I haven't been writing for a few months, and I've been trying to figure out what I could post to get myself going again. So, here it is: my new-found skill of making homemade yougurt! I say it's a skill, but really it's so simple, anyone with a crockpot who can follow directions can do it this way. I haven't taken any pictures to show the process, but I promise to update this with pictures next time I do it.
Here's what you'll need:
A crock pot (preferably one with a "warm" setting)
2 qts milk - I use raw milk from organic, grass fed cows. If you can't or don't want to use raw milk, please still use organic milk. DO NOT use ultra-pasteurized milk.
Single serving container of plain yogurt - choose something that is *just* milk and yogurt culture (no weird chemicals or gelatin). I used Chobani.
Mesh strainer and coffee filters or cheesecloth if you want to strain your yogurt to make it thicker.
Here's what you do:
Put the milk in the crock pot and turn it on to low for 2 1/2 hours. Sometimes a skin will form on the top of the milk while heating. You can either skim this off or whisk it in. After that, turn the crock pot off and let the milk cool for 3 hours. After 3 hours, scoop out a couple cups of milk and mix in the plain yogurt. Then mix that into the main batch of milk. At this point, if you have a crock pot with a warm setting, turn it on to warm for 30 min. This will give the culture a little more warmth to get going. If you don't have a crock pot with a warm setting, skip to the next step. Wrap the crock pot in heavy towels and leave sit overnight. In the morning, you should have yogurt!
A couple of things:
If your kitchen is chilly, you may need to set the crock pot on a warming mat or put it in a warmer room in the house.
If the yogurt is not as thick as you would like, place your strainer over a bowl, line with coffee filter or cheesecloth and pour your yogurt in. The whey will drain out as it sits. When it is the thickness you like, just dump the yogurt into a container for storage. And don't throw out the whey - it is useful for so many things... but that's another blog post for another day! A word of caution - if you strain your yogurt too long, you will actually make real cream cheese! ... But maybe you want to make cream cheese one of these days - I just told you how to do it.
Let me know how your yogurt making goes. And I am currently too busy to edit this post, so please let me know if anything is unclear or misspelled. Happy yogurt making!