The Super Simple Crockpot Yogurt Recipe
- 1/2 gallon of milk (2 liters)
- One small cup of unflavored yogurt. (1/4-1/2 cup)
- Set the yogurt on the counter so it can reach room temperature.
- Pour milk into a large pot and heat on medium low until temperature reaches 190 degrees Farenheit (88 degrees Celsius). (Use a candy thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Mine has a clip on the side so it can hang off the edge of my pot.) Stir regularly while heating.
- Once it hits 190 degrees, turn off the heat and let it cool until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees Farenheit (43 degrees Celsius).
- Turn your empty crockpot on and heat it for a few minutes until it is warm. Turn it off. Pour the hot milk into the crockpot.
- Remove about one cup of warm milk and gently stir the yogurt into it. (At this point, it should be room temperature.) Then gently pour it into the crockpot and stir it into the rest of the milk, with a very slow, gentle movement.
- Wrap the crockpot with thick towels and leave it alone for about 8-12 hours. (I let it sit overnight.)
- Do not stir the yogurt or remove it from the crockpot. Instead, unwrap the crockpot and place it into the refrigerator to chill. After it is cold, you may gently stir your yogurt and ladle it into glass containers for storage.
- The next time you make this, you can simply use 1/4-1/2 cup of the yogurt as a starter for your next batch. After 4-5 batches, you will want to start over again with a fresh store-bought yogurt as your starter.
- Obviously, the better quality of your ingredients, the better this will turn out. However, you can use anything you have. I've used UHT processed milk, and a friend of mine uses reconstituted milk from milk power, and it has turned out for us. It will affect the taste somewhat, though.
- If you don't have a candy thermometer for testing the temperature of the milk, you can guesstimate it. At 190 degrees, the milk will be steamy and foamy, with bubbles around the edges of the pan. If you hold your hand just above it, it will feel quite hot. However, you don't want the milk to boil! It will probably take about 10-20 minutes to reach the right temperature.
- I have found that it takes about one to one and a half hours to cool to the correct temperature. Of course, this is in a rather hot environment. If your kitchen is quite cool, it will take shorter.
All in all, preparing the yogurt will take less than 2 hours of mostly hands-off time.
Do you like flavored yogurt? Try these ideas:
- Frozen fruit juice concentrate or lemonade concentrate
- Blueberry or Strawberry Pie Filling
- A little bit of sugar and a drop of Vanilla extract
- Toasted Carob Powder
- Sliced or pureed fresh or frozen fruit
Besides eating it plain, try these ideas:
- Freeze it and eat it like ice cream.
- Make a breakfast parfait. Alternate layers of granola, sliced fresh fruit, and yogurt.
- Substitute yogurt for sour cream, cream, or milk in recipes.
- Add it to your fruit smoothies.
If your yogurt turns out runny, try some of these options. . .
- Make sure you are optimizing it by allowing it to reach 190 degrees and cool to 110 degrees. In my experience, this has the biggest impact on the way it sets.
- Add a little bit of powdered milk to your milk before you heat it.
- Use a different brand of milk and see if that makes a difference.
- Let it sit longer than 8 hours.
- Make sure you are not stirring it or removing it from the crockpot before it chills.
If none of these things work, don't despair! Runny yogurt is still yogurt. You can use it as a substitute for sour cream or buttermilk in recipes, add it to your fruit shakes, or pour it over granola. In Asia, we like drinking our yogurt. Add a little fruit flavoring or sweetener and try it as a drink.
You can make yogurt from start to finish in your crockpot. No heating on the stove is necessary. Instead, heat the milk on low in your crockpot until the temperature reaches 190 degrees. Turn off your crockpot and wait until the temperature reaches 110. Then follow the directions given above. This will add about an hour to your time, but it may be worth it to you.
With this method it is harder to keep the thermometer where it needs to be. Try looping a ribbon through the handle of your crockpot lid and tying it around your thermometer in order to keep it in place inside your crockpot.