I suggest going to Eating, Etc's blog and reading her entire post on homemade yogurt, for it is very informative. I'll copy and past her instructions here. This is what she's learned after making her own yogurt for a few months now. Make sure you follow all the steps, like wrapping the crockpot up (I used a thick blanket, since beach towels are scarce around here) and draining the whey. I actually forgot about mine and drained it too long, and the result was the ultra-thick and creamy yogurt you can see in the photo. I love it!! If you drain your yogurt long enough- it should be plenty thick, without having to add things like powdered milk or gelatin. I ate it drizzled with light-colored rosemary honey from mainland Portugal, and chopped pistachios.
Homemade Yogurt in the Crockpot
8c (1/2 gallon) pasteurized milk ( NOT ultra-pasteurized)
1c active culture plain yogurt (to use as your starter)
3qt (or larger) crock-pot
large thick beach towel
1) Turn crockpot on low.
2) Add milk; cover & cook on low for 2-1/2 hours to 3 hours.
3) Unplug crock-pot. Keep lid on, and completely wrap crock-pot in large, thick beach towel, for insulation, and let sit for 3-4 hours. (It seems like it's ready to me when I dip a spoon in it and the spoon is sort of slightly coated, rather than the milk running right off the spoon like water, if that tip helps you!)
4) At the end of 3-4 hours, in a small bowl, whisk 1c active culture plain yogurt (to use as your yogurt starter) with 1-2c of the milk from the crock-pot. Return it to the crock-pot.
5) Keeping crockpot unplugged, completely re-wrap in heavy beach towel.
6) Allow to sit for 8 hours. (I've let it sit for 10-12 hours!)
7) Yogurt will have thickened. Don't be alarmed when you see a watery looking glob in your crockpot. You're not done yet! You need to separate the watery whey from the actual yogurt. To do this, simply ladle yogurt into a paper coffee filter within a fine wire mesh strainer and allow to drain into a bowl. (I set up an "assembly-line" with 4 bowls & 4 strainers to speed up the process.) I let it sit for about 30 minutes or more, so it comes out quite dry. (I do about 4 hours now).
8) Then run the drained yogurt through the blender to make it creamier. (I skip this part- I find it thins it out too much.)
9) Serve with favorite fresh or dried fruits, honey, or jam/preserves.
10) In a non-reactive container (non-metal), set aside 1c as your starter for your next batch.
11) Store in covered container and refrigerate. Will stay fresh for 7-10 days.
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