Homemade Yogurt-Crockpot Recipe

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

Coffee filters

Strainer

Bowl

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!

Happy Friday!

Lauren

UnBeliezable Food

As promised, here is a look at the food we ate while in Belize! I am a serious foodie, and when it comes to traveling, food is one of my favorite parts of my trips. We opted to make our own breakfasts during the trip and generally had eggs and toast every morning. The eggs were purchased in market near the resort and were found non refrigerated in a box with egg crates. You could choose how many eggs you wanted, put them in a bag (so not safe), and pay 25 cents per egg. Where did the eggs come from? I noticed an empty chicken coop behind the store and wondered why there weren’t any chickens until I noticed they were just hanging out free roaming nearly on the street. Such an interesting experience to actually see where your food is coming from, although these chickens hanging out by golf cart fumes didn’t really make me overly excited haha. Another thing different from the US was that the cheese could be found unrefrigerated in some stores, and milk was also unrefrigerated! Being on an island most of the food was imported, expensive, super processed and shelf stable. The refrigerators were usually not all that powerful (plus the power goes out a lot!), vegetables are hard to come by, and Marie Sharp makes a hundred different types of hot sauce that everyone on the island uses. A positive difference from that of the US was that the Belizians are super resourceful. One restaurant we went to even used coconut shells as napkin holders.Waste is not really an option, and it really makes you more away of your own personal habits. 

The most common Belizian dish we found was stewed chicken with rice and beans. If we weren’t eating rice and beans, we were eating coleslaw. If we wanted vegetables, we were eating coleslaw. And if we wanted  a side dish for our meal, we were definitely scoring big with coleslaw. I should mention that coleslaw is one of the only veggie dishes I generally refuse to eat (besides ones containing fennel). :) When we got home I loaded up on everything green!

We received a welcome rum punch when we arrived at the resort.

We went to this awesome restaurant, Waraguma, where I got to try pupusas! I am sad I didn’t take a picture of the lady making them at the front of the restaurant, on the street. Most of the restaurants on the street don’t have AC so they don’t really have a door to walk into to enter the restaurant, it is more of a large open wall. I had one pupusa filled with beans cheese and pork, and another pupusa filled with cheese and pumpkin (which ended up being more like squash). Pupusas are made with corn flour and stuffed with cheese and other ingredients. These were served with coleslaw, and a tomato water type sauce that you pour over the pupusas. They were wonderful!

Ryan got a lobster burrito which had so so sooo much lobster and was delicious as well.

For lunch one day we checked out this authentic Belizian restaurant, El Fogon, which ended up having some of the most flavorful food I’ve ever had. These little beauties are salbutes, which are like fried corn tortilla pockets topped with slow cooked shredded chicken, coleslaw, peppers and tomatoes. Amazing!

The other dish we got there was the classic stewed chicken with coleslaw, plantains, coconut rice, and beans. The coconut rice was so awesome, slightly coconutty and cooked perfectly. The chicken was spicy, tender, and so flavorful. I need to figure out what kind of seasonings they use!

Check out where some of the food is cooked!

View from the Palapa Bar.

Rum Punch to go in cute little sippy cups!

We  had some people working at the resort machete open a couple coconuts for us!

The night we went to the chicken drop we had coconut curry with chicken at the restaurant Caliente.

We also couldn’t refuse the bacon wrapped shrimp in mango rum sauce.

Island drinks! A pina colada and a dirty banana was another splurge. We didn’t really drink out much because it was so pricey!

Snacks for the plane included plantain chips which came with a little packet of hot sauce…so good!

Well that’s just a look at the food we had in Belize! Sorry for the long post haha <3

Lauren

Back from Belize

We made it back in one piece! 8 days and 8 planes later we made it back from our amazing honeymoon. It was the first relaxing vacation I think I have ever been on! Here is a short recap on our time spend in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

White sand and the ocean, view from right outside our room.

We snorkeled a ton! Lots of beautiful tropical fish, sting rays, nurse sharks, coral, and even some really cool color changing fish.

Pool at our resort

We spent a day sailing on a catamaran, just us two, rum punch, and the captain. Oh yeah and freshly grilled lobster, fish and veggies were fuel after 2 hours of straight snorkeling at a cool place called Mexico Rocks.

On our adventure to the mainland, we did cave tubing, zip-lining, and visited the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. I loved being able to float on an inner tube down a river through a cave and later swim in the river through the jungle! What an adventure, and it was so beautiful.

The island we stayed on had one main town, San Pedro, and was super small and full of some interesting nightlife. We just had to check out this crazy event called the chicken drop. Basically the chicken drop is a gambling game in which you pay $.50 a square for a number and hope that the chicken poopoos on that number. Haha! It was a lively event in which locals and visitors alike hang out for some socializing, a drink, and live entertainment. On more than  one occasion the chickens would not do their thing, so it was slightly uneventful, but still fun nonetheless.

It was a trip to remember forever! I will post food pictures from the trip later ;)

Have a great week everyone!

Lauren