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/Soup Pot

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, pressure cooker, or soup pot, 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, Slow Cooker, pressure cooker, or stock pot with lid. I use either my old stove top pressure cooker, or a small 4 quart slow cooker. I can use up to 4 liters of milk in the pressure cooker, or 3 liters of milk in the slow cooker, to make this recipe. The same procedure will work with quarts of milk.
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Heavy beach towel
  • Colander
  • Cheese cloth, large dinner napkin, or large handkerchief
  • 3 or 4 liters 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.)
Instructions:

Method #1 - Stock Pot/Stove Top Pressure Cooker
  • Pour the milk into the pot and place it over medium high heat. Stir the milk frequently to prevent it from scorching on the bottom. 
  • Use the instant read thermometer to watch the temperature and bring it up to 180°F. When it reaches 180°F, remove from the heat and set the pot in a sink full of cold water to let the milk cool down to between 110° and 115°. 
  • 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 pot using left and right motion.
  • Place a snug lid back on pot/pressure cooker. (I like the pressure cooker because of the rubber gasket.)
Method #2 - Slow Cooker 
  • 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 a slow cooker using left and right motion. (Do not turn the slow cooker on)
  • Place the lid back on the slow cooker.
Both Methods - Continued
  • Wrap the pot/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 for several hours. The longer you strain it, the thicker the yogurt will become. I strained mine for 4 hours in the refrigerator, 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. My dogs love a few tablespoon of whey on their food.
  • Refrigerate the yogurt in an airtight glass jar or bowl for up to 2½ 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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*WP*
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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