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Homemade Yogurt… In the Crock-Pot!

August 5, 2010

Laura’s Blog Entry

Yes, it’s offical! I am now an urban homesteader! All you have to do is make your own yogurt and BOOM! You’ve been initiated!

Actually I have no idea what the criteria is to be considered an urban homesteader. I just like to pick up lingo on the internet and then use it like I know what I am talking about.

Anyhoo… yogurt. Or yougurt as the Brits like to say. Personally I think it needs an extra “u”. I ran across this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking, a site I’ve mentioned before. If you want to make something in your Crock-Pot, you’ll probably find how to do it there.

Why make your own yogurt? First of all, the cost savings is tremendous. Especially if you usually buy high-end yogurt. For the cost of milk and sweetener (and any other things you want to add) you have a seven to ten day supply. Second, I am watching the sugars we ingest and this lets me control what kind and how much sweetener I use.

Here are my thoughts on the process:

It takes quite a long time. It doesn’t need constant attention, but you do have to be there at specific points. I looked at the entire process and came up with this schedule…

4:30 PM    Start the milk in the Crock-Pot
7:00 PM    Unplug the Crock-Pot
10:00 PM    Add starter and gelatin and wrap with towel
6:00 AM    Done!

I used 2% milk, since we can’t have all the fat in whole milk. That requires the addition of gelatin for thickening. Don’t know if there is a vegetarian option out there for thickeners. Anyone know? I used a 1/2 gallon of milk, as the recipe calls for, but this may be too much yogurt for us. I may try a half batch next time. Oh, note that you can’t use ultra-pasteurized milk. Which is too bad because the only organic milk we can get is ultra-pasteurized. Oh well. You can’t win ‘em all.

The final product is thinner than store-bought yogurt. It is very tangy. I wish I could eat it! Supposedly you can do this with soy… I may try that at some point as well.

I added a good bit of agave syrup to sweeten. Neil and I decided this was too expensive, so he got some all-fruit spread to stir in. Quicker than cutting up fruit.

One more tip – I put the finished yogurt into three two-cup plastic tubs. Then I stuck on a label with the expiration date of ten days in the future. That way we’ll have an idea of how long it lasts.

All in all, a successful experiment. I will definitely do this again.

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