Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Homemade Yogurt - Take One

I've been meaning to try my hand at homemade yogurt for a while.  I'd hesitated because of the whole "incubation period" thing.  I don't have an electric hot pad or other such device, nor do I wish to shell out money for a yogurt maker.  So when I read about yogurt made in a crockpot, my interest was piqued.

I did a little research, checking out blog posts at Macheesemo, One Good Thing By Jillee and another blog that I cannot for the life of me remember or find again.  #annoyed

Anyway, the basics were all pretty much the same.  And after a little digging and discovering that the step to heat the milk to the 180 degree range can be skipped without risking death (scalding the milk first was primarily done when the milk was used in its raw state, rather than already pasteurized), I was ready to begin.  Well, after my husband came home with more milk.  *Note to self - check your inventory before jumping into a project.

I poured 2L of 1% milk into my crockpot, popped on the lid and set it on low for an hour.  Then I checked the temp every 15 minutes or so after that, until the milk reached about 110F.  I took 1/2C of plain Greek yogurt, mixed it with a little of the warm milk and stirred it all back into the pot.  Then  turned it off, covered it and wrapped the whole thing in a thick bath towel.  And there it sat for about 6 hours.  Once done, I ladled it into a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large measuring cup and left it overnight.

What did I learn?  A few things...

  • Six hours isn't long enough to get a nice, tangy yogurt.  I'll go for eight the next time.
  • Straining it overnight creates something more like cream cheese than Greek yogurt.
  • It's all but impossible to incorporate the whey back into the yogurt once it's gotten that solid.  The texture is like slightly milky cottage cheese.  I may take my stick blender to it. 
Based on all of that, I think I'll invert my timing the next time, making the yogurt before bed and straining it for a couple of hours in the morning.  Over all making it, even with the loss of volume that comes from straining it, seems worth it.  The least expensive Greek yogurt is still about $4 for 500ml.  And if I can get the flavour and texture right, the kids will happily eat it.  The bonus is the whey, which I can use in bread dough, pizza crusts, smoothies, marinades....

Source: macheesmo.com via Mama on Pinterest


  1. Awesome. I tried making yogurt once, when trying the 100-mile diet while still at the paper. It looked like curdled milk and I could bring myself to try it. I pitched it. I was grossed out but I think the problem was not having a good started.

  2. Hi Mama B! I make yogurt but I don't do any straining and it turns out great - I wonder what would happen if you just left it in the crockpot and then stuck it in the fridge...it thickens for me nicely then - but I don't do the crockpot method so am not entirely certain.

  3. I hadn't thought about just putting it straight into the fridge. The kids prefer Greek yogurt, which is why I strain it. But I wonder about going right to the fridge in a pinch. Thanks for the tip!

    Tiffany, I was a little apprehensive, but it really turned out fine. I may try some organic milk the next time, though, just to see if it makes a difference. Wish I could get raw milk.