Remember this post where I reviewed Chobani Champions? Well long before that hit I realized that I didn't want to keep spending a fortune on Greek yogurt so I went out in search of a recipe that would be cost effective and simple. I found this great recipe for making yogurt in a crock pot and melded some methods together to get...homemade Greek yogurt!
Let's start with your ingredients--is your pencil ready because there are a lot of ingredients.
1) 1/2 Gallon (that's 8 cups) of Milk (I've used everything from 1%-Whole milk depending on whether it's for me or the kids :))
2) 1/2 cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures (I choose either Oikos or Chobani for this simply because their ingredient list is exactly like mine.)
Now that you've picked up your ingredients there are a couple more cookware that you'll need.
1) A crock pot. I have a normal sized one and it's perfect.
2) A flour sack towel, cheesecloth, or muslin. I've used both the cheesecloth and the towel and hands down prefer the towel. It's a little more to start with, but it washes in the washing machine and can be used over and over again. Normal cheesecloth I got about 2 good uses out of and it's a pain to hand wash and air dry.
4) A bowl large enough for the colander to sit in.
5) An airtight container to store the yogurt in.
I found that I have all these items and ingredients just normally sitting around which made this method a plus. The only down side is that it does take some time and if you're going to be out and about for long periods of the day this might not be the method for you. But if you have a Saturday or Sunday free, just designate that as yogurt day!
Alright let's get down to business:
Step 1: Plug in your crock pot and set to low.
Step 2: Measure 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of milk into your crock pot and cover.
Step 3: Set the timer for 2 1/2 hours.
Step 4: When the timer goes off, simply unplug your crock pot and set the timer for 3 hours.
Step 5: Uncover and in a separate bowl mix 1/2 cup of yogurt with 1 cup of the warmed milk and whisk until smooth.
Step 6: Add back into the crock pot, stir and put the lid back on. Wrap a large beach towel around the whole crock pot. Set the timer for 7. (Honestly this is my favorite time length, but I started my yogurt too late last night so it actually sat out for much longer and it was still okay, a lot of people will have it ready at this stage right before bed and leave it overnight.)
Step 7: Uncover and Voila! You have yogurt. If this is where you like it then you can stir it up and stop right here, but if you want to proceed to the ultra awesome healthy Greek Yogurt then let's continue.
Step 8: Set up your doubled up flour sack towel inside your colander inside your bowl.
Step 9: Scoop out 1/2 cup of yogurt to save for next time you make it.
Step 10: Pour all the yogurt into the towel.
Step 11: Cover the towel over itself and store in the fridge for about 12 hours. The longer you leave it in the more it separates and the thicker the yogurt gets.
Step 12: Finally, pull the colander out of the bowl and dump all the yogurt into a container (It needs to hold about 2 qts. I also recommend keeping your whey (that the green weird looking stuff) I use it for everything. From watering the plants to mixing into smoothies for extra protein and use it to replace water for my bread and soup recipes. The whey is what they use in the protein powder mixes, they just freeze dry it and flavor it, etc.
Step 13: It's ready to eat or cook with (use it to replace sour cream for a healthier alternative). I like to add in berries and a squirt of honey because plain Greek yogurt isn't my favorite flavor.