While it is not difficult, crock pot yogurt does require some "babysitting," so start this when you will be home for a while. To time it right, I suggest you start it in the afternoon and it should be ready for you the following morning. Make sure to reserve a cup of the plain yogurt to serve as starter for your next batch. You can put it in the freezer.
- 1/2 gallon milk (I used whole milk)
- Crock pot
- 1/2 - 1 cup plain yogurt with active cultures
- 1/2 cup powdered milk
- 1 box of Jello - I like Better Bowls gelatin or Jel Dessert (for kid yogurt)
- Large coffee filter or cheese cloth & fine strainer (for Greek yogurt)
- Pour 1/2 gallon milk into crock pot. Set on high until milk reaches 180 degrees F. (I used my Hamilton Beach crockpot with probe - perfect for this!) Expect it to take a couple hours, at least.
- Turn crock pot off and let sit until temperature cools to 115 degrees F. I found that if I take the lid off, this goes faster, but you'll have to skim off a layer of film that forms on the top of the milk. With lid on, it takes about 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
- Scoop out 2 cups of the lukewarm milk into a bowl and add the plain yogurt & powdered milk to it. Mix well and return the milk/yogurt mixture to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
- Remove the "crock" from the pot and put the lid back on. Wrap the crock in a towel for added insulation and set in an unheated, closed oven.
- Let sit for 8 hours in the oven (this is when it's nice to time it so that it sits overnight). Make sure to put a note on the oven so that you don't accidentally turn it on! :)
- After 8 hours, the milk will be transformed into yogurt.
- Dissolve 3 oz box of Jello into 1 cup boiling water. Let sit to cool a bit. For a more natural/healthy option, try Jel Dessert (found at Whole Foods). It doesn't contain gelatin, so it won't have the same consistency as Jello. But, it is perfect for yogurt drinks! And it makes great frozen "go-gurts" when I freeze it in silcone pop molds. UPDATE: I have found Better Bowls gelatin on Amazon which does contain gelatin and has a great texture. My kids LOVE this!
- Scoop out 2 cups of plain yogurt into a bowl. Whisk the Jello into the yogurt well. It will turn to liquid - this is okay. Just pour it into lidded containers and put in the fridge to set up. A few hours later you will have "Jogurt," as we call it. Looks and tastes very much like the store-bought kiddie yogurt!
- Place a fine strainer over a sturdy bowl.
- Set a large coffee filter (or cheese cloth) into the strainer and fill with as much plain yogurt as it will hold.
- Sit in the refrigerator overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl below and you will be left with amazing, rich, creamy Greek yogurt!
- Flavor with honey or fruit syrup/jam for a sweet and delicious treat.
Update: I have calculated the yield and cost of this recipe.