One of the easiest, tastiest, and most penny-pinching recipes I have up my sleeve is this one for homemade yogurt.
I make it far more often than any single person probably should, but I LOVE IT and use it all the time!
Wait? You mean…yogurt is more than just somethin’ to eat at breakfast?
I use this homemade yogurt recipe to:
- Get tons of whey (which I use in a wide variety of ways)
- Soak grains and flours
- Make frozen treats
- Feed my cat (hey, sometimes)
- Douse my gut in good bacteria
- Strain for Greek yogurt
- and many more things I’ve yet to discover/share with you all.
I’m willing to confess that I make a batch at least ONCE every two weeks, and when things get crazy, sometimes every week. It’s frequent. I’m totally sold on it, and will never go back to buying expensive yogurt at the store.
Depending on your milk source, this recipe can become incredibly cheap. When I was using non-organic milk, I could make 1/2 gallon of yogurt for about $1.50. That price has nearly doubled with organic milk costs, but I’m willing to pay the price for an increase in quality. Plus, I’m sure I’ll find a cheaper source one day!
Homemade Crock Pot Yogurt Recipe
1 Crock Pot
(I use one that holds 1/2 gallon of milk)
1 terrycloth towel (required!)
Storage containers (I use about 1 quart Mason jar and 2 pint ones)
Something to transfer your yogurt into your jars (and maybe even a funnel)
1/2 gallon of milk (I use organic WHOLE milk, and have not tried it with any percentage milks)
1/2 – 1 c. of active yogurt, or 1/2 c. of whey
This recipe requires about 5 minutes of active work, but is quite a process. Strive to start at about 3 in the afternoon so you have ample time for cooling and resting and all that goodness.
1. So, pour 1/2 of your gallon of milk into your Crock Pot. Turn it to high, cover, and let it sit for 2-2.5 hours. Then, turn it off completely, and let it cool for 2.5 – 3 hrs.
2. Once it is cool enough that it is either below 110 degrees Fahrenheit or you can put your pinky finger in it for 10 seconds, you’re ready to add the yogurt. (If it’s too hot, it’ll kill the good bacteria you’re about to add, so be patient!)
*If you’ve never made yogurt before, you’ll need to buy some or get some from a friend. Be sure to find one with ACTIVE CULTURES, or you won’t have yogurt! I used an organic, full-fat, and plain yogurt, and it worked out well for me.*
Want to make a particular type of yogurt? There’s a company for that! Cultures for Health has a wide assortment of yogurt culture starters, including one (called “Villi”), that doesn’t require the initial heating process! Just a thought.
I think I used about 1 cup of the starter yogurt when I made my first batch. With that quantity, you’ll definitely have enough probiotics to make a nice, big batch of yogurt, but you can use less once you get the hang of the process.
Once you’ve made your own yogurt, be sure to save enough of your most recent batch to make the next! If it might be awhile between batches, freeze your 1/2 – 1 c. for later use.
Why do I use less yogurt? Although I do not mind the thinness of this yogurt, I do prefer a yogurt with a little substance to it. A little jiggle, if you will. Many conventional yogurts include thickeners to give us that jiggle we love, whereas my homemade stuff does not.
I find that decreasing the amount of fluid or starter yogurt and increasing the time I allow the probiotics to culture results in a somewhat thicker yogurt. It works for me, but start off slowly until you know what works for you!
3. Okay, back to the recipe. Once your yogurt has cooled down and you’ve mixed in your starter, all you need to do is wrap it in a towel, and let it rest for 9-12 hours in a dark, cool place. I usually use oven, especially if I haven’t been baking that day.
DO NOT EXCLUDE THE TOWEL! I am a lazy, lazy lady, and decided to stick my yogurt in the oven without a towel once. I got a weird, watery, and not very pleasant surprise the next morning. Yes, I ate the whole batch, but I pouted the whole way through it.
Use a terry cloth bath towel, wrap the entire crock, and let it do its thing.
In a pinch, I’ve even used thin jackets (again, the pinch was because I was too lazy to go upstairs), and have placed the wrapped crock under a side table in a cool room. Each of these experiences resulted in good yogurt!
4. Once 9-12 hours have elapsed, portion out your yogurt into jars, pop ‘em in the fridge, and consume!
The probiotics will continue to grow in the fridge, although at a much, much slower pace. I never throw out yogurt (if it even has a chance to get old and questionable), because I know it’s still alive. If it’s alive, it’s good. If it’s moldy….it’s bad.
Neat idea: Store in 8 oz containers with a dollop of homemade jam at the bottom of the jar. You’ll have homemade flavored yogurt you can grab on-the-go!
Use this yogurt in any way you can imagine, from face and hair masks to your morning breakfast. It’s a happy, easy, and versatile recipe.