Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Homemade Yogurt in a Slow-Cooker? Why not!

I’ve never owned a slow-cooker, and I still don’t, but that might have to change. After 45 years of marriage, my sister just got her first one, so I’m looking up recipes she might like to prepare.
This is the Crock-Pot ® model my sister has.
A friend of mine (who asked to remain anonymous) really loves her slow-cooker and offered me her recipe for homemade slow-cooker yogurt. She said the prep time takes only a few minutes, and the machine (mostly) does the rest. You can’t beat that!

Homemade Yogurt: Slow-Cooker Style

½ gallon (8 cups) milk – 1%, 2 % or whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
½ cup plain yogurt (low-fat or regular) with live, active culture – OR - ½ cup starter from a previous batch of yogurt

1. Turn slow cooker to low setting. Add the half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.

2. With the cover still on, turn off the cooker and unplug it. Allow to sit for 3 hours.

Special Notes: Preheat the oven to 200°F (or the lowest setting) just to warm it up - then turn the oven off. Turn the slow-cooker on to the ‘high’ setting just until the outside feels warm to the touch - then turn it off and unplug it. Turn off the oven. These extra steps will help produce a very desirable yogurt.

3. After 3 hours (see step #2), remove 2 cups of the warm milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of commercially prepared (or starter) yogurt. Then add the mixture back into the slow cooker, stirring to combine.

4. Place the lid back on your cooker. Wrap the cooker in a thick towel for insulation. Place it in the warm oven.

5. Allow this to sit for at least 8 hours, or overnight. The yogurt should thicken nicely.

To achieve Greek-style yogurt, line a colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters and place the colander over a bowl. Place the freshly made yogurt (you might have to do this in smaller batches) in the lined colander, place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The whey (milky liquid) will separate leaving a thicker, creamier yogurt.

Don’t discard the whey; save it for smoothies!

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