I’ve been experimenting with yogurt making again. This time, I wanted to make greek yogurt. I found out it was pretty easy.
The hardest part for me in yogurt making is incubating it. My oven doesn’t have a pilot light that emits enough heat, and just wrapping it doesn’t seem to work. I even bought a yogurt maker a few years ago (it’s been lying around unused for a while). This round, I put the yogurt maker head to head with the crock pot. Both did pretty well, but the yogurt maker requires one particular pot (a small one). Whereas the crock pot can handle an entire gallon of milk. Winner? Maybe. One small problem: I realized that my crock pot was making yogurt cheese at the bottom (it’s getting too hot). So this time around, I shut the crock pot off part way–after about an hour, and put a towel around it. And it worked. Another thing I’d like to try is a dimmer switch i read about (i’ll let you know if I try it and it works).
- 1 Gallon of whole milk (you could do less, but if you are going through the trouble, you might as well make a full batch). you can use whatever % you like, we’re currently experimenting with drinking whole milk so that’s what we’re using
- 1 cup of yogurt (as a starter). Make sure this yogurt has live active cultures, or you can use a cup from your previous batch. You might not need this much starter, but it worked pretty well when I did it so I’ve been continuing to use this
- a large pot
- a thermometer
- crock pot
- a towel or cheese cloth
- a strainer
1. Bring your milk up to 190 degrees. I do this on the stove in a heavy cast iron pan, on medium, stirring periodically. You could do this in a crock pot, but it will take an hour or so. Once you start seeing bubbles, check the temperature.
2. Let it cool down to 110 degrees. You can put it in the fridge, or try ice cubes. Or just wait around. Check the temperature periodically. Yogurt is pesky like that.
3. When it hits 110 (or 100-110 degrees), add in your starter. Gently mix it in–it doesn’t need to be fully incorporated.
4. Pour the whole batch into the crock pot. Put it onto the “warm” setting. periodically check the temp and then turn it off after about an hour. put a towel around the top (keeps the heat in). Go to bed.
5. In the morning, when the yogurt is set, set up your straining system. You could just put your strainer in a sink, but you’d lose all the whey. I use a large rubbermaid flat round bowl at the bottom. I put a little container inside it and balance my strainer on top of that (essentially you want space between the container and the strainer bottom).
6. Put a cheesecloth or a tea towel inside the strainer. Pour the yogurt in. Let it strain for at least an hour. Experiment with the straining time you like–2 hours seems to be just thick enough. On a few batches, I’ve moved the strainer to the fridge after the first hour and left it there until i’ve come home from work…that gets really, really thick. think cream cheese or butter.
My new favorite breakfast is yogurt, a few berries, a spoon of cashew or peanut butter, and and a few pecans. It keeps me full all morning. And is a great balance of fat, carbs, and protein.