How to Make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

I shied away from making yogurt for years because I thought it would be tedious and time-consuming. Then I learned to make yogurt in a crock pot, and now there is no stopping me.

One fermented food that most folks enjoy is yogurt. Even babies like yogurt. And why buy it at the store, along with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and tilapia (Yes, one brand out there uses this fish as a thickening agent.) when you can make it at home.

Collect your supplies

To make yogurt in the slow cooker, you will need the following:

• Gallon of milk

• Slow cooker

• Thick-bottomed stock pot that will hold a gallon of milk

• Candy thermometer

• Yogurt starter or yogurt from a previous batch

• Thick towel or blanket

Optional items:

• Vanilla and sugar

• Mesh strainer or colander

• Piece of muslin to line strainer

How to make yogurt in a crock pot

• Preheat the crock while heating up the milk. Once it feels hot to the touch, turn it off with the lid on.

• Heat your milk to 180 degrees in a thick-bottomed, stainless steel pot. Pasteurization kills any unwanted bacteria in the milk that would compete with the culture. It also restructures the proteins so that they will “set” rather than form curds. Remove milk from heat and allow to cool to 110 degrees.

• If you are starting with store-bought milk, or if you want to make raw milk yogurt, just heat it to 110 degrees instead of 180 degrees.

• Pour your pre-heated milk into the slow cooker.

• Remove a cup of the warm milk from the cooker and place in a mixing bowl. Stir the starter into that cup of milk and then return it to the crock. Dannon yogurt as a starter has never failed me. For a full slow cooker, use about a cup of starter yogurt. If using a commercial starter, follow the package directions. Stir the contents of the cooker until well mixed.

• If you want sweetened, vanilla yogurt, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla per quart of milk and sugar to taste.

• Place the lid on the crock and wrap the whole thing with a thick towel or blanket. Let it set 10-12 hours. Generally, I start mine after supper and let it set overnight.

• If you want a thick Greek-style yogurt, strain out the whey. Line a colander with a piece of muslin and set it over a bowl. Pour the yogurt in the muslin and let it drip until it stops. This will cut the quantity of yogurt in half. The liquid that drains out is whey that you will want to save for fermenting other foods. Scrape the yogurt into jars, and refrigerate.

There are other ways of making yogurt but I think this is the easiest. What about you? Made yogurt lately? Tell us about it in the comments.

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