The Easiest Real Food You’re Not Making… Yet! Homemade Yogurt

homemade yogurt

I’m going all-out-hippie-chick on the blog today, crew. And dragging you along with me. Homemade yogurt is your ticket to high quality, affordable organic probiotic goodness. And it is so easy!! You’ll thank me when you are scooping that first luscious, creamy bite of yogurt out of your crock pot.

Of all the “it-looks-like-a-health-food, but-it-is-not” propaganda circulating out there, it seems like most people have gotten the message on conventional yogurt. It is basically a processed dessert in a little container, whether you call it breakfast or kids afternoon snack or end of soccer game treat. Each container is filled with sugars, corn syrups, coloring agents, flavoring agents, stabilizers, and other unpleasantness.

But that’s only the stuff you’ll find in the conventional dairy section of your grocery store. If you travel over to the health food aisle or a natural foods store, you can find a whole other group of options, many of which are delicious and nutritious and made from organic cow milk that was not pumped up with terrible chemicals in horrible conditions and then flavored with man-made lab fluids. Big problem here for many of us – the good stuff is expensive. Like $8.00 for a quart expensive.

Now yogurt happens to be one of very few probiotic/fermented foods that my daughter will eat. In fact, she loves it and requests it regularly. So when I heard that it was simple to make, I knew this was my ticket to happy-daughter-gut-health-without-financial-hardship.

Then I proceeded to fail completely with my first batch. And learned the number one rule of yogurt making – know your milk. And now, by teaching you this one homemade yogurt secret, you will be able to make gorgeous yogurt for your family with success right from the beginning. You can’t use ultra-pasteurized milk. It’s dead and doesn’t work. Which probably makes complete sense to you, but I hadn’t even realized my milk was ultra-pasteurized. So a failed batch later I was researching to find my family a new milk source. Just proving that there is always a next step in your real food journey!

Recipe: Homemade Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1 quart organic whole milk – pasteurized. NOT ultra-pasteurized. We are clear here, yes?
  • 1/4 cup of the highest quality purest yogurt you can get. This is the only time you are buying yogurt, because after this batch you can use the remaining 1/4 cup of your homemade yogurt to make the next batch! So go crazy and buy the beautiful whole organic plain (or Greek) yogurt. It’s a worthwhile investment!

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into your crock pot and heat on low for 2 hours. * You want the milk to hit somewhere in the 180 – 190 degree range. Use a cooking or candy thermometer to confirm your crock pot’s timing.
  2. Turn crock pot off and leave the milk in it for 3 hours (lid on). You want the milk to cool to a temperature of about 110 degrees. This is the magical yogurt temperature.
  3. When 110 degrees is reached, add 1/4 cup yogurt and whisk it around to mix. Place crock pot (with lid) in your oven (not on!!) with the oven light on for 8-12ish hours (you can go up to 24 hours if you wish to have thicker and tarter yogurt). I also wrap a towel around the crock pot to help keep the temperature stable.  photo 1 photo 2
  4. Transfer yogurt to a container and store in the refrigerator. I use old quart sized yogurt containers and just write the date made on the lid. Mine last over two weeks in the refrigerator.
  5. You can strain it through cheese cloth for a few hours if you are looking for thicker Greek style yogurt, but I’m lazy and never do. It’s a lovely consistency without straining.

After you have successfully completed your first batch, I highly recommend doubling the second batch if your family goes through yogurt the way mine does. We consume about a quart a week, so I only need to make yogurt twice a month if I double it.

My yogurt works out to about $3.50 a quart (because I buy very high quality milk – it could be made much cheaper if you have a better source for milk). Much better than the $7-8 I had been paying. We use it as sour cream on tacos, as a base for dips and dressings and as a late night treat with maple syrup, pomegranate seeds and a little granola.
It also is fantastic as the base for our Kids Clean Up! Flavored Yogurt recipe.

 

My gift to all the new homemade yogurt makers out there: a Pinterest Board full of recipes that include… YOGURT. Also pinned to the board is a recipe for making yogurt out of coconut milk for the lacto-free peeps. Might try that next.

homemade yogurt  Go get ‘em, yogurt makers!!

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9 thoughts on “The Easiest Real Food You’re Not Making… Yet! Homemade Yogurt

  1. LOVE crock pot yogurt…especially with your blueberry recipe and a little sprinkle of homemade granola! Kids and adults alike inhale it. This is one of the easiest, best things to make in your crock pot. Just made a batch on Sunday. Thanks for spreading the word on this! YUM!!!!

  2. Well, you inspired this old cook to try something new. I just took my crock pot out of the oven after 12 hours and “voila”, i have made yogurt!
    Two things I inadvertently did that might have made it not work:
    1. I used “goat milk” plain yogurt because I did not read the label on the carton, just grabbed what looked like a really good pure yogurt.
    2. I did not take my crock pot off its base, even though I turned off the heat, during the 3 hour “cooling” period and I don’t think it cooled off very much.
    However, the end product, although a little runny, tastes pretty good.
    Thanks Jenn!

    • So great, Lisa! Thanks for sharing.

      I’m pretty intrigued with the idea of goat milk yogurt, I may need to try that. I have heard that goat milk yogurt is thinner than cow milk yogurt, but I bet you could strain it if you’d like it to be a bit thicker.

      You can use a thermometer after the cooling period to make sure that the milk is less than 120 degrees. Around 110 degrees is ideal for yogurt culturing.

      Enjoy that yogurt!!

  3. Morning!! My yogurt has been fermenting for 9 hours now. It’s still pretty runny. Does that mean it needs to ferment longer? Or does it thicken up after being refrigerated??

    Thanks for the inspiration!!! I have a great Paleo granola recipe if you’re interested??

    • I’d let it keep going for a few more hours. Maybe your oven light isn’t as warm as mine! :)

      And yes I’ll take that granola recipe!!

      • For your next batch you may want to wrap a towel around the crock pot while in the oven to keep it a little warmer. I’m guessing that’s why yours is fermenting more slowly. Or leave it in for longer. I made some really thick yogurt once when I forgot about it in the oven and it fermented for 16 hours. :)

        Also, if it is just a little runnier than you like, you can strain it for a more Greek like consistency.

        Keep me posted!

  4. Pingback: Kids Clean Up! Flavored Yogurt | Lean.Green.KitchenLean.Green.Kitchen

  5. Pingback: Crunchy Granola Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Insanely Delicious!!) | Lean.Green.KitchenLean.Green.Kitchen

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