Friday, August 2nd, 2013
Making Greek yogurt is as easy as heating up soup in a crock pot – well, almost! If you enjoy DIY cooking projects and love Greek yogurt, this might be for you!
We regularly make 1 1/2 quarts of Greek yogurt using some basic kitchen tools, 2 quarts of milk, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons starter yogurt (our own or store bought Greek yogurt), and 1/2 cup instant non-fat dry milk.
Kitchen tools/equipment needed:
3 quart crock pot
rimmed baking sheet
large beach towel or 2 regular sized towels
non-reactive (wood, plastic, silicone, or stainless steel) spoon, whisk, colander, bowl
strainer cloth: either plastic type for cheese making (plyban available from www.hoeggerfarmyard.com) or unbleached muslin/flour sacking, or even paper coffee filters will do! I much prefer the plyban and feel it’s a good investment ($3.95) if you decide to do much of this. The plyban is reusable and washes easily with dish soap and hot water, hang to dry, folds up like a dish cloth.
1. Measure 8 cups (1/2 gallon) whole milk and pour it into the crock pot. Place thermometer (floating dairy type or any cooking type) so that the milk comes in contact with the probe.
2. Turn the crock pot to high, cover with lid and heat until milk reaches 170-175 degrees F. This usually takes about 2 hours in South Florida, but in cooler regions it could take longer.
3. Turn off heat and let milk cool to 110-115 degrees F (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours). At this point or after about 30 to 45 minutes, remove all but the bottom rack from the oven, turn oven temperature to warm, and place rimmed baking sheet and beach towel in oven to heat.
4. When the milk reaches the desired 110-115 degrees, whisk or stir in the pre-measured yogurt and instant dry milk. The dry milk is optional, but we think it makes a smoother, thicker product. If you live in a cooler climate, turn crock pot to high while whisking in the yogurt starter. This is just for a brief time and the outer wall of the crock pot should get hot to the touch. At this point, turn it off.
5. Replace lid on crock pot. Turn off oven. Remove baking sheet with towel from the oven and wrap the entire crock pot in the towel, place wrapped crock pot on the tray and place all in the oven. Close oven door and wait 8-10 hours or overnight.
6. Remove from oven and check to see if the milk has set up. If it still looks like milk, return the crock pot to the oven and wait another 1 or 2 hours. If after 12 hours, it still looks like milk, something has gone wrong. I’ve made many gallons of yogurt this way and I have not had this happen – yet!
7. When the yogurt is ready, be sure to stir until smooth with a non-reactive (not aluminum or tin) spoon or whisk. This will get out any small lumps. Line colander with your chosen strainer cloth and place colander over a bowl. Pour/spoon yogurt into the lined colander and let yogurt drain for 30 minutes to an hour.
8. Spoon yogurt into jar with tight lid and refrigerate. The whey (liquid left in the bowl) can be used in recipes calling for buttermilk, sour milk, or in fruit smoothies! The yogurt will thicken in the refrigerator. You may wish to save 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of this yogurt as the starter for your next batch. Use this starter within a week or you can purchase a small carton of plain Greek yogurt for this purpose.
The cost of making this Greek yogurt for us is about $2.15. We get 1 1/2 quarts of Greek yogurt plus about 3 cups of whey which we use to make buttermilk biscuits. If we were to purchase these products, we would spend at least $6.00. There is a savings here, but it does take some time. Since we like this yogurt at least as well or better than any we buy, and we eat a lot of it, we feel that it’s a good investment of both time and money.
Happy yogurt making!