Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crock Pot Yogurt!

I saw this recipe at Crockpot Recipe Exchange and had to try it.  I love low fat Greek yogurt, but at a buck for a tiny tub, it's expensive.  I also use plain yogurt as a swap for sour cream in cooking and it's almost impossible to find in recipe quantities. So, after seeing the recipe, I thought I'll make a half recipe of yogurt, use some of it for cooking and smoothies and drain the rest to eat for lunch or healthy snacking.  Sounded like a plan to me!

I bought a half gallon of 1% milk and poured 4 cups of it into my small (3-4 quart) crock pot.  I set it to High and set the timer for 2 1/2 hours.  Once that was done, I turned the cooker off and let it sit for 3 hours without opening the lid. 

After 3 hours, the milk had cooled to around 90-110F.  I stirred in 1/4 cup live culture Greek yogurt and 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) dry whole milk powder.  I found that in the Mexican food aisle at Walmart.  It was about $3.50 and it will last a very long time.  I'll use it in my bi-weekly bread making as well. I like that it's in a resealable container.

Then I wrapped the entire crock pot in a large bath towel and left it overnight.  I ended up with a pourable, silky smooth, mildly tart yogurt.
Pourable.  Not as thick as I imagined it would be.  But, perfect for cooking and smoothies! I poured half into a container and stashed it in the refrigerator; the other half I strained for Greek style yogurt. I lined a mesh strainer with a coffee filter, suspended it over a bowl and added the yogurt to the filter.  I covered it with a clean dish towel and put that in the fridge to drain.  A couple hours later:
I had Greek yogurt!  Oh, the things I can make! Tzaziki sauce for homemade gyros and fruit parfaits are the two that jumped to mind.  I scooped some out, added a spoon of jam.  Heaven.  Oh, my.  No graininess like in store bought.  Not overpoweringly sour.  Silky...

A couple hours later, I was notified by my lactose intolerant digestive tract that perhaps next time I should let it culture a little longer so that all the lactose was converted.  My daughter did a little research and concluded that it probably didn't stay within the culturing temperature range long enough.  I wondered if my cold-from-the-fridge yogurt cooled it too much or if the towel didn't maintain the heat.

So, next time, and there WILL be a next time, I'll a)allow my starter to reach room temperature before adding it and b)warm my oven for a few minutes, turn it off and tuck my crock pot insert, still covered, into the warmed oven to culture overnight.  I'll let you know how it goes.

If you are wondering how yogurt fits into The Plan - it counts cup for cup as milk. 


  1. I made crock pot yogurt again and when it was time to wrap it up for the night in a bath towel, I did two kinda crazy things:
    1. I warmed a towel in my dryer, while I preheated my oven to 170F.
    2. I removed the crockery part of the crock pot, wrapped it (with the cover on) in the toasty warm towel and popped it into the TURNED OFF oven.
    You should have seen the look on my husband's face - priceless.
    VERDICT: Better (no complaints from my digestive system), but still not quite thick enough.
    TO CONSIDER: should I try placing it on a heating pad overnight?

  2. I made mine again put in a warmed oven. In the future I will likely put it in a warmed oven and then go and warm my oven again in a few hrs. I'll have to make it during the day of course.


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