Waste Not Want Not

Discovering ways to re-purpose discards, making items from scratch and being self-sufficient.


CROCK POT GREEK YOGURT

I found a really neat recipe for making your own Greek yogurt in your trusty crock pot.  There are several steps to the technique and I recommend making it when you have time on your hands and in your kitchen.  In other words, make it when you’re not preparing meals.

I wanted to see the cost difference and if it was worth the time and effort.  I checked the price of Oikos Greek yogurt in my area and it sells for approximately $5.85 for 16 ounces.  A serving is half a cup and comes to $1.46 per serving. I can make this recipe for approximately $.50 per serving. It really doesn’t matter the brand of yogurt you use for your starter in this recipe.  Use a less expensive brand of plain yogurt to cut costs.  Store brand milk will also add to the savings in this recipe.

I’ve read that the milk you use can make a big difference in the consistency of your finished product.  Whole milk seems to be the preferred product for a thicker, creamer yogurt.  I’m not a big fan of low fat milk in the first place, so whole milk would be my choice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups (half-gallon) of whole, 1%, 2% or skim Pasteurized Milk. Do NOT use ultra-pasteurized
  • 1/2 cup store-bought natural plain yogurt. (Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter.

PROCESS:

  •  Add a half gallon of milk to crock pot and cover.
  •  Cook on LOW for approximately 2 1/2 hours.
  • Using a candy thermometer, check the temperature of the milk. When the milk has reached 180 degrees, unplug the crock pot, remove the cover, and let it sit for another hour or so. You are waiting for the milk to come down in temperature to between 105 and 110 degrees.
  •  When the milk has reached that temp, scoop out 1 to 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought yogurt. Then pour the mixture back into the crock pot. Whisk to combine.
  • Put the lid back on your crock pot, wrap a heavy bath towel around the crock for insulation, and place in the oven with the oven light ON. Leave the yogurt undisturbed for 7 or 8 hours, or overnight.
  • In the morning, carefully take the crock out, unwrap it and remove the lid, and check to see whether the milk has turned to yogurt.  (If your batch isn’t quite thickened, return it to the oven and check on it again in an hour.)
  • Refrigerate the yogurt for at least three hours to allow it to completely cool and thicken.
  • Line a large strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth and put inside a bowl.
  • Pour the yogurt in; refrigerate for one hour.
  • For the frugal, save the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl, this is the whey. Return the bowl to the refrigerator for one
  • more hour, strain the liquid again. The whey can be used for making ricotta cheese, butter and other useful things.  Otherwise you can pour it out.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of finished plain yogurt for your next batch.
  • If you wish to sweeten or flavor the yogurt you can add sweetener, honey, vanilla or other flavorings to taste.  I don’t recommend adding fruit directly into the yogurt.

Store your yogurt in a covered jar or plastic container in the refrigerator.  Use it within ten days to two weeks.  I use canning jars for most homemade things I’m going to refrigerate and 1/2 pint jars provide two servings.

DON’T FORGET, save 1/2 cup of your yogurt as starter for your next batch!

Next post I’m covering uses and recipes for using the whey. It’s too useful to pour down the drain.

Until next time!