Friday, August 27, 2010


I'm not a yogurt lover but my family is. If you love yogurt or use it as a sour cream substitute in your cooking, here are some good recipes to get you started.

The most important thing about making homemade yogurt is that if you have not already learned to make it, don't wait until hard times before you try. I have an electric yogurt maker but that would be of no use in an emergency. Even the crock pot recipe below would not help much. However, if you have a wonder oven, this would be a good excuse to learn how to make yogurt. If you perfect the basics of yogurt making now, then you can use alternative methods to make it. Also, as it requires a starter, if you start making it now and keep a starter on hand you will be in good shape.

Great Crock Pot Yogurt
This is Awesome! Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot
8 cups of whole milk--pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized. (Start with whole milk until you get the hang of yogurt-making)
1/2 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt (you need to have a starter. Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter)
Frozen/fresh fruit for flavoring
1 thick bath towel
Directions: This takes a while. Make your yogurt on a weekend day when you are home to monitor. I used a 4 quart Crockpot. Plug in your Crockpot and turn to low. Add an entire half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Unplug your Crockpot. Leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours. When 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Then dump the bowl contents back into the Crockpot. Stir to combine. Put the lid back on your Crockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock for insulation. Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours. In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened--- it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt. Blend in batches with your favorite fruit. I did mango, strawberry, and blueberry. When you blend in the fruit, bubbles will form and might bother you. They aren't a big deal, and will settle eventually. Chill in plastic containers in the refrigerator. Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. Save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch. This is awesome! The next morning the yogurt will be thickened. You can add honey for sweetening. This is so much more cost-effective than the little things of yogurt you buy in the store. To thicken the best, add one packet of unflavored gelatin to the mix after stirring in the yogurt with active cultures. Some have had good success mixing non-fat milk powder in as well. The way I created fruit-flavored yogurt was by taking a cup or so of the plain and blending it in the stand blender with frozen fruit or jam. Although this tastes great, the yogurt never thickened back up the way the plain did. I think maybe keeping the plain separate and adding fruit daily is your best bet. Or you can try the gelatin trick. I was able to achieve a Greek-style yogurt this afternoon by lining a colander with a coffee liner and letting the liquid drip out of the leftover plain I made. The remaining yogurt was as thick as sour cream. I do not know how this will work with soy milk and soy yogurt or rice milk and rice yogurt. I'd imagine it would work similarly, but I have not tested this out.

Another method using the wonder oven:

Heat a half gallon of milk on the stove and when it is baby bottle warm, put a cup of yogurt from the store in it. You could use a start that you keep for this. Don’t stir it. Then put it in the Wonder-Oven and let it sit overnight. It all turns into yogurt. You can add jam or other fruit to flavor it. Or make a gallon and double the yogurt.

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