Perfectly Thick & Creamy Slow-Cooker Homemade Yogurt

Thick & Creamy Slow-Cooker Yogurt - sisterbakers.com

I have a new obsession and it’s homemade yogurt (and my slow-cooker.) For all our readers in Europe and abroad, you guys have a pretty amazing assortment of yogurt, but in the US our selection is fairly abysmal (though it has gotten much much better). Our options are either Greek Yogurt which for me is just too thick and too acidic and regular plain yogurt which is weirdly gelatinous, not too mention tart beyond belief.  I have been searching for a European-style yogurt in the US for years! And now I found the perfect recipe, thank you slow-cooker and Pinterest (and my husbands entire stash of cheesecloth.) It’s ridiculously easy and cheap to make (which may appeal to some of you Europeans out there too). Though the original recipe is not my own, I do have some extra tips to share with you guys. So here goes and enjoy!

Thick & Creamy Slow-Cooker Yogurt - sisterbakers.com

Recipe:

Perfectly Thick & Creamy Slow-Cooker Homemade Yogurt (original recipe from inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com):

Single recipe yields a little over 1 quart of yogurt. Double recipe yields a little over 2 quarts (2.1 to be exact :))

1/2 gallon pasteurized whole or 2% milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I love to use Brown Cow Plain Cream Top)

Optional:

1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk (only needed if you use lower-fat milk like 1%)

  1. In your slow-cooker or crockpot, add the milk and heat on high for approximately 2 hours or until an instant-read thermometer reads 180˚F. Since not all slow-cookers heat at the same rate, keep an eye on it the first time until you know how long yours will need.
  2. Once it reaches 180˚F, unplug the slow-cooker and remove the lid. Allow to cool, uncovered until 110˚F. In my kitchen, this takes close to 1h30. Depending on yours it might happen faster or slower, so again keep an eye on it the first time. It’s important it doesn’t get bel0w 110˚F.
  3. Meanwhile, allow your 1/2 cup of yogurt to come to room temp. (If you are using the nonfat powdered milk, mix it with the yogurt starter now.)
  4. When your milk has reached 110˚F, remove any skin that may have formed on the milk and whisk in your yogurt starter. Place the lid back on. Keep your slow-cooker unplugged and wrap up the whole thing in a towel.
  5. Let sit for 6 hours undisturbed in a quiet, draft-free area (an oven that’s OFF can be a good place to let it rest if your kitchen is drafty or small and you need the counter space).
  6. After 6 hours, uncover and check the consistency. It should be fairly thick and have a consistency somewhat like flan (don’t worry it’ll get creamy soon!). You’ll also notice some yellow-liquid on the top which is whey, a natural by-product of yogurt and cheese making. If yours still looks too runny, allow it to culture an hour or two longer. Note: If you don’t like acidic yogurt,  I don’t recommend allowing it to culture longer than 8 hours. The longer yogurt cultures (up to 12 hours), the more lactose is consumed and the more tart yogurt becomes.
  7. Line a mesh strainer or mesh colander with a couple layers of cheese-cloth (a piece of linen fabric works well too) and place over a bowl. Put your yogurt into the colander and place in the fridge for approximately 2 hours. Note: the longer your yogurt drains, the thicker it will become so if you don’t like it too thick, I wouldn’t allow it to drain more than 2 hours. Though it may still look fairly runny, it will thicken some more as it cools.
  8. Take the yogurt left in the cheesecloth and place in a bowl, scraping off the yogurt that sticks to the cheesecloth. Whisk until smooth and place in a container of your choice. Put back in refrigerator and enjoy when cold! This yogurt should stay fresh for 1-2 weeks in your refrigerator.

One final note:

Though you can use a 1/2 cup of yogurt from your previous batch as a starter for your next batch, I have read a lot of information that these cultures are not strong enough to last through more than 2-3 cultures. You can purchase some pricier heirloom cultures which have an infinite lifespan, but frankly, I think it’s less expensive and less of a hassle to buy a small 6oz container of yogurt every 3 batches to use as a fresh starter.

Comments

  1. My one recent attempt at making yogurt was not great. May try this next time. What is the advantage of using the dry milk powder and does it make it gritty at all? Also, would this be good with 1% milk? thanks.

    • I haven’t tried the milk powder myself, but many people swear by the milk powder when making yogurt using lower-fat milk like 1%. It supposedly helps makes the yogurt creamier without adding any fat. It shouldn’t make the yogurt gritty at all as long as you thoroughly dissolve the milk powder in your yogurt starter. As far as this recipe working with 1%, it should work great. I’ve successfully made this yogurt using 2% and it was beautifully creamy (see photos). If you’re not happy with the consistency of the 1%, I would try half 1%, half 2%. Good luck and I hope this helps!

%d bloggers like this: