Homemade Yogurt

posted by Andrea | 07/7/2010

Have you ever tried making your own yogurt?

If you are like me…probably not!

I was perfectly content to purchase my store-bought yogurt and I figured homemade yogurt would be too difficult to make — and it can be.

However, about a month ago, I came across a recipe for making yogurt  in a slow cooker. It didn’t seem nearly as time-intensive or overwhelming so I figured I would give it a try.

Now I’m hooked!

The recipe below makes an entire 1/2 gallon of plain yogurt for the cost of about 3 individual sized cups from the store.

It’s also MUCH healthier for you as it doesn’t contain loads of sugar, additives, and preservatives.

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk (Do NOT use ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1/2 c. plain full-fat yogurt “starter” (Store-bought or 1/2 c. from your previous batch of yogurt.)
  • Slow Cooker – 4 quarts or larger
  • Heavy bath towel or blanket

Directions:

1. Pour milk into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

2. Unplug slow cooker and let it sit (covered) for 3 more hours.

3. Whisk in your “starter” yogurt.

4. Wrap the entire slow cooker with a large bath towel or blanket.

Let it sit for 8 more hours

{Your yogurt should be finished!}

5. Transfer your yogurt into smaller containers and place in your refrigerator for several hours before eating (to cool it down). It should stay good for at least 2 to 3 weeks.

A Few Tips:

  • To make thicker, Greek-style yogurt, simply place a mesh strainer over a bowl. Line strainer with a coffee filter or a cheese cloth, pour yogurt in, and let the whey drain off. Within a few hours, the yogurt will decrease to about half its original size.
  • To make yogurt cheese, simply drain yogurt for a longer period of time.
  • The yogurt should be very smooth with just the right hint of tang and will definitely taste different than store-bought yogurt.
  • Since this is plain yogurt, you might want to sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, jam, or fresh fruit.
  • This recipe only takes a few moments of “hands-on” work, but you’ll want to pay attention to when you start the process. For me, it works best if I start it around 8:00am so it’s finished before I go to bed; or around 5:00pm so I can stir the starter in before bed and wake up to the finished product.
  • After a few batches of using your own yogurt as the starter, you may need to purchase a small cup of plain yogurt from the store to use instead…just to keep it potent.

Uses for your Yogurt:

  • Eat it with fresh fruit and granola
  • Substitute it in recipes that call for sour cream
  • Substitute it for milk or buttermilk in pancakes, breads, and muffin recipes.
  • Drain off the whey to make yogurt cheese.

For other (possibly more traditional) ways of making yogurt visit: http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/

Do you have a great recipe for homemade yogurt? I’d love to try it out!

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

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Filed under: Food

 
 

28 comments

  1. Andrea

    07/28/2010

    Thank you for leaving this link. While we were living in Jordan we bought their version of yogurt and would strain it overnight to get the thickness of greek yogurt – but it never occurred to me that it could be this easy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No problem…happy to help.

    I didn’t think homemade yogurt could be this easy either. It does still take some time, but all you have to do is let it sit in a crock pot…simple enough!

    I hope you like it.

    [Reply]

  2. Laura Kasperski

    08/04/2010

    Oh my gosh! I am so excited to try this! I was just saying yesterday that I would like to make some yogurt. I hate giving my kids yogurt because of all of the sugar. This will be great!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!!! My mom used to make yogurt in her “hippie” days, but does not anymore. They had the old stove that had a pilot light in it, so it would stay just the right temp to make yogurt. Slow cooker seems like a great way to do it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh good, I’m glad you are going to try this out. Let me know what you think of it!

    [Reply]

  3. Melissa

    04/16/2011

    Can you use skim or low fat milk instead of whole?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Melissa, I DO think it’s important to use whole milk instead of skim or low fat milk. I’m not exactly sure why, but I remember reading several different sources that insisted on “whole milk”.

    However, you could always try a small batch with skim milk and see if it turns out!

    [Reply]

    Shelly Reply:

    We’ve made homemade yogurt with 1% and 2%. It works just fine, but tends to be a little runnier than that made with the whole. My sister-in-law has even used powdered milk!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I haven’t tried the crockpot method (my dad bought me a 2 quart yogurt maker for Christmas), but I’ve only used 2% milk. It turns out slightly different every time, depending on what brand of milk I use and what I use as a starter. I even used ultra-pasteurized once with good results. It’s fantastic with some honey or jam and homemade granola!

    [Reply]

  4. Lori

    09/09/2011

    What kind of starter did you use. I mean what brand.. organic,not.. I wasn’t sure what to do?

    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Lori, I just use whatever is on sale at the store — or whatever option is the cheapest! The main thing you have to watch for is that it is PLAIN yogurt {not vanilla} and that it is FULL FAT {not light, fat free, etc}.
    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

    Shelly Reply:

    My personal favorite starter is Dannon’s Plain yogurt (not nonfat). It’s simply milk and starter – no pectin or any other additives.

    [Reply]

    Shelly Reply:

    And by “starter,” I meant the yogurt bacteria – acidophilus. :)

    [Reply]

  5. Crock Pot Inspiration

    10/31/2011

    [...] Homemade Yogurt from Simple Organized Living [...]

  6. Tasha

    01/19/2012

    Just found this via pinterest and I am so excited! My kids love yogurt, but I hate all the sugar. Now I can give them a truly healthy yogurt snack!

    [Reply]

  7. Jessica

    01/20/2012

    My question is for when you strain it to get greek style yogurt are you leaving it in the fridge to strain for a few hourse, or just out on the counter? I wasnt understanding how long I should do this for and didnt want to try it and ruin a whole batch. Going to try making this this weekend!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Jessica, it would probably be fine out on the counter, but if you don’t want to worry about it, just do it in the fridge. And you can let it strain for as long as you like. The longer it strains the thicker it will get!

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    Hi there! I use this recipe a lot and just wanted to mention, if you drain too long, you can stir some of the whey back in to make it exactly the consistency you like! I use a Colander lined with coffee filters over the same crock I made the yogurt in and put it in the fridge overnight. I’ve also heard (but haven’t tried it) that you shouldn’t throw away the whey, but use it to cook veggies, in smoothies, etc. because it’s good for you (lots of protien). I have used other % milks, and it still works, just not as creamy (a little runnier).

    [Reply]

  8. All geared up for another productive week! «

    01/30/2012

    [...] Try making homemade yogurt! I am wicked excited about trying this. Yogurt with honey and/or granola is by far one of my favorite breakfasts and anything that I can make at home becomes 100% more awesome. http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2010/07/07/homemade-yogurt/ [...]

  9. Anna

    03/19/2012

    Can this be frozen? I go on and off yoghurt. Sometimes, I’ll eat it for weeks, and sometimes I just don’t want it at all.

    [Reply]

  10. Wendy

    04/03/2012

    Which brand of milk do you buy that is not ultra-pasteurized? Thank you for such a seemingly simple recipe ~ looking forward to trying it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t have a particular brand, but I do often have to get the milk from a local health food store in town.

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    Thank you… will look at one of those stores. I looked at my regular grocery store and had no luck. Thank you for your terrific site!!

    [Reply]

  11. Grace

    04/22/2012

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this last week and for my first time I think I did OK!! Next time I need to start much earlier! I will also let it sit for only 6 hours because it had quite a tangy taste. I did add a little sugar when I served it but I figured it was way less sugar than store bought yogurt. I used it mostly for smoothies because it was thin. I learned alot and feel great about making yogurt without chemicals.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Grace — glad to hear it went well for you. I think every crock pot must be different (kind of like ovens) so yes, this recipe does take a bit of tweaking… but that also means you have a little wiggle room to alter it for your tastes as well!

    [Reply]

  12. Trish

    04/30/2012

    Made the granola and loved it so I decided to try my hand at the yogurt and is was a dud :( I’m going to try again but I have a question, when you cover the crock pot with your bath towel, do you keep the crock pot lid on? I did, but maybe that is why it never thickened. It had the same consistency as milk after 8 hours. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm… I keep the lid on and then wrap the towel around. The one thing that might have mad the difference was the type of milk you used. It won’t work if you use Ultra-pasteurized milk — which is the kind you buy at the grocery store. You’ll need to go to a health food store or get raw milk from a farmer :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Hi Trish,
    I have a candy thermometer and took the “temperature” of my milk before adding the starter with my second batch. (I read the milk should be between 108 to 112 degrees before adding the starter. )
    The first batch I made, I was juggling a baby and added the starter way too soon and it was completely runny. I reread the recipe and realized my mistake :/
    Amy

    [Reply]

  13. Lynne

    04/11/2013

    I just found your site through Pinterest. Homemade yogurt sounds really nice. I am curious where you found your cute little storage cups? That’s about the size I’d like to store my yogurt in. Thanks so much!

    [Reply]

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