September 24, 2012

Yogurt Making Monday

Crock pot yogurt making is easy and tasty
photo: Eating From The Ground Up
Yogurt is easy to make. The earliest yogurts were most likely spontaneously fermented by wild bacteria in goat skin bags. Do not try this at home. On the other hand, it doesn't get much more simple than that.

I love yogurt. Not expensive, over packaged designer yogurt, and not flavoured, sugar-laden yogurt. I can also do without Aspartame, food colouring, artificial flavour, and thickening agents like gelatin (made from a variety of animal products, like skin, horns, hoof and bones).

I am content with the most ordinary of natural, plain yogurts. Yum.

Yogurt is good for you. It has been scientifically proven. Making your own yogurt is good for you, too. It is as fresh as it gets, is less expensive, and can be made without plastic packaging. And it is easy.

Basic Crock Pot Yogurt Recipe
1. Heat milk in crock pot to 185F. This kills the bacteria you don't want, and prepares the milk proteins. Using an accurate thermometer is good to insure accuracy.  
2. Keep at 183-188F for 3 minutes. This step helps achieve a more pleasant consistency in the finished product.
3. Remove crock pot lid and let milk cool to 115F. This is the perfect temperature for the starter to work - any hotter is too hot, and may kill the beneficial bacteria that you want. No bacteria growth, no yogurt.
4. Stir in 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (starter) for each liter (quart) of milk. Stir to dissolve.
5. Transfer the ceramic part of crock pot to the oven. Leave in oven with the electric light on for 6-9 hours. 
6. Take crock pot ceramic bowl from oven and place in refrigerator. Leave undisturbed for two hours to let the yogurt set up. If it is cool outside, crock pot can be left outside for a couple of hours.

So far we are total beginners. We have made several batches, and while each has been slightly different, they have all tasted great. Our yogurt has not yet achieved the consistency we are looking for, namely nice and thick. So far our tasty end results have varied from primordial ooze-like to almost thick enough to scoop with a tortilla chip.

Thus begins our quest to make the ideal home made yogurt, and get off the store bought stuff forever. Less plastic, less expensive, more fun.

Our yogurt making has revived the use of our slow cooker, which had been getting closer to give-away status in our never ending push to streamline our kitchen space. We have been taking it out and using it for every step from heating the milk to letting it set up in the fridge. One container from start to finish. When done, I transfer the yogurt from the crock pot to glass jars.

If you eat a lot of yogurt, making your own is worth a try. People have been doing it for thousands of years.

Thankfully, today goat skin bags are optional.

For a more detailed recipe for making crock pot yogurt, see this excellent post from Eating From The Ground Up.


  1. I also like really thick yogurt, so when I make my own I strain the final product through a cheesecloth. The longer you strain, the thicker the yogurt. Happy fermenting!

    1. We are definitely going to try straining. The whey is full of protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and can be used for all sorts of things.

      I do look forward to making thicker yogurt. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Anonymous9/24/2012

    some more tips, before you heat the milk mix in some powdered milk(half cup powder per quart of liquid milk) (i actually only use powdered milk (fat free at that) to make my yogert and it comes out as thick as the thickest sourcream)

    to use only powdered milk use 1 2/3 cups powdered milk with enough water to make it into a quart (then 2T starter per quart)(all temps same as you recipe)(i heat on stove then cool in pot in sink in cold water bath, much faster if you're in a hurry at all)

    i incubate in a cooler in quart glass mason jars with plastic lids (its nice to have the yogert all in jars ready to stick in the fridge) (3 jars fit perfectly in a 2 gallon coleman stacker beverage cooler ($13 at walmart)(any small cooler will do though) once the jars are in the cooler i fill it with water that is 115 degrees F (i can get this stright from my tap) just high enough so the necks of the jars stick out of the water, put the lid on and lay a folded towel on top of the cooler for extra insulation (the lid is just plastic) i then incubate for at least 12 hours usually 16 hours(changing or reheating the water every 4 hours so it stays 115 degrees F)
    this will give you super thick yogert!
    if you do want it thinner just don't change or reheat the water but still let is sit for 12 hours.
    and... even with the all powdered milk recipe there is absolutely no weird "powdered milk" taste to the yogert, i promise.
    p.s. when i strain this yogurt i end up with something the taste and consistancy of cream cheese spread! (which also works as a great sourcream substitute...)

    1. Wow, Becks, this is great. I am stoked to try your suggestions because we are also using only powdered milk for making yogurt (and everything else). Yogurt as thick as sour cream would be great.

      We have been incubating in a warm oven, but probably not 115F. We have a camping cooler, and can try that method, too. There are so many options, and you can't really go wrong. Even our yogurt the consistency of "primordial ooze" was fresh, tangy, and tasty.

      Thanks for adding these fabulous fermentation facts.


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