A little over a week ago, I conducted my first yogurty experience and called it a success. After this weekend’s adventure, I call that one a complete flop, and this one… perfection. This method requires much more baby-sitting than the last, but I think I could make it work on a weekday evening, making the whole process about 24 hrs long.
Make sure you hover over the photos for alt-text!
- 2.5 tablespoons of plain yogurt (read the label! make sure it has LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES in the ingredients and no extra flavoring/ingredients)
- 1/2 gallon of pasteurized (not ULTRA-pasturized) whole milk
- Stock pot or a pot that can easily hold 1/2 gallon of liquid
- Crock pot with removable insert
- Candy thermometer (or a thermometer that can measure at least 100F to over 180F, since 180-185 is our max)
- Bath towels
- Water, refrigerator, sink with cool water, oven with working light
1. Fill crock pot with water and put it on the low or warm setting, if you have it. This is just to keep the liner warm.
2. Fill stock pot with 1/2 gallon of whole pasteurized milk, and put it over medium-low heat. If you keep the heat low, it doesn’t need stirring (to avoid burning the bottom).
3. Slowly warm the milk to 180F, watching your candy thermometer. I set my timer to 10 min increments and it took at least/about 50 minutes.
4. Once you reach max heat, remove the pot from heat and put it in the sink. I put it right over the drain and ran cold water behind the pot, to fill the sink (or, if you’re fancy, you could use a drain plug). It did not take long, maybe 15 minutes at most, to cool to 110F.
4.a. When the milk is cooling, put your oven on Warm.
5. As soon as it gets to 110F, start dashing around the kitchen like a mad-person. Shut off the sink water, remove the thermometer, dump the water out of your crock pot liner, skim the milk skin off (ew, get as much as possible, otherwise it’ll end up in the yogurt and it’s all rubbery and weird) and pour the milk into the warm liner. Take a cup or two of the heated-then-cooled milk out and whisk in your starter yogurt (the 2 1/2 tablespoons set aside from the last batch or any plain yogurt from the grocery store – I used Chobani), then whisk all that back into the milk.
6. Turn the oven off, but turn the light on, put your crock pot liner in the oven with towels wrapped around it. I used two towels: one for around the sides and one for over the top. I left the oven (heated to around 150F on the Warm setting) open for a few minutes so it wouldn’t heat the milk back up and kill the starter cultures, then left it alone for 13 hours (the longer you wait, the tangier the result, you could leave it in there for up to 24 hrs as far as I know).
7. In the morning/after your decided time has passed, pull your baby out and give it a look!
8. If it seems set and you like the taste/consistency, let it cool for at least a few hours in the fridge and then sort into containers.
9. If you’re going to make more after this (but of COURSE you are!), make sure to set aside 2-3 tablespoons of your yogurt to use as starter for the next batch.