Homemade Organic Yogurt First Try Success!

I have been wanting to make yogurt for as long as I can remember! My mom used to make it when we lived on our farm in Knightsen, Contra Costa County, California.

She used an electric appliance that looked like a set of capsules.  I found this one on ebay – I think this is the one! 

Anyone remember those? 

But I wanted to make yogurt without having to buy any new gadgets. I am tired of new gadgets and am trying to simplify. 


I have read quite a few blog posts about making homemade yogurt: In the oven, in a crock pot, with a heating pad. The crock pot method seemed to be the easiest one to try, so I gave it a go last night.


Here is the blog post I followed. It’s by Nick over at Macheesmo.


The first exciting thing I discovered was that my slow cooker has a temperature probe that displays the current and/or desired temp! What? Who knew? I was wondering what that probe thingy in the junk drawer belonged to. So I downloaded the manual and figured out how to take advantage of that, because:

The most important thing about making homemade yogurt is THE TEMPERATURE. 



It almost goes without saying that everything you used must be sterilized/clean, including your crock pot and all utensils.

The reason why the crockpot is such a perfect tool for yogurt making is because it’s really important to keep the yogurt at a pretty narrow temperature range while it’s doing its thing. I’ve tried a few different ways, but this one definitely produced the best results. –Macheesmo

Here’s my list of ingredients and kitchen equipment:

  • 1/2 cup organic whole milk yogurt with live active cultures
  • 1/2 gallon whole organic milk (it was a tad under 1/2 gallon)
  • Crock Pot
  • Temperature probe
  • Large towel / blanket
  • Colander
  • Unbleached cheesecloth
  • Bowls, jars, measuring cups, etc.

Step 1: Heat the milk to 180° F slowly. As mentioned, I was able to set it on Low and have it beep when it reached my desired temperature. You do not want the milk to boil or you will have to start over. 



Step 2: After the milk reached 180° I reduced it to 110° by letting the crock pot cool down. Bummer noted: The crock pot would not let me set it to anything below 140°, so I had to keep checking the temp with a thermometer. 



Step 3: Take 1 cup of the heated milk and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt  and mix together in a bowl. Return mixture to rest of milk and stir completely. Make sure the temperature is still between 110° and 120° – this is the trickiest part of the process: Maintaining the temperature between that range. 

My crockpot is really well insulated which definitely helped, but what I did was layer on a large beach towel, folded over a few times to the top of the crockpot. –Macheesmo

Once your crock pot is within that ideal range, turn it off and cover it completely to insulate it and keep it warm. I found that my crackpot was not already well-insulated, so I wrapped it with towel  & wool blanket. I set my timer for 3 hours and went in to check the temperature. I wrapped it up again and left it to the morning. 



Side note: Ever have saga dreams? The ones that never end and keep going and going. I dreamed I was in someone’s home that didn’t really want me there, and I was making yogurt in her kitchen… She was looking at me like “What are you doing?” LOL.


I awoke the next morning and first thing… made a cup of coffee. Come on! Priorities man! Seriously, I was definitely apprehensive about checking the status of my bacterial concoction, especially when I turned it on and found the temperature to be 82°. What did this mean?!



However, despite my misgivings, and despite all the Internet horror stories of first time homemade yogurt making, the bacteria prevailed! I indeed made yogurt! Real yogurt. Tasty yogurt! 

{Insert happy dance here!}



The next step was mentioned as optional in Macheesmo‘s post, but the yogurt I made was a bit to watery for me, so I got my cheesecloth and colander out and let it drip for about an hour. 

Now, the fresh yogurt will have some liquid on top. That’s okay. You can try to scoop out any large liquid pools and then stir the yogurt to combine everything well.. –Macheesmo

So, out of 2 quarts milk and 1/2 cup of yogurt, I got 3 1/2 cups yogurt and about 2 cups of whey (For what to do with whey, I am  researching this at www.thekitchn.com/good-question-51-84375). 



Now to get this all down to a science so it feels like second nature and not like a babysitting job :)

Breakfast time! Organic local raw honey & organic blueberries



Oh! Would you like to know how it tastes? Two words:

Yogurt Heaven

Best yogurt ever. I could have eaten it plain. 

Don’t forget to read Macheesmo’s blog if you are going to try making yogurt. I followed it step by step and had real success! Plus, he answers a lot of questions that might come up during the process.


Enjoy! I mean it!


-Anya

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Homemade Organic Yogurt First Try Success!

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