I’ve been making my own yogurt for a couple of years now. I tried a few different methods but liked this simple crock-pot method the most, so I am sticking to it.
Making cheese is something that I love to do and would love to learn more about. So far, I’ve been making Feta, farmers cheese, and yogurt and I feel like I’ve pretty much mastered those. The next cheese on my list is mozzarella.
I wish I had raw milk to make my cheese from. Now that we moved out to the country I can see goats in my very near future. We are not there yet, though. There are a few other things to complete first so I thought I’ll shop around for some raw milk.
Here in NC, it’s illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption. You can find it on Craigslist where most seller calls it pet milk or, I also found a farm in the area that sells a glass jug and lists it as optional to fill it with free milk. The thing is… It costs $13 a gallon.
It’s a bit much for me right now, so store-bought milk it is. Hopefully, in the near future, we can milk our own goats.
So I start by adding a gallon of milk to the crock-pot and setting it on high heat. You can use whole milk or any other kind you want. I usually use 2%.
We want the milk to heat to 180F. This takes a couple of hours so you just have to come by once in a while and check the temperature.
Once the milk reached 180F, turn the crock-pot off and let it cool to 120F. Again, this will take a couple of hours. You might want to set a timer so you don’t forget to come check the temperature.
I usually start my yogurt in the morning on a day that I know I am staying home. It will be ready the next morning. Even though it takes a long time, it’s not at all hard work. You just have to remember to come check on the milk so you get the temperatures right.
Once you turned the crock-pot off, go ahead and take out of the fridge a cup of yogurt to warm up to room temperature. This can be a cup of yogurt from your last homemade batch or, if you are making yogurt for the first time, this will be yogurt that you purchased at the store. Make sure you get plain yogurt with live, active cultures in it.
For your fist batch, I recommend you check the organic dairy section of the grocery store. They usually have better yogurt there. Even though it might be a little more expensive, it will ensure you get good yogurt, then you just need to remember to save about a cup of your own yogurt for the next batch.
Once the milk cooled to 120F, add the cup of room-temperature yogurt to the milk and stir it to make sure it mixes well with the milk.
Then, cover your crock pot with its lid and then with a fuzzy blanket. We want to try and keep the milk as close to 120F as possible for the next 12 hours or so.
I usually reach this stage somewhere in the afternoon, if I started in the morning. Then I cover the pot and let it rest on the counter undisturbed overnight.
In the morning, you’ll wake up to a pot of fresh yogurt.
You will see some whey on top, I use a soup ladle to remove as much of it as I can.
Then, I use the same ladle to transfer the yogurt into jars.
One gallon of milk makes 9-pint jars plus a little bit left over. That is a lot of yogurt for less than $3 which is what a gallon of milk cost here.
The yogurt will thicken a little bit more in the fridge. I usually give it a day or so in the fridge before we use it.
I make my own granola which we eat with this yogurt all the time. The kids love it when I add some honey to it or maple or homemade jam. We also love eating it with fresh fruit. I use it in recipes if they call for yogurt and I also use it to make salad dressings or sauces.
This is a simple and very affordable way to make yogurt. I hope you’ll give it a try!