Jul 15, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I made organic yogurt and I didn't even buy a new appliance. I made it in my slow-cooker (Crock-pot) by combining a few different recipes that I found from other sources. Yummy! Bean has been eating it non-stop. It is plain, but you can flavor it with blended fruit, whole fruit, granola, maple syrup, jam or whatever you want!

It is thinner than commercial yogurt because it doesn't have the stabilizers and gelatin that commercial yogurt has. However, we like it thicker so I just let it strain overnight in a fine mesh sieve lined with coffee filters. It ends up being as thick as sour cream. If you don't want it that thick, don't let it drain as long.

I recommend trying whole milk yogurt first because it is easier to do and thickens a little more than the low-fat variety I've been making lately. Just think you don't need to buy whole milk Yo-Baby yogurts because you can make your own and save a bundle of money!

1 half gallon of milk (I used organic, you may want to try whole if it is your first time)
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt with no stabilizers (don't use a flavored yogurt)
1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered fat free milk (you need more of this if you are making a yogurt with less fat)

Pour milk into a slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Then turn you slow-cooker off, make sure it is not on warm. Let the mixture sit for 3 hours. Then remove 2 cups of warm milk and place into a bowl, stir yogurt and powdered milk into the bowl with warm milk. Pour mixture back into the warm slow-cooker and stir a few times to mix. Place lid back on and wrap the entire slow-cooker in a heavy bath towel. Move slow-cooker to an area of your counter that will not get bumped or moved for at least 8 hours. After at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours remove the towel and lid from your slow-cooker and you will have yogurt!

After 8 hours the yogurt will get slightly thicker and will continue to get more and more sour. If I let mine sit overnight sometimes it will be 10 hours before I can get to it in the morning, I haven't noticed it being that much more sour than an 8 hour yogurt.

As the mixture cools in the refrigerator it thickens a little more. If you want it thicker, more like greek yogurt,  pour it in a colander or fine mesh sieve, lined with coffee filters or cheese cloth and strain until you achieve the desired consistency. (Make sure to strain over a bowl as a lot of the whey comes out)

**One last note if you are using fat free milk you may need to add gelatin to the mixture in order for it to get thick enough. Just add one packet of plain gelatin to the warm milk, yogurt, and powdered milk mixture.

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