For a while now I’ve been making homemade yogurt in the crockpot. You would think using the crockpot would be the easiest thing in the world but it really isn’t for me because to make the yogurt in the crockpot, it has to heat up to the correct temp, which takes about 2 hours, then it has to cool down, with the pot turned off, which sometimes takes 3 or more hours, then the crockpot has to be wrapped in blankets or towels and let sit for 8 hours. I tried to plan it so that I would start the batch about 5 p.m., then it could sit overnight wrapped in blankets. It isn’t “hard” but it takes more attention than I usually have to give it.
I was recently talking to a friend who makes her yogurt on top of the stove and it seemed easier than using the crockpot so I tried it that way and like it much better. Here’s how I did it:
Pour 1 gallon of milk into a heavy pot. Heat gently (do not let boil) until milk temp reaches 185° to 195°. This took maybe 15 minutes. Remove from stove and immediately place in a sink full of ice water. Be very sure you’re using a pot that will not crack when removed from a hot stove and placed in ice water. If your pot can’t handle that, have a 1 gallon container handy. Pour the hot milk into the container and then place that container in the ice water.
Allow the milk to sit in the ice water til the temp drops to 120°. This happens much quicker than I expected so watch it closely, probably about 5 minutes.
Once the milk reaches 120°, stir in 1 cup plain yogurt. Once you’ve made yogurt, you can use a “starter” from your previous batch but if this is the first time you’ve made it, you must use a storebought “starter”. I use regular (NOT non-fat or low-fat) plain yogurt.
Make sure the starter is blended very well into the milk. At this point, I poured 1 quart of the milk into a container. To the remaining 3/4 gallon of milk, I added 3/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Put all the yogurt in containers with tight fitting lids. Place in an ice chest and pour about 4″ of water that has been heated to 120°. Close the lid and let it all sit for 3 hours. After 3 hours, remove containers from ice chest and place in fridge.
When time to serve, add a little honey or fruit.
Both Vince and I thought it was creamier when made on top of the stove vs. the crockpot but there wasn’t much difference at all. I think it was easier to make on top of the stove vs. the crockpot but I wouldn’t hesitate to make it either way.