Yogurt in a crockpot?! I thought it was crazy at first too, until I tried it! It has worked for me every time and I have made half gallon and gallon batches. The yogurt turns out super creamy and delicious.
Here is my tutorial!
1. Choose a good quality milk! I mean, if you are going through the effort, you owe yourself that much. I have been trying to purchase organic, grass fed cow milk (whole milk makes the thickest creamiest yogurt, but 2% works fine as well).
2. Make sure you have a starter. You can use any yogurt as your starter and you only need about a 1/2 cup to make a gallon of yogurt. I’ve used 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt (best if it has live active cultures), and I’ve also used leftovers from the week before’s batch as my starter. You can probably get away with less than a 1/2 cup of yogurt, but that is what I have used for both the gallon and half gallon batches.
3. Add your milk to the clean crockpot and heat on high until it gets to 180 F. I have been using a meat thermometer to test the temperature. It generally takes close to 2 hours to get to temperature, but every crockpot will be different. Also, the time will depend on the size batch you are making.
4. When your milk hits temperature, remove the bowl from the crockpot and place on cooling rack to allow it to cool to 120F. I also remove the lid and cover with a paper towel. I keep the crockpot on warm, while it is empty, so that when you put the bowl back in it remains warmer longer. The cooling process generally takes around 2 hours. Often, when the milk cools, a layer forms on top of the milk. This layer I easily remove with a fork before moving onto the next step.
5. Once the milk is cooled to 120F remove 1 cup of milk and mix with 1/2 cup of yogurt in a separate bowl until it again returns to the consistency of milk.
6. Add the milk/yogurt mixture into the crockpot bowl and stir thoroughly.
7. Place the bowl back into the crockpot, turn off and unplug the crockpot, return the lid back onto the crockpot, and wrap in a towel to try to keep as much heat in as possible.
8. Let the toweled crockpot sit for 8-10 hours. You can let it sit longer, but the longer it goes the more tart it gets. However, the longer the goes the more good bacteria the yogurt will contain! I generally start the milk heating process around 5pm, it is wrapped in a towel by 9 or 10 pm, and I retrieve the yogurt at 6am the next morning. Do what works with your schedule.
9. Yogurt! Yes you now have yogurt, but package it up and store it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before eating. That is unless you like warm yogurt The first time I made the yogurt, I was convinced it was still milk. In the picture below you can see how it doesn’t look any different from when we started!
10. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup as a starter for your next batch. I have been storing yogurt in old store bought plastic yogurt containers and also in sterilized mason jars. I have not had any problems with the yogurt going bad, and I keep it refrigerated for 7-10 days.
Greek Yogurt Info! If you want to proceed and make greek yogurt, it is only an extra few steps.
Greek Yogurt Essentials:
Freshly made yogurt
1. Line a strainer with coffee filters and place strainer over bowl.
2. Allow for the liquid to strain out of the yogurt. Leave it in your fridge over night or while at work during the day during this step. 8-10 hours should be enough time.
3. Scoop out your greek yogurt and transfer to containers and refrigerate.
Now go make some yogurt!