Select the "Table of Contents" tab above for the complete list of recipes. Alternately, select a "Category" tab below, or use the "Index" in the left column to search by ingredient. *WP* in the title indicates the recipe is from our Weight Management Plan. Main Dishes average 300-350 calories & Desserts average 100-150 calories.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Homemade Greek Style Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

I had always heard it was easy to make yogurt, and you can find all sort of kitchen gadgets to help you make perfect yogurt. Guess what, you don't need anything but your crock pot/slow cooker and the basic tools you already have in your kitchen. My first attempt was a total success and I'm sure you can do it too, by following these easy instructions. Once you taste this stuff you'll never want the store-bought kind again.

The tools and ingredients you’ll need:
  • First you need a Crock Pot, or Slow Cooker. I have a small 4 quart slow cooker, so I only used 3 quarts of milk to make this recipe. The same procedure will work with 3 liters of milk.
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Heavy beach towel
  • Colander
  • Cheese cloth, large dinner napkin, or large handkerchief
  • 3 quarts of whole milk, or reduced fat milk 2%
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt at room temperature, either from previous batch or store-­bought. (**The yogurt must have live cultures in it to work.)
  • Pour the milk into a slow cooker set to HIGH and close the lid. It will take 2 to ­3 hours for the temperature of the milk to reach 180°F. Check it with an instant ­read thermometer, and when it reaches 180°F, turn the slow cooker off, close the lid, and let the milk cool down to between 110° and 115°. This could take another 2­ to 3 hours, so be patient. Once the temperature drops between 110° and 115°F, scoop out about a cup of warm milk and mix it with the plain yogurt you have at room temperature.
  • Gently, but thoroughly, stir the mixture back into the milk in the slow cooker using left and right motion.
  • Place the lid back on the slow cooker.
  • Wrap the slow cooker with a large beach towel and let it sit undisturbed in a non-­drafty place at room temperature for 10 to ­12 hours, or overnight. The milk will have thickened and the whey will have started separating from the milk.
  • Line a colander with a cheesecloth, napkin, or handkerchief, and set the colander over a large glass bowl. I used a large dinner napkin and it made the perfect strainer for thick yogurt.
  • Now, pour the yogurt into the lined colander and let it strain at room temperature for several hours. The longer you strain it, the thicker the yogurt will become. I strained mine for 4 hours and it yielded 5 cups of perfect Greek style yogurt, and 7 cups of whey. I discarded the whey, but it could be used in other recipes.
  • Refrigerate the yogurt in an air tight glass jar or bowl for up to 2 weeks.
  • Be sure and save ½ to ¾ cup of natural yogurt from this batch before you add any flavoring. This way you’ll have your own starter culture, and can make it again in a week, or two.
Flavor your yogurt with whatever you like: vanilla, cinnamon, honey, nuts, fruits, sweeteners, etc.

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in the title indicates this is part of our "Weight Management Plan". Main Dishes average 300-350 calories. Desserts average 100-150 calories. Someday, I may get around to updating all the recipes to include the Nutritional Information. Don't hold your breath...
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