My kids go through phases where they really like yogurt and that starts to get expensive when they don’t eat all of it. So I figured I would make some from scratch. Here’s the kicker, it might seem complicated, but it’s so unbelievably easy. The recipe I followed is below, but apparently my crockpot is much slower than the original author and I had to “speed” things up to get the milk to the right temperature (180 degrees Fahrenheit) and then cooled down (110 degrees Fahrenheit) to add my starter.
Once I added the starter I wrapped the towel around the crockpot and put it in my oven overnight (unheated, with the light on) for a little over 10 hours. I ran out of time, the following morning, to separate it out into containers, so I moved it to the fridge for 6 hours. This actually helped thicken the yogurt too. The recipe resulted in the perfect yogurt. I used organic Stonyfield whole yogurt as my starter and organic whole milk. Now I can just used my own yogurt as a starter, so the cost of the yogurt goes down with making it now.
The following morning (10.5 hours later) I took it out of the oven (I resisted the urge to check it, though the curiosity was killing me).
I then placed it in the fridge, because I had to be somewhere at 10:30, and couldn’t take the time to stir and separate. We got home that afternoon, at 3:30 and I finally got to check it at 4:30pm.
I separated out the yogurt into 6 pint sized wide mouthed mason jars and the remainder I strained. I didn’t have cheesecloth, and apparently this isn’t actually a bad thing, as you need something with a tighter weave to strain it properly. I had a napkin, that had a tight weave, and used that for straining (to make Greek yogurt).
The resulting yogurt is thick and creamy, and sooooooo delicious. I made a strawberry syrup of some previously frozen strawberries (with a tablespoon of sugar and water) and keep that in another mason jar to add to the yogurt. I could’ve easily left the sugar out, as the strawberries were pretty sweet themselves).
Here are the results of the strained (Greek) yogurt and the yogurt. You can tell that the thickness pretty easily in the image below. I’ve also set aside a tiny mason jar for my next batch, my starter.
The recipe, for the yogurt above, came from Granny Miller here and it literally walks you through all the steps. I searched Pinterest, and the web, to confirm the recipe and steps, and it seemed like many recipes call for much more yogurt and I felt her descriptions (and process) to be much better (especially with only using 2 tablespoons of yogurt, don’t want to overcrowd the milk, as the bacteria need space to grow/culture).
Since making this I’ve reduced 3 more jars down to Greek yogurt. One 1-pint jar reduces to about half, after 2.5-3 hours of straining. I’ve read that the whey, the liquid that separates from the yogurt, can be used in cooking (so I’m reading up on that now) and have saved one 1-pint jar to test it out.