I wrote up and shared a crock pot yogurt tutorial a couple years ago – I have made a whole lot of yogurt since then and tried out just as many techniques in doing so. I have decided that the crock pot method is indeed my favorite. These days I am using fresh, raw milk so I have revised my method slightly and thought I would update you all. It is pretty much the same process except the raw milk is not heated to a high temp then cooled.
Raw Milk*Crock Pot Yogurt – makes 1 quart
- 8 cups raw, whole milk
- 1/4-1/2 cup starter yogurt (I use the last bit of yogurt from my previous batch but store bought, plain yogurt with live cultures will work.)
- a towel or blanket to wrap the crock pot
First, prepare for incubating your yogurt by warming your crock pot on low with the lid on and turn the oven light on. Next, gently warm the milk in a heavy bottomed pot over med-low heat until it reaches 100-110 degrees. Keep a close eye on it as this step will not take long and if you over-heat the milk you will get grainy, separated yogurt. Remove from heat and whisk in the starter yogurt. Then pour the mixture into the warmed crock, replace the lid and wrap it in a towel or blanket (yes, that is my crock pot in the photo below hanging out in a felted wool sweater vest). Work quickly as you want to retain as much heat as possible. Place in the oven and let it hang out for 8-10 hours and work it’s magic. If you have helpful family members who like to turn off lights you might want to make a little sign like I did.
Once the incubation time is over you should have yogurt! It will be thin, this is one of the characteristics of raw milk yogurt. You can experiment with adding powdered milk, gelatin or even cream when you add the starter yogurt to make it thicker. I simply strain mine – I line a colander with cheesecloth, place it over a bowl, pour the yogurt in and cover with a plate. I let this set up hang out in my fridge for several hours then I have nice thick yogurt! You will end up with lots of whey if you strain your yogurt – here are a few ideas to use it up. You can also flavor your yogurt when you whisk in the starter yogurt but I prefer to leave it plain and flavor it when serving. Our favorite way to eat homemade yogurt is with blueberry-lemon jam from the pantry (I will share that recipe soon, it’s a good one!)
I make yogurt in the morning and let it incubate in the oven all day, then put it in the strainer and let it strain over night. Or you can let the yogurt incubate all night while you sleep and then strain it all day. It is a lengthy process overall but really requires very little work on your part. Lazy homemade, my very favorite thing, folks!