I’m one of those weirdos who make yogurt.
At first, I was just interested in making yogurt with less added sugar than the supermarket brands, as yogurt is my kids’ principal food group. Later, I liked how the yogurt I make at home costs half the price of the same quantity of store-bought yogurt.
Then, a few months ago, I started straining the yogurt to make Greek yogurt.
I think I’ve died and gone to dairy product heaven. Maing Greek yogurt is much more time-consuming than making “regular” yogurt (hence the drastic difference in price at the grocery store). But it is so worth it. I’m never going back.
The seven-year-old even requested the plain, unsweetened, homeade, Greek yogurt over mango-flavored Yoplait tonight!
A few years ago, I wrote my yogurt recipe in a long-winded post. Here’s an easier-to-read version (plus Greek variation):
Homeade Greek Yogurt
(Measurements based on a 2-qt. crock pot. If you have a bigger crock pot, just add more milk to make more yogurt.)
|Nothing against Alpura–it’s great to drink! However, any milk that has been ultrapasteurized will not make yogurt. That’s true for ANYTHING that is packaged in a Tetrapak.|
- 7 cups of milk (NOT ultrapasteurized, but pasteurized is just fine.)
- A few tablespoons of already-made yogurt.
- Thermometer (I prefer a meat thermometer, as it lets me read the temperature when the milk is cooling better than a candy thermometer.)
- 2 quart saucepan (or larger, if your crockpot is larger and want use more than 2 quarts´ worth of milk. I would, if I had a bigger crockpot.)
- a pitcher or bowl
- cheesecloth or colanders fine enough to strain the pulp from juice (I recommend 2)
|This milk is found in the refrigerated section, clearly labeled “pasteurized”. This will work for making yogurt (and cheese). Stay away from the ultrapasteurized stuff if your intention is to make cultured dairy products!|
Keep in mind the basic concept in making yogurt: the point is to get the milk warm enough to get the active bacteria to multiply, but not so hot to kill them off. A thermometer is a really, really good idea. However, people have been making yogurt for thousands of years without the use of thermometers. So, it’s possible to do it without a thermometer, but I’m guessing that it would be very tricky without years of experience.
- Plug in an empty crock pot. Cover it and turn it on.
- Add 7 cups of milk to a 2-quart saucepan. Turn the stove on to high heat, and heat the milk until just before it boils. (Or 190 degrees Fahrenheit.)
- Turn off the heat, and whisk the milk to cool it until the temperature drops to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. (Setting the saucepan in a cool water bath helps speed things along a little.)
- Whisk the single-serving container of already-made yogurt into the 110-degree milk.
- Pour the milk into the crock pot and keep it turned OFF. Cover it and leave it alone for 8-12 hours.
- After 12 hours, the milk will have magically transformed into yogurt. Or, for the muggles out there, the bacteria in the yogurt will have sufficiently digested the milk, converting it into yogurt. At this point, the yogurt can be eaten, but it tastes much better sweetened. I like to use 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. However, if you want unsweetened, Greek yogurt, don´t add honey or any sweetner yet!
- For Greek yogurt, attach the cheesecloth to an empty pitcher or bowl (either with a rubber band or letting it rest in a colander or strainer). Add as much of the yogurt as the cheesecloth can hold (hence, it´s handy to use with a strainer, as it can stand more weight). Let the whey drain out of the yogurt for about a half hour. Then, transfer the strained yogurt to a storage container, and strain more of the yogurt. (Continue this process until all of the yogurt is strained.)
|This is all the whey after it was strained out.|
- While the straining process is a bit tedious, it’s so worth it. Straining the whey out of the yogurt makes the yogurt much more palatable, so even my kids don’t flinch at eating it unsweetened. Plus, it has much more protein than regular yogurt (basically because it is more concentrated). All other things considered, it just tastes worlds better.
- If, after 12 hours, the yogurt still hasn´t thickened, move the covered crockpot into an oven and leave it there with the oven light turned on for 6-8 hours more.