I love making homemade recipes. I am excited I now know how to make yogurt in a slow cooker. My slow cooker now has a new name my yogurt maker. Yes, you heard me right, my yogurt maker. I bet you didn’t know you could use a slow cooker to make wonderful yogurt. If you have seen Alton Brown from the food network, there is no need to buy one kitchen device that only does one thing. My slow cooker is the most amazing device in my kitchen right now and it is the most used kitchen item I have.
I am now on a quest to buy more organic food for my family and still stay within a $70 a week spending budget. I saw a website on how to make yogurt in a slow cooker and I thought I would try it out. After following the instructions I found there were a few small steps missing to make perfect yogurt every time. I can’t wait to share these tips with you, so you will know how to make homemade yogurt. I am really into science and this is like doing my own tasty science experiments.
The science behind making homemade yogurt:
Yogurt is made by the fermentation of special bacteria in milk. Lactose is fermented by these special bacteria to produce lactic acid to give yogurt its texture and taste.
I like to make a half gallon at a time. I know that sounds like a lot of yogurt, but with five of us this goes really fast. When I am finished there is about a cup per person, since I will also show you how to make Greek yogurt in this awesome post.
If you learn better by viewing you can watch my first YouTube video on homemade yogurt
How to make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker:
1. Measure out 8 cups or 1/2 gallon of milk and pour into the slow cooker.
2. Then heat the milk in the slow cooker on high for about 2 1/2 hours or a little longer. It really depends on your slow cooker. With a candy thermometer or digital thermometer check the milk to see if it is between 175 – 180 degrees. This heating process is to kill any other bacteria that may be in the milk and denature the milk proteins to set together instead of making curds. This would result in lumpy yogurt. Blech
2. Once the milk is at 175 – 180 degrees allow to cool to between 115 – 100 degrees. This is the perfect temperature for the yogurt bacteria to grow quickly.
3. When the milk has cooled add 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of yogurt to the warm milk in the slow cooker. Whisk it around to make the yogurt really well incorporated into the milk and get rid of the yogurt lumps. Secret tip: Turn on the oven to the lowest setting just to warm it up then turn it off.
4. While you are stirring in the yogurt, Secret tip: turn the slow cooker back on high just until the outside is warm to hot to the touch then turn it off and unplug the slow cooker. Now turn off the oven.
5. Wrap the entire pot with lid and warming part, yes the entire slow cooker in two towels. This keeps the heat in the slow cooker longer to provide the best growth for the good bacteria in yogurt.
6. Put the slow cooker wrapped in towels in your oven for 8 to 12 hours. You may need to remove a rack in your oven. I leave the towel wrapped slow cooker in for 8 to 12 hours and it turns out great every time.
7. After 8 – 12 hours take whole thing out of the oven and unwrap. Open up the slow cooker to find the best homemade yogurt you have ever made. Once you take the pot out of the slow cooker, if the bottom is still a little warm, you know you have homemade yogurt. That is how to make yogurt in a slow cooker. Take a whisk and whisk to get out the lumps in the yogurt. This is a little thin for my taste, since I like Greek yogurt.
How to Make Greek Yogurt:
8. Now you know how to make yogurt. Let’s make Greek yogurt. Place a coffee filter or cheese cloth to line a large colander. Pour all the yogurt in the lined colander and place in a large bowl to strain. Let sit for about 30 min. After about 15 min stir to get the larger curds off the bottom. This will allow for a thicker Greek yogurt.
9. Take out a 1/2 Cup and two tablespoons and save this for your starter next week. I have a special container labeled STARTER YOGURT DO NOT EAT in my fridge. This keeps my starter until the next time I need to use it.
10. The yellow stuff in the bowl that has drained is whey. So you have curds and whey! The whey can be throw out or you can save it. If you read my blog you know I don’t throw anything away. I will share how to use whey I will share in future posts.
After straining the yogurt this makes about 5 cups of Greek yogurt and 3 cups of whey. The first time I made yogurt I got really thick milk. You can still use this for smoothies instead of throwing it out. I don’t think it set long enough, so I increased my time to 12 hours. I haven’t had a batch fail since.
I got these cute little containers at Ikea. They hold about 6 oz just the same size as the cups of yogurt at the store. I make individual little cups of flavors I can’t buy at the store. Tomorrow I will share a list of yogurt recipes and flavors you can’t buy. I usually make about eight cups at a time this should get us through a couple of days. Now you know how to make yogurt, give it a try and let me know how it turns out.
Other homemade recipes you may like to try:
Homemade butter (using a stand mixer)