Living Richly With WIC: Homemade Yogurt

I had always heard it was easy to make yogurt at home, but hadn’t been inspired to try until now.  There are hundreds of recipes and techniques one can find online.  I tried one using a preheated crock pot.

  1. Heat crockpot on low
  2. 8 cups milk heated to 180-185 degrees

    My first batch of yogurt was a little grainy at the bottom of the jars. Some online research led me to information about some of the milk possibly being overheated, causing protein molecules to get all wonky. I took the advice and heated the milk in a double-boiler. I also read that holding the milk at 180 degrees would produce a creamier batch. I tried this and the yogurt turned out perfectly.

  3. Cool milk to 110 degrees

    I put the bowl in a sink of cold water to speed the cooling process.

  4. Temper 1 cup yogurt (storebought with active cultures, or use a portion of previous batch of yogurt) with 1 cup cooled milk

    If you’re looking for a yogurt at the store, use plain yogurt with active cultures.

    This is the starter I used for the first couple batches. After that, I set aside some of the homemade yogurt for a starter for the next batch.

     

  5. Mix yogurt-milk with rest of milk, stir thoroughly
  6. Pour into individual jars, and place each into crockpot

    The crockpot should be turned off (and unplugged too). Wrap it in a towel or two to hold the heat in.

  7. Wrap crockpot with thick towel  (Because our kitchen is fairly cool, every once in a while I turn the crockpot to the “Warm” setting for a few minutes and then unplug again.)
  8. Wait 8 hours.  Put lid on jars, and put in fridge overnight.

    4 1/2 pints yogurt for about $2.50.

Now, if you want a little science about how 2% milk can produce such thick, lovely yogurt, I refer you to Joe Pastry.

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4 Comments

  1. Judy

     /  September 24, 2012

    John has a special yogurt maker that keeps it at the right temperature and in serving size jars.

    Reply
    • I have coveted a maker like that. But we’re keeping it simple for now (less stuff). Trying anyway.

      Reply
  2. Wow. You went all out, Kim. I used to make it all the time. But I was way less…something. I’d get a gallon of milk, put it in a big plastic bucket, which was essentially just a very large measuring cup, then microwave it several times until I got the temp up. (I was afraid of scalding it, which was why I got the plastic thing and used the microwave.)

    Then I’d cover it, keep the thermometer in it, and when it got to the right temperature (can’t recall what it was—110?). The best part was, I had an oven at the time that, when you left the light on, was exactly the right temperature for the yogurt fermentation to take place. I’d put the whole big plastic thing in, plus a half pint of a good active culture yogurt, and then leave it for 24 hours. At the end, perfect yogurt. Then I’d put it in plastic tubs and have it for lunch pretty much every day. Haven’t tried it in years, largely because these dang new ovens won’t let you leave the light on for 24 hours.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Steve. A few days ago, I made a batch of yogurt, but forgot I was limited to the space in the crockpot and heated up too much milk. I ended up using my oven — it stays pretty warm because of the pilot light. It worked delightfully, and I’ll probably nix the crockpot method from now on.

      Reply

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