Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt

I love using my slow cooker! I never would have imagined that I could use it to make yogurt!! My sister and mom have been making this, and after trying it at my parents house, I decided I needed to make it myself. It takes quite a bit of time, but is easy, and totally worth it. Plain Greek yogurt is like a blank canvas. You can turn it into anything! It works in smoothies and even as sour cream. I followed guidelines on The Tasty Cheapskate but I'm posting instructions for exactly how I make it. I have a few notes and pictures of the steps at the bottom. 

Greek Yogurt
1 gallon of 2% milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (store bought, or reserved from previous batch)
Slow Cooker
Thermometer
Flour sack towel or thin, fuzz-free tea towel
Large strainer

1. Pour 1 gallon of milk into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until it reaches 180 degrees. This can take anywhere between 2-4 hours. It takes me just about 3 hours.
2. After milk reaches 180 degrees, remove lid and turn off the slow cooker. Let it sit until the milk cools to 110 degrees. This takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Skim the film off of the top with a fork.
3. Once the milk has reached 110 degrees, scoop the 1/2 cup of plain yogurt into a bowl. Ladle some of the cooled milk into the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the milk mixture back into the the slow cooker and stir it in.
4. Turn on the oven to 170 degrees. Let it heat up for a couple of minutes and then turn it off. Put the lid back on the slow cooker and take the crock out of the base of the slow cooker and place it in the oven. Let it sit for 6-8 hours.
5. After the time has passed, remove the yogurt from the oven. Reserve 1/2 a cup for next batch (if desired) and refrigerate.
6. Spread the towel in the bottom of the strainer. Ladle the yogurt into the strainer and set in the the sink or in a large bowl to drain. Let it drain for 5 hours. Scrape the sides and bottom with a spoon or spatula a couple of times during this step to keep things flowing.
7. Scoop out the yogurt and refrigerate. DONE!

Makes about 5 cups of yogurt and 8 cups of whey.
Lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge.

My Notes:
I start this about 6pm. That has me putting it in the oven at about 11pm and then taking it our for the next step at 7am, and finishing at noon.
I put my strainer on top of an upside down plastic container and set it in a large bowl. You can just leave the strainer in the sink to drain, but make sure no one turns on the water!!
Next time I'm going to try adding vanilla bean.

 Milk heating up.

 180 degrees

 Cooling down with my specially rigged thermometer.

 Into the oven.

Straining

Look at all the whey!

 Either toss this or get creative.

Finished Yogurt

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