Homemade Yogurt - Why?
To anyone who has already crafted a great batch of creamy, smooth yogurt at home, the answer to this question is, as my grandmother would say, "As clear as the nose on your face."
The taste and texture of fresh homemade yogurt is so far superior to store bought brands, that it's really laughable. Hahaha, I smile thinking about it, even as I spoon another amazing mouthful of Greek yogurt into my face. Yummmm....please pass the honey.
This post will cover my absolute favorite method: crock pot yogurt! Yeah, you heard me right.
Crock pots and homemade yogurt are a perfect match. The crock keeps your milk culturing, snug and cozy with very minimal effort on your part. All you have to do is pre-warm the milk to 160 degrees, cool it to 110 degrees, mix in your live cultures, cover the batch, wrap with a thick towel and leave it all undisturbed for about 8 hours, cool for 6 hours, and voila, you have yogurt! Straining through a cheesecloth for a few hours drains out the whey and leaves you with Greek style yogurt so thick you can stand a spoon in it....ohhhh, it's sooooo good!
Have I convinced you to give it a try? You'll not only save money and save our landfills from the invasion of hundreds of little plastic cups each year, but you'll also just be so happy. The taste is amazing, and it's well worth the effort.
If you use renewable cultures you can save the needed amount from each batch to use as starter for your next one, saving LOTS more money! I like Cultures For Health: www.CulturesForHealth.com
What You'll Need:
10 cups milk (regular or lowfat...I use lowfat)
8 Tablespoons plain yogurt with live active cultures
1 Cup dried instant milk powder, if desired.
1. Turn your crock pot on its lowest setting with the cover on. Using your double boiler, warm your milk to 160 degrees, stirring occasionally. My double boiler is small enough that I have to repeat this step twice in order to heat all the milk. Cool to 110 degrees, stirring occasionally to avoid forming a skin. If you're using a freeze dried starter, follow package directions.Although you don't have to use a double boiler, it's very helpful and highly recommended.
You'll have to stir constantly if not using one, and you might end up with tiny lumps in your batch.
2. Mix the dried instant milk with half of the warmed milk, stirring with a whisk to dissolve it completely. Now add the remainder of the milk, stir, and then all of the yogurt starter. Stir very well.
3. Pour the mix into the crock pot, cover, turn it off (I unplug it), wrap it in a thick towel and leave it in a warm place for about 8 hours. The longer you leave it, the tarter your yogurt will be. Remove the towel, place in the fridge and wait for 6 hours, or longer if you like a tarter taste.
4. Your yogurt is now ready to eat! To make Greek style yogurt, strain it for a few hours through a cheesecloth, placed in the fridge. Stirring with a hand whisk before serving is also essential to creating super smooth yogurt, so whisk away!
Excuse me now, I have a fresh batch just waiting for me!