Monday, May 2, 2011

Greek Yogurt

In my efforts to a) feed my family the most nutritive food I can & b) try to be as thrifty as possible, I started making my own Greek yogurt.  When I told my mom that I was doing this, she asked me if I had bought a 70's era yogurt maker...????.  I had no idea such a thing exists. 

My version came from another blog & required me to buy NO equipment & is super easy.  What you end up with is plain, Greek yogurt that can be dressed up to suit your tastes & costs next to nothing compared to the Greek yogurt you get at the store.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 large crock pot (mine is 6-7 quarts)
  • 1 half gallon PASTEURIZED milk (make sure it's not ultra-pasteurized...there aren't enough critters left to do the job)
  • 1 large towel or blanket
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I bought the first & now reserve my starter from each batch to save for the next)
  • 1 large strainer
  • 1 large flour sack type towel (I think you could also use large coffee filters, but I prefer to go the reusable route)
  • 1 large bowl (not too large that your strainer won't sit on top without falling in)
  • random assortment of jars
  • 1 food processor or large blender

Here's how you do it:
  1. Pour half gallon milk into slow cooker & let cook on low for 3 hours.
  2. Unplug slow cooker & wrap in large towel or blanket to retain heat.  Leave alone for 4 hours.
  3. Remove 1-2 cups of milk from slow cooker & put in large bowl.  Whisk in 1 cup of yogurt as starter & return to crock pot.  Re-wrap & leave alone for 8-10 hours. 
  4. Open up & be grossed out.  Your yogurt will be sitting at the bottom of the crock pot covered in a layer of whey.  Whey resembles Ecto Cooler (all of you children of the 80's know EXACTLY what I'm talking about).  Currently I'm keeping mine for experimentation with my bread, but for our yogurt purposes, it's waste. 
  5. Line strainer with thin flour sack towel or coffee filters & set on top of large bowl.  Spoon whey & yogurt into strainer & let drain for about an hour. 
  6. Spoon yogurt out of strainer & run through food processor for creamiest end product. 
  7. Pour into whatever motley crew of jars you have scavenged, setting aside 1 cup for your starter for the next batch. 

Here's what I have learned that may or may not be useful:
  • Set an alarm.  Otherwise, you will forget the timing of the steps & have to throw out soured milk.
  • Before you start, do the backwards math & figure out what time you need to start things in order for you to be available to take care of your yogurt.  At my house, 3:00 pm is yogurt time.  Then I can wrap at 6:00 pm, add starter at 10:00 pm & start straining between 6:00-8:00 am.
  • Plain yogurt isn't very tasty, but you can do ANYTHING you want with it.  Frozen fruit works really well & makes a sherbet consistency when put in the food processor with yogurt.  My most favorite concoction right now is  1/2 c yogurt + 2 T PB2 with chocolate + 1 T dark chocolate cocoa powder + 2 t stevia.
  • Works great as a sour cream substitute.  I haven't baked with it yet, but I have cooked & couldn't tell the difference.
  • You can use any "fatness" of milk.  I use whole for my kids & skim for myself.
  • You can do a whole gallon if your crock pot is big enough.  I don't change the times for anything when I do a gallon, except it takes longer to strain.  My kids eat so much yogurt that I do a gallon for them & a half gallon for me & that lasts us about a week.  It will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.   

Back to A Weight-y Life


  1. I have never heard of PB2. Yum! What else do you use it for and where do you get it?

  2. i got it at hy-vee. it's w/the organic/health foods. i'm looking forward to experimenting w/it more...i think a fruit dip or frosting alternative would be good. i know some people add water & spread it on toast, but i'm too picky about my jif to think that would be acceptable.

  3. I had a 70's era yogurt maker - it looked like this:

    I only used it a few times since the small amount it made meant the work-to-results ratio sucked.