Crockpot Yogurt

Thanks to my lovely midwife who shared her recipe, I've been whipping up yogurt left and right. Who would have guessed making yogurt could be so simple!

INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES
8 cups of milk
1/2 cup yogurt with live cultures
Crockpot
Bath towel
Cheesecloth
Strainer

DIRECTIONS
  • Pour 8 cups of milk (or 16 cups which is 1 gallon if you're doubling the recipe) into a large crockpot. Set to LOW for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Turn crockpot off and let sit with lid on for 3 hours.
  • Add 1/2 cup yogurt (or 1 cup for a double recipe), place lid back on, and wrap a bath towel around the crockpot. You're goal is to make a dark, insulated environment for the live cultures to exponentially grow.
  • Let crockpot sit covered (with lid and towel), not heating for 8-12 hours. I usually try to start the yogurt process by 3pm in the afternoon so this 8-12 hour step happens overnight.
  • In the morning, your milk will look like the top photo above - YOGURT!
  • Line a strainer with a cheesecloth and strain yogurt to desired consistency. Without straining your yogurt will be a drinkable consistency - perfect for smoothies. But, if you're wanting to spoon eat it or make it more like "normal" you'll want to strain it for 15-30 minutes. 
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42 comments:

Hannah Barnhorn said...

Quick question about the steps. After you add the yougurt, you say to place the lid on and wrap a towel around the crockpot but your next step says to let the crockpot sit uncovered for 8 to 12 hours. Can you clarify?

ThatMamaGretchen said...

Totally a typo - thanks for catching it! I updated it so it should make more sense now :)

Naomi said...

Can flavored yogurt be used or straight plain?

Lactating Girl said...

Does it need to be unflavored yogurt that you start with? Also, does it matter what kind of milk (e.g. 2%, whole)? I'm totally going to try this!

ThatMamaGretchen said...

I've used 2% and whole - both work. I've also used plain and vanilla yogurt with success. My next project - figure out how to flavor it a bit ... perhaps with vanilla beans or fruit. Good luck trying it out :)

Jamie said...

I'm trying this recipe out today. Let me know if you figure out how to flavor the yogurt during the process. It can easily be flavored afterwards, I assume, but pureeing fruit and adding it in.

ThatMamaGretchen said...

Yes ... up until now we've been flavoring after. Jem likes honey and I like fancy maple syrup :) I think I'm going to add some vanilla beans into my next batch. Probably during the same step as when you add the 1/2 c of live culture yogurt.

Kaylene said...

L.O.V.E this recipe! I tried it last night and it's perfect! I used Greek yogurt as a starter and it barely needed to be strained :)

ThatMamaGretchen said...

So glad it turned out!!! It's definitely a winner :)

Anonymous said...

Are you using just regular milk? Not non homoginized, vat pasteurized.? Saw sOme other recipes that said it has to be non homoginized, and I can't even find it!

Patricia Sawyer said...

how did the vanilla beans turn out? I just got a bunch of whole beans and want to try to flavor it a litle. I have been adding a bit of cooked fruit and honey to ours and it's yum!

ThatMamaGretchen said...

The vanilla beans weren't as strong as I had hoped. I went light on my first few batches as I didn't want it to be overwhelming. Then I switched to fruit like you and haven't gone back to adjust my vanilla amounts. Thanks for the reminder :) I need to do that soon!

Katy Emanuel said...

Definitely going to have to try this since we go through a lot of yogurt in our house

Oliver Crangle said...

So I am trying this as we speak, and I have a couple of questions....

Even at low heat, the whole milk in the crockpot is caramelizing, that is, the ring where the surface of the milk touches the crockpot is turning brown and crusty.



Is the caramelizing normal? Do you see it when you try this method?


As the milk cools, there is a lot of skin forming on the surface.


What should I do with the skin? Skim it off? Just mix it back into the milk when I out the yogurt in?


Thank you

ThatMamaGretchen said...

I haven't experience the carmelizing issue ... not sure what to tell you about that. My only guess is that perhaps your crockpot cooks hotter than most :( With the top layer, I do mix it back into the yogurt, it usually thickens up throughout the process and becomes more yogurt consistency so you can't even tell when it mixes back in. Best of luck figuring out the heat issues! Keep me posted!

Oliver Crangle said...

Thank you, I have suspected that it does cook hotter than most. I've often seen recipes that call for 6 hours be clearly finished in 4.


It may be I need to stir it more often.

shannon said...

have you tried (or know anyone who has) to make this using whole, raw milk? i'm thinking about trying, but would hate to waste such a commodity!

ThatMamaGretchen said...

I haven't tried it with raw ... I'm sure it will be delicious though, and probably quite thick. Let me know how it goes!

Patti said...

I make it with raw, unskimmed milk and it is perfect. A bit creamier texture and slightly stronger flavor when plain. I also usually strain it and reserve the whey for smoothies.

MaryC54 said...

can you use skim milk to make fat free yogurt?

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ThatMamaGretchen said...

I haven't tried! I would that so. It will probably turn out thinner as well, so it might take some extra straining or be a better drinking yogurt option.

Katie said...

I'm new to making yogurt so was hoping this was as easy as it sounded. I followed the directions exactly, and woke up this morning with high hopes, only to find a crockpot full of milk and a few fist sized chunks. What did I do wrong? I have nothing to go on here, since this is my first time doing it this way... and every other way I have tried hasn't worked either. Anyone have tips on what I can do to make yogurt instead of warm milk? :(

ThatMamaGretchen said...

Uh ... I'm sorry you're having trouble! I'd let it sit for longer and see what happens. Like another 8 hours even. It will still be milky, but that's when you use the cheese cloth to strain it. Hope that helps! Feel free to email me if not (thatmamagretchen@gmail.com). I just made a batch today and didn't have any hiccups!

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suzyhomemaker said...

I make this all the time pretty much the same way as gretchen except I use a candy thermometer. I don't trust my crockpot enough to get the temp right. I make sure it heats up to 180, then cools to about 115. Then I add the yogurt. I think if I timed it, it would be just about the same though. It could be that if the milk was not cool enough, and it just killed the bacteria in the yogurt that you added to it. I think I have read that it cannot go above 120?

suzyhomemaker said...

I have used raw milk and it has turned out fine. I do use a thermometer though. You can see my comment above.

ThatMamaGretchen said...

Great insight on checking temperature - THANK YOU!

Damar said...

Forget straining ! I just put the finished yogurt into a saved yogurt container, and refrigerate for a few hours. As it chills, it separates into a "yogurt mass", and a thin liquid. Pour off the "whey" (liquid), and you're done. You can drink the liquid, or just discard it, if you prefer. Also: I add about a tablespoon of dehydrated cane sugar to the milk, which seems to produce a thicker, more robust culture. I never use processed sugar, nor that stuff that calls itself "raw sugar".

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Courtney Phillips said...

omg. that is amazing, thank you so much you wonderful lady, you(:

Gretchen said...

Hi. I would like to try to make coffee yogurt. I bought instant coffee thinking regular coffee would add to much liquid. The question is when can or should I add the granules? I was almost thinking to add them from the start...let the milk dissolve the granules while it warms up. What do you think? Thanks!

Gretchen said...

I have no idea - haven't tried coffee flavor! I think your thought of putting it in at the beginning could work. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

Gretchen said...

It worked great! The only disadvantage is the whey is coffee-flavored which can make its reuse a bit tricky. I might try cultured buttermilk as my starter next time. And, I might add pectin and non-fat dry milk to make it creamier and perhaps have less whey. Thanks again! I'm a happy coffee-yogurt camper!

Gretchen said...

Yay! I'm glad you had success!

Gretchen said...

All I use is unskimmed raw milk and it works great. A bit thicker and creamier than pastuerized, lower-fat stuff.

Barb Scott said...

I'm coming a little bit late to this party. I had no idea you could make yogurt in a crockpot until I found your site a couple of weeks ago. I'm just making my third batch! I'm wondering if it's necessary to wrap the entire crockpot or could you just remove the crock with its lid and wrap that up with the towels. It would be a little less cumbersome I think. Absolutely loving my homemade yogurt. So much cheaper and BETTER than the store bought. I have it every morning with berries and some high fibre cereal that I also make.

ThatMamaGretchen said...

Yay! I'm so happy you love it! And yes, I totally think you could just wrap the base and not the entire crockpot. It's just to provide and extra layer of insulation :)

Barb Scott said...

Thanks for your quick reply. I think I will try wrapping just the crock next time. It would be a little easier to do and require fewer towels. I`ll let you know if it works. :-)

melissa said...

Have you tried this with coconut milk? We cannot drink cows milk. Thanks!

ThatMamaGretchen said...

I haven't tried coconut milk. If you do, let me know how it turns out!