Hi! Thanks for visiting! This is an older post and I confess, I actually have a new favorite way to make yogurt now. With only two ingredients, you’ll make the thickest, creamiest, homemade yogurt ever! Come check it out here.
However, if you’d still like to make it in the slow cooker, keep reading!
P.S. – Like what you read? Before you go, make sure to subscribe in a reader, via e-mail (in the box to the right) or via facebook to keep up to date with new posts! See you soon!
I am the last person you would think who would be making yogurt.
I never thought I would. I thought that, unless you ran a dairy farm, yogurt was just one of those things that you just had to buy. Like butter. Or cheese. Something that normal people just didn’t make.
Though I had friends who had made yogurt in the past, their recipes sounded complicated. Some involved specialty yogurt-making equipment. Others involved thermometers, special processes for keeping the milk a specific temperature like putting it in a thermal-lined ice chest or ovens that could be kept at really low temperatures (which mine never could). I just didn’t have the space or the time or the equipment, I said. And I know that if I had an ice chest laying around in my kitchen, there’d be no way that I’d be able to keep my son out of it. He’d be opening it and closing it, and opening and closing it and that whole “maintaining a constant temperature” thing would be out the window.
So I figured that I’d always buy yogurt. I envisioned that those people who made yogurt were exotic gypsy women with garlic hanging from the ceiling and wearing brightly colored scarves. I know. Who am I to talk? Me of the homemade sourdough starters, lacto-fermented condiments, herbs drying in my kitchen, and on and on. Yeah, but I hadn’t made it to yogurt production yet. I hadn’t gone THAT far yet in being a real foodie.
And then I came across a recipe to make yogurt in my crockpot. I read it. It was ridiculously simple. And I already had a crockpot, so I didn’t have to buy a new piece of equipment. I decided to go ahead and try the recipe.
And I’ve been making it ever since. I’m a homemade yogurt convert.
This recipe is fantastic and one that I make about once a week. I originally discovered this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking blog- did you hear that Stephanie has a cookbook out now, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow? I can’t wait to get my hands on it; it’s going on my Christmas List . . .
from A Year of Slow Cooking
- 1/2 gallon of whole milk (I use organic, and oftentimes raw, but use what you have. It’s best NOT to use ultra-pasteurized if you can help it)
- 1/2 cup live/active plain yogurt (to be used as a “starter”, like sourdough. Can be store-bought or 1/2 cup from a previously homemade yogurt. Full fat is best and what I would recommend)
- Heavy bath towel or blanket
In a 4-quart slow cooker, turn cooker to low and pour in milk. Cover and allow to cook for two and a half hours.
After two and a half hours have elapsed, turn off cooker, unplug from wall and allow to sit, covered, for three hours.
Three hours later, whisk in starter yogurt and re-cover. Cover/Wrap the entire crockpot with a large bath towel or blanket and leave on your counter for eight hours.
After eight hours have elapsed, your yogurt is done! I normally lift the entire crock out of the base and keep it in my fridge until I have time to decant into something smaller . . .
This makes a fantastic smooth yogurt with just the right hint of tang. It tastes better than anything I’ve ever bought.
If you want it a bit thicker, (I often prefer Greek-style yogurt) simply line a colander with cheese cloth or coffee filters, place over a bowl and pour yogurt into it. The whey will drain off into the bowl (collect it and store it in your fridge for a few months for other cooking – I use mine to soak grains, make lacto-fermented foods or just add some to smoothies for extra nutrients) and you’ll be left with a thick, creamy yogurt.
If you want to flavor it, now is the time! Stir or blend in fresh or frozen fruit of your choice and maybe even a little honey for sweetness. YUM!
How do I use my slow cooker yogurt?
- In Green Smoothies
- Mixed with Regular Granola or Grain Free Granola for breakfast
- In place of milk or buttermilk in pancakes, bread and muffin recipes
- In place of sour cream in homemade ranch dressing
- Drained of whey to make a yogurt cheese, I mix in fresh herbs to make an herbed cheese bread for bagels or crackers, or mix in dried fruits and honey for a perfect spread for toast
Special Tip #1: Due to the time guidelines for this recipe I generally start it either first thing in the morning, by 8:00am, so that it is done by 9:30/10:00pm, or I start it in the early evening (around 5:00pm) so that I can stir in the starter yogurt before I go to bed and put it in the fridge while I’m getting my coffee the next morning.
Special Tip #2: I’ve heard that, over time your homemade yogurt will reduce in strength as a “starter” and you might have to purchase a small cup of yogurt from the store to start your next batch. I’ve had good luck with using homemade yogurt as starter for several weeks worth of batches, and have increased the quantity up to 1 cup (as the starter) if I felt it needed it.