hours later I came back home and unplugged the crock pot. I used my thermometer and it was 180 degrees. Perfect!! It was slightly boiling now.
I took the lid off and left it for another 3 hours. It has to cool to 110 degrees -120 degrees. I actually met my friends for drinks for a little too long, so when I came back it was around 105 degrees. I reheated it back to 116 degrees, since that was what it should be when you add the “active cultures”.
When it reached 116 degrees. I took out 1 cup of warm milk and added 1/2 cup of plain fat-free yogurt that I had already purchased. Whisked it together and it went back into the crock pot. Now the “active cultures” are in there waiting to start growing.
This is where it got a little weird. I had to make sure that the crock pot didn’t lose too much heat so that the milk could incubate. I wrapped two thick beach towels around the crock pot and placed it in my oven. I also turned on my oven light to add a little more heat.
Then left it along for the next 11 hours. Directions say any where between 8 hours to 12 hours. It was hard not to want to check on it but I knew I couldn’t disturb it during the incubation. So hard to not take a peek! Luckily I went to bed a few hours later, so I wouldn’t be tempted.
I actually slept pretty crappy that night. I must have woken up 10 times! I never do that so I figured that I must have been worried about the yogurt. I told myself to not be disappointed in case it didn’t work out. I was only out the cost of the milk – $1.19.
But there was nothing to worry about!! I woke up to an entire crock pot filled with creamy yogurt!! The crock pot was still warm 11 hours later, so the towel trick must have worked! There was a thin layer of whey (yellowish water). This is fine and can be mixed back in.
I was so excited!!! Really it doesn’t take too much to get me excited.
I poured the yogurt through a strainer because it has a “skin” on the top that I wanted to take off. I read that you could also put it into a blender to puree it also. You can also strain small amounts at a time using a coffee strainer. This takes out the whey and makes it think like Greek yogurt.
The strainer worked great. Then I put it in the fridge so get cold and thicken up. The yogurt has a great taste. It’s smooth, creamy and tart. I like the taste of plain yogurt to begin with so I think it’s great on it own.
Of course you can add anything to flavor it up!! Some of my favorite choices
- peanut butter
- jelly, jam
- maple syrup
- chai seeds
The possibilities are endless!!!!!
Homemade yogurt all week long!
On to my next experiment!! Getting ready to bake some bread so keep reading.