I discovered a hack for making one of my favorite staple foods, DIY Greek yogurt. This is the perfect method if you have to be gone all day, or need Greek yogurt in the morning when you wake up, but you are almost out, and you don’t want to get up in the middle of night to incubate your yogurt and wrap the crockpot in a towel. In other words, you can make yogurt while you are sleeping, out playing, or running errands! No babysitting the yogurt required, to catch the right time to incubate it with the starter. No checking the temperature. No wrapping the crockpot with a towel.
I did this method last week when I had to be gone all day for our homeschool group classes (commonwealth) which lasts all day, with a 90 min drive each way. When I got back, the yogurt was done! I just had to strain it for an hour or two to make it into proper Greek yogurt, which is strained yogurt so that it has the creamy thickness so characteristic of Greek yogurt.
- Pour a gallon of milk in your crockpot.
- Add 2 T starter plain yogurt with active cultures.
- Cover with lid, turn the setting to “warm” and make sure the crockpot is plugged in. 🙂
- Go run your errands or go to bed!
- After about five to six hours, or overnight, you will see that the yogurt has formed. It will look like this:
(Note: The last time I tried this method, it didn’t work. I had to start it over my traditional way. So it’s not foolproof, I’m not sure why. Stay tuned…maybe I will figure it out.)
The yellowish liquid is the whey.
6. Ladle the yogurt/whey mixture into a colander or strainer placed over a pot that is lined with a clean dish towel.
7. Let the whey strain off until yogurt is your desired thickness. You can dump the whey or save to soak grains or lacto-ferment veggies. If you strain the yogurt for too long it turns really thick, so that you have “yogurt cheese.” If you get it too thick, you can always add a little water and blend in blender if you want to get it to the creamy texture and thick consistency of commercial Greek yogurt. This is what it looked like after 2 hours.
Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! I love to top it with my homemade chocolate, crushed up, and honey or stevia. Super yum!
I have noticed that this method doesn’t yield as much yogurt, compared to my original crockpot method. More of the milk turns to whey than with my other method, leaving less yogurt. I’m not sure why. See photo below. This is my yogurt made my traditional way, where I babysit the yogurt by timing, unplugging, testing the temp with my pinky finger, incubating in the middle of it, and then wrapping.
See how this version has a lot less whey? You can hardly see it. So I don’t use this hack method all the time, just when I am in a pinch and have to be away or asleep.
I used to store my yogi in recycled plastic Mountain High yogurt containers. But now I store it in recycled glass Adams peanut butter jars in my fridge. This is my go-to protein source when I have to grab something quick to travel and know I will need a meal while I’m gone. (As the Trim Healthy Mamas say, a meal involves protein.) The jar size is perfect for keeping a spoon stored in the jar with yogurt for my travels, and I don’t have to stress about the lid popping off, which could easily happen to the recycled plastic yogurt containers. When traveling, I eat a cup for each meal for my portable protein source. So if I know I’m going to be gone all day I will take a fairly full jar. Since my kids won’t eat it I don’t have to worry about contaminating it with my germs by putting my used spoon back in it. I’m actually glad they don’t eat it, it means more for me!
I do two batches of 0% milk a week for when I want to combine the yogurt with a carb (so the fuels don’t clash in Trim Healthy Mama lingo) in the crockpot and one batch of full fat milk (for when I want high fat meals), mostly for me, and a little for my dh’s lunches. I keep the crockpot out on my counter and do these three batches in three days, then clean out the crockpot and start over the next week. If my kids ate it I would be making the yogi round the clock. 🙂 So, let’s just keep it a secret that the yogurt is yum as long as you sweeten it up, shall we? 🙂