A crockpot (or perhaps you call it a slow cooker) is a super useful kitchen gadget to have around. I’ve gotten lots of use out of my crockpots over the years, primarily for making things like soups and chili. This week, however, I used my crockpot for something a bit more unusual – I made homemade crockpot yogurt.
I’d seen this type of recipe floating around the internet and decided it was a simple enough process that I could fit into my schedule. My yogurt turned out a bit runny (not sure why) and is also is a bit more tangy than most of the fruity yogurts on the store shelves. I’m thinking it will be a great ingredient for smoothies and will be giving that a try this week too.
HOMEMADE CROCKPOT YOGURT
Here’s what you need:
1/2 gallon of milk
1/2 cup of plain or vanilla yogurt (equals a 6 oz container)
Step 1: Pour the half gallon of milk in the crockpot and heat on the low setting for 2.5 hours
Step 2: Turn off the crockpot and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crockpot on the counter for 3 hours. The temperature should end up being about 100 degrees at the end of that time. (my thermometer registered 104 after 3 hours)
Step 3: The next thing you do is whisk in the 1/2 cup of yogurt.
Step 4: Put the lid back on the crockpot. Cover the entire crockpot with a heavy towel (like a beach towel). Let it set wrapped up like this for at least 8 hours. I let mine set overnight (approximately 10 hours).
Step 5: Now your yogurt is done! You can sweeten it at this point if you like. I added 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla to my mixture.
Step 6: Pour into smaller containers and refrigerate (or freeze). If you can’t get to this step right away, you can pop the whole crcokpot into the refrigerator and do it when it’s more convenient.
I ended up with five 12 oz containers
You probably noticed that several hours elapse between the steps during the process and you might be thinking you don’t have that much time in your schedule. Here’s how my timeline worked out, which was really quite manageable. I did this on a Friday night and Saturday morning.
4:30 p.m. – Started milk cooking in crockpot. Then made supper.
7:00 p.m. – Unplugged the crockpot. Was still in the kitchen cleaning up supper so no big deal.
10:00 p.m. – Stirred in the yogurt starter and covered the whole thing up with a towel. Went to bed.
9:00 a.m. next morning – Took towel off and stirred in sugar and vanilla and poured into containers.
So as you can see, even though quite a bit of time goes by, the steps themselves go quickly and can be done with minimal effort.
THE INGREDIENTS AND THEIR COST
I decided to use whole Vitamin D milk for my yogurt because I thought I remembered reading it made for a richer yogurt. I really prefer skim milk, so I didn’t want to buy a whole gallon of the Vitamin D stuff. My cost for the 1/2 gallon was $1.99. If you bought a gallon, I’m sure your cost for the half gallon used would be less.
I purchased a 6 oz Dannon vanilla yogurt for the “starter” to stir in. My 6 oz container cost 60 cents. If you save a little bit of your homemade stuff, you can use that on the next crockpot batch for your starter. If you have a bigger container of the plain yogurt, your cost would be less too for the half cup used.
So my total cost for the ingredients was $2.59 (not including the little bit of sugar and vanilla I stirred in). This equaled 51 cents for each 12 oz container. I’m sure you could bring this cost down if you bought any of these ingredients on sale too.
I’m still wondering why my batch was a little runny. A temperature thing maybe? If anyone else has advice to share, I’d love to hear it!