Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homemade Crock Pot Greek Yogurt

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt | Cute Junk I've Made

I mentioned it before in the My Favorite Granola post, but I figured it was past time for me to share my Homemade Crock Pot Greek Yogurt with you.  I know the idea of essentially curdling milk is freaking terrifying, but I swear it's not that bad.

And can I tell you, it's so damn gratifying to eat yogurt that YOU made, knowing there are no crazy preservatives or other junk in it??

Kind of makes you feel like, heck yeah I could do this homesteading thing.  I could live off the land.  I could be an organic crunchy granola chick.

But then you remember how awesome a Grande Skinny Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks is and how much you love going to Costco on a Saturday just to eat free samples and you snap out of it.

Ok, back to the yogurt.  I'll hold your hand while you take a couple of deep breaths and repeat after me:  I can do this!
 
Here's what you'll need to get started:
Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Ingredients Setup

  • 2 Quarts of whole milk (I usually use organic, but I sent Dude to the store to pick up this milk...enough said)
  • 1/2c of plain yogurt
  • Your preferred sweeteners, here's what I used:
Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Sweeteners
Recommended but not necessary:  a Slow Cooker Liner.  This will cut your clean-up time from 5 minutes to 5 seconds.

One word of warning, you're going to want to think about timing on this because in about 6 hours you're going to have to measure and stir a bit.  And if you don't plan far enough ahead, you may end up setting your alarm for 3am to do it.  I'm not saying this because it happened to me the first time I made this yogurt.  Pinkie swear.

Ok, now that you pulled all that stuff out, put it all back except for the milk; and pour that into your Crock Pot.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Pouring milk into lined Crock Pot

Put your Crock Pot on Low and if your Crock Pot is goofy like mine and only has a couple of options for time, set a timer for exactly 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Crock Pot on Low

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Timer set for 2 hours and 45 minutes
This is what 2 hours and 45 minutes looks like on my stove timer.

Now walk away until the timer goes off because warm milk smells icky.

After 2 hours and 45 minutes, come back, turn off your Crock Pot, leave the lid on, and set the timer again, this time for 3 hours.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Timer set for 3 hours
In case you were confused about the 3 hours thing.
Apologies for quality of the next couple of pictures, my camera inexplicably (or maybe I accidentally left it on for like 20 minutes, I don't know!) died right as I started measuring.

So anyways, three more hours have passed (see what I meant about thinking about timing before you started?); and you've got a Crock Pot full of warm milk.  Ladle one cup of the milk out of the Pot into a small bowl.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - 1 cup of warm milk

Now measure out a 1/2c of plain, store-bought yogurt.

This is called your starter.  Someone smarter than me would tell you it has something to do with the bacteria.  But personally, I don't understand it and I don't really want to talk about the bacteria in stuff I'm going to eat.  Basically you only need this store-bought yogurt once.  Next time, you can use the yogurt we're making now in this step.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - 1/2c of plain yogurt

Plop the yogurt into the bowl of warm milk; and if your helper has been a good puppy all day, you can let her lick the spoon.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Pepper licking yogurt spoon

Gently whisk the milk and the plain yogurt together.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Milk and yogurt mixed

Pour the milk/yogurt mixture back into the Crock Pot.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Milk and yogurt back into Crock Pot

Put the lid back on the Crock Pot and let it sit on the counter for 8-12 hours.  If you have a drafty kitchen like I do, I suggest covering the Crock Pot with a towel and putting it somewhere warmish, like your oven.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Wrapped up Crock Pot in oven

I have no proof that this does anything, but I read it one time on a blog somewhere; and everyone knows you can't post something online if it isn't true.  Plus I'd rather be safe than end up with two quarts of stinky milk in my Crock Pot.

But that's just me.  If you want to roll the dice, I won't stop you.

After 8-12 hours your yogurt is done!  But to make it official Greek yogurt, you need to drain off the whey. 

To do that, grab a strainer, a bowl for it to sit in and some sort of straining material.  I use a flour sack towel, but I think cheesecloth or muslin would also work.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Straining whey setup

So place the towel in the strainer and set the strainer on top of the bowl.  I prefer to do this step in the sink because my Crock Pot bowl is heavy and I have weak little girl arms. 

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Straining whey setup in sink

Carefully pour your now thickened milk/yogurt mixture from the Crock Pot into the strainer; and move the entire setup to the fridge.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Yogurt straining
Leave it there until you've drained off at least 3/4 of a cup of whey.  It took me roughly 3 hours to drain off almost two cups of whey. 

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Measured whey

What is whey?  I haven't got the slightest clue.  I know Little Miss Muffett sat on her tuffett - while we're at it, what the heck is a tuffett? - eating her curds and whey.  I can't imagine eating this stuff straight.  But, I do know you can substitute it in any bread or dough recipe for water or milk.

Or you can do what I do, pour it into a mason jar, throw it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, plan to use it to make bread; and then never make the bread and throw it out when stuff starts floating in it.

Up to you.

Alright, back to the stuff you came here for!  Greek Yogurt!

After you drain off the whey, your yogurt is ready to be eaten and stored.  I usually make three different containers.  I leave one plain, to use as a starter next time; I layer one with berries and agave or honey; and I layer the final one with jam.

Homemade Crockpot Greek Yogurt - Yogurt with honey

You can set up your yogurt here however you like.  If you want to add granulated sweetener or vanilla extract or any other kind of flavoring, now is the time to do it.

Your yogurt will keep in the fridge for a week or two.  Use your best judgement there.

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Background Noise for This Project:  It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 1, Episode 4:  Charlie Has Cancer

4 comments:

  1. Oh wow Laura, way to go!!! I don't think I would ever make my own yogurt, but thats awesome! I am now following you on pinterest!
    Beth @ The First Year Blog

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Beth!! Followed ya back, you have some good stuff! (:

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  2. I love your commentary & sense of humor :) I have made homemade yogurt two or three times. Twice I had success with it setting up, the third time I thought I did it the same and it never set up. So it was a soupy mess. Good I guess for smoothies but kinda icky looking.

    Since my failure I went back to buying it at the store. Lazy me. :) You have great instructions though. If I give it another try, I with go with your method. It looks more trust worthy than the way I did it before. :)

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  3. Thanks for your super sweet comments! Not going to lie, I've slipped back into store bought once or twice or thrice or what comes after thrice?

    Whenever that happens I just tell myself I'm buying a new container of "starter" yogurt!

    If you try this method, let me know how it turns out for you!

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