Sunday, March 4, 2012

Easy Crock Pot Greek Yogurt

Follow Me on Pinterest
Making your own yogurt is easy if you own a 3 quart crock pot/slow cooker!
When I eat yogurt I want it thick, creamy, sweet with a tart undertone and it must have some flavorful, sweet fruit in the bottom! With the money you'll save on making your own yogurt, you can afford to use organic, whole milk.




CROCK POT YOGURT

This recipe uses a 3 quart crock pot.

Makes 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS

2 quarts whole milk

fresh or frozen variety of fruit

honey or maple syrup for sweetening yogurt and fruit




DIRECTIONS

  • Pour 2 quarts of milk carefully into your crock pot bowl.
  • Turn heat to low. Put lid on and heat milk for 2 hrs and 45 minutes. Be sure and use a timer!
  • When timer goes off, turn off crock pot, keep lid on, and set timer for an additional 3 hour “cool down” time.
  • After 3 hours, ladle 1 cup of the very warm, crock pot milk into a small bowl.
  • To the very warm milk whisk in ½ cup of natural, live culture, no pectin added, "plain" yogurt, like Chobani Greek Yogurt, mix well. That's your starter to produce a batch of new, live culture, yogurt. Pour milk mixed with yogurt back into crock pot bowl and whisk gently to incorporate. Place lid back on.
  • Unplug crock pot. Cover with two bath towels and leave it to “culture” overnight for at least 8-12 hrs.
  • In the morning, place tea towel in colander and pour yogurt into towel-lined colander placed over a large bowl (an 8-cup measuring bowl works great). Drain off 1 to 2 cups of whey. Whey is very healthy and can be used in place of your liquids to make homemade breads.
  • Save out 1/2 cup of yogurt to use as starter for your next batch of Easy Crock Pot Yogurt. Starter should be used within a week. You may use homemade yogurt as starter 3 times before buying more natural, no pectin added, plain yogurt, like Chobani as your starter.
  • Yogurt may be stored in a large jar and dished out for individual use. If using small, covered, individual containers: place chopped fruit in the bottom of each container, sweetened with 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey; add yogurt and finish off with a little drizzle of syrup or honey and snap on cover.
  • Store in the refrigerator for a week. Yogurt will thicken as it cools, but you must try it before you cool it because the yogurt has such a delicate texture before it is cooled.
  • Whey will last 6 months in the refrigerator.
Julie's Tip: I purchase large bags of frozen fruit from Sam's Club containing peaches, mango, strawberries and pineapple (pineapple makes yogurt too runny). I chop up a tablespoon or more of the individual fruits. That way I can eat mango yogurt, strawberry yogurt, peach yogurt. You can also combine fruit, such as strawberry-banana, peach-mango etc. Use fresh, local fruit when it’s in season. I buy my favorite, red raspberries, when on sale, freeze them and use them in yogurt along with our home-grown fresh or frozen blackberries. Frozen blueberries just don’t taste right. Try fresh or frozen black cherries w/a touch of pure vanilla extract.



Yogurt, with live cultures in it, helps keep "good bacteria" in our intestinal tract. When we have to be on antibiotics all bacteria is killed in our gut causing Candida, bad yeast, to take over. You've seen the commercials for "Activia" claiming to help keep you regular? Good, quality yogurt, with active cultures will keep you regular and able to absorb the nutrients you eat. A healthy gut, 9 times out of 10, means a healthier you!

Not a huge breakfast fan? Whip up some Easy Crock Pot Greek Yogurt! Need a mid-day pick-me-up? Why not have a homemade Greek Yogurt? Looking for a health-giving, kid and adult, friendly snack? Yogurt! Just finishing up a prescribed antibiotic? Make up a batch of Easy Crock Pot Greek Yogurt and tell them you got the recipe . . . Over at Julies!!!

HAPPY MONDAY, dear friends!!!

73 comments:

  1. Can I use low fat or fat free milk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy!
      I've not tried it with low or no-fat but it should work just fine and still be thick because you are draining off some of the whey. I used to make my yogurt without draining it and adding powdered milk to make it thick until I found out how they process powdered milk. I'm trying to keep my yogurt as natural and healthy as possible. Let me know how yours turns out! ;^)

      Delete
  2. I also use whey,left from making cheese, as part of the liquid in homemade soups and stews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea!

      Please leave us your first name so you won't be too anonymous. I'd like to get to know you! :~)

      Delete
  3. I thought that Greek yogurt was made with goat milk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. also the " natural, live culture, no pectin added yogurt" is that just plain Chobani Greek yogurt in the yogurt isle or is it like a condensed version? Sorry to sound a little dense but I want to get it right

      Delete
    2. Chobani Greek Yogurt is the condensed kind. Greek yogurt just has had some of the whey strained off to make it thick. Make sure you buy "Plain" not flavored. Greek yogurt can be made with goat's milk but doesn't have to, to be Greek yogurt.

      Hope I answered your questions? ; 0 )

      Delete
  4. I would love to try this. How long does the yogurt keep safely (and for that matter the Whey) in the refrigerator? Thanks! ~Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy,
      It's been my experience that Crock Pot Greek Yogurt will keep 1 week to 10 days, but it really depends on how fresh your milk and store bought yogurt is. Whey will keep 6 months.

      Save out 1/2 cup of your Crock Pot Greek Yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch. You can do this 3 times in a row before you will need to buy yogurt for starter.

      Happy Crock Potting!

      Delete
  5. This is the best yogurt Ive had! I have yet to make it myself but am going to get right on it. Thank you Julie for sharing these wonderful recipes with us!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are so welcome! It's so gratifying to be sharing recipes with others working towards a healthier, tastier lifestyle! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love this idea. I'm going to try it soon. I found you through pinterest. I also love the idea of using the whey in my roll recipe!

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelli!
      You are so welcome! Making Greek yogurt this way is fail proof and you will never find a creamier one either! Enjoy!

      Delete
  8. For some reason I am nervous that I am going to do it wrong. I am unsure how to sweeten it. You said add honey or syrup with the fruit. Does the yogurt itself have any natural sweetness. Do we add honey to the actual yogurt as well as the fruit? Will the yogurt taste as good as the store bought Greek yogurts. I love the idea of making my own because I know what goes in it when I do it myself. Thanks
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie,
      I put my cut up fruit in the bottom of my container and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey over it. Then I add the yogurt and drizzle about a teaspoon of the same syrup or honey over the top. Some like yogurt plain but it has quite a tang. If your want your yogurt to taste similar to store bought you need to add some kind of sweetening. You can't mess it up if you follow the recipe and times. I really like using organic whole milk because it makes such tasty and creamy Greek yogurt!

      Delete
  9. I found you through pinterest. This recipe sounds great. I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Let me know what you think after you've made a batch!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can you use a larger crock pot and achieve the same results? I think mine is a 7-quart slow cooker, but I'd like to try this without purchasing another crock pot or making giant batches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrienne,
      The first 2'hr. and 45 minutes is the time it takes to scald the milk, there will be tiny bubbles around the edges and usually a thin film on top. With a larger crock pot you will have to keep an eye on it to determine when your milk is at that point. The cool down time should be the same 3 hrs. Hope this helps!

      Delete
  12. What is the yield? How many cups of yogurt do you end up with?

    ReplyDelete
  13. As you can see from the photo, i got about 8 cups plus my 1/2 cup starter. You are starting with 8 cups of milk. Draining off at least 1 cup of whey will leave you with 7 cups of actual yogurt. The fruit you add will determine what you end up with as your final product.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I found your recipe via Pinterest. I love it, and won't go back to storebought yogurt. I write a blog myself, and wanted to know if I could post your recipe on my blog with your approval. Lisa

    http://www.lifeasahealthymom.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa,
      You are welcome to share my recipe on your blog as long as you credit "Julie Backus, www.overatjulies.com". Many times bloggers choose to put my link into their description so bloggers can travel to my site in a new window. This cuts down on your typing and still keeps them on your blog also.

      After visiting your blog, I'm signing up to receive your blog via email. Nice job! Looking forward to following you!

      Delete
  15. Is there a specific reason why it needs to be pectin free? I have not found the full fat plain version of Chobani. I normally eat Greek God's Yogurt but it has pectin.

    Amy in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yogurt with pectin will not work in this recipe. You don't need to use full fat yogurt, I use organic whole milk to make my yogurt because it tastes richer and creamier, but I use Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt or Chobani No-Fat Greek Yogurt for my starter.

      Delete
  16. Well I managed to mess this up. Can you tell me where I went wrong. I know you said use organic milk. I used 2 quarts whole regular milk. poured into slow cooker. Turned it to low. Set timer for 2hour and 45 minute. Shut off slow cooker put towel around slow cooker to keep heat in. Waited 3 hours. Mixed 1/2 pectin free organic Greek yogurt with l cup warm milk. Stirred with wire whisk. Unplugged crock pot and wrapped the whole crock pot with two thick bath towels. I left it for 13 hours. I poured into a colander lined with cheesecloth. The yogurt was the same consistency as elmer's glue. I have not thrown it out yet. I'm not sure what I did wrong. Please help. Is it possible to pour back in crock pot and cook again or is the fact that the yogurt is all ready in it, ruin the recipe? Thanks for your help. I am willing to attempt this one more time with organic milk, I really hoped for the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry you didn't have success on your first try! You did the first part right but, after 2 hrs and 45 minutes you are supposed to turn Crock Pot off and let it cool down for 3 hrs WITHOUT a TOWEL and THEN add tempered yogurt mixed with milk back into CrockPot, and cover with the towels overnight. You killed your culture because your mixture was too hot. You don't have to use organic milk. You will have to throw out your first attempt.

      I know you can do it! :~)

      Delete
    2. Oh darn I should have read this before attempting my second batch. It is in the process right now. Thanks for letting me know what I did wrong. Trial and error sucks sometimes.

      Delete
    3. It's always better to read and reread a new recipe before starting, especially when the ingredients are expensive. Don't give up! You'll get it right! Thanks for making me smile! lol. xxx

      Delete
  17. Hi, I am really excited to find this recipe, I had no idea you could make yogurt in the crockpot!! I am having trouble finding a small container of plain Greek yogurt. Would it mess up the recipe to use vanilla Greek yogurt?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Becky!
    You don't even have to use Greek yogurt to make Greek yogurt, but it has to be plain yogurt without pectin. Most American stores carry either Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt or Chobani in plain flavor but you will have to hunt for it because they don't carry a lot of the plain.. Good luck hunting!

    ReplyDelete
  19. My almost 2 year old son has been on a yogurt kick lately & the cost of "supplying his fix" is getting rather costly, so I thought... "I bet I can make it myself, way cheaper & more healthy" and... Viola, I find your recipe. I will be starting my first batch in the morning. Can't wait to see if mine turns out as good as yours. Thank you for sharing!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Niki!
      Just read through the recipe before you begin. It's 2hrs 45mins (warm up). Turn off heat to cool down 3 hrs. Temper live culture with very warm milk. Cover with 2 towels and leave to culture overnight! Simple but you have to keep track of time! Hope your son enjoys Momma's homemade yogurt!

      xxx Julie

      Delete
  20. IT WORKED!!! Thank you so much!!! I feel so accomplished. lol. I was so afraid I had messed it up, but this morning I woke up to smooth creamy yogurt. I am going to link this recipe in my blog, so others can try it. Again, Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Niki, the yogurt will get a lot thicker as it cools in the refrigerator. xxx

      Delete
  21. When you add fruit you say you use frozen. Does that mean you add it while still frozen or let it thaw first? Yes I ask a lot of questions. :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I use frozen fruit I put it in frozen. Right now I'm using fresh because I have fresh berries and peaches.

      Please let me know how it turns out! ; ^ D

      Delete
  22. Dang it I think I just ruined a batch -- UGH I hate that - I put the yogurt in before the cool down -- oh well I'm going to let it sit and see what happens

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, but you have ruined it! : ~ {. Don't give up! You just have to double check the directions so you get it right next time! xxx

      Delete
  23. After letting it rest under the towels for 12 hours - mine came out runny. Can I thicken it somehow? And why is it so runny? Help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go back through the recipe making sure you didn't miss a step. If you added your live culture too soon or didn't temper it you have killed the culture and there's no fixing that. Did you strain it, removing 1 to 2 cups of whey?

      It's difficult to help when I don't have all the facts . . . Hope your next batch comes out great!

      xxx Julie

      Delete
  24. Can you use plain 'ol regular yogurt to make a regular yogurt instead of greek?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristin!

      You can use regular yogurt if you can find it with no pectin or artificial thickeners. And yes, you can make regular yogurt but it won't be as thick and creamy.

      Good luck! : ^)

      Delete
  25. My sister and I made this yesterday/this morning. I forgot to take the lid off last night and put the towels on instead. It turned out great regardless. The best part is my daughter LOVES it!

    I'm trying to find some recipes that I can use the whey in.

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer!
      So glad you love this recipe! Sounds to me that you followed the directions perfectly!
      After you temper the starter and mix it into the hot mixture, you put the cover back on and cover with towels!

      Great job! ; ~ )

      Delete
    2. BTW. . . You can use the whey in place of the liquid in any bread, roll, or pizza dough. There are also recipes for lacto-fermented veggies, like sauerkraut you can use your whey in.

      Delete
  26. Hi Julie, I made this once & it turned out great. Thanks for the recipe! My youngest son just got back from (Army) Reserves training so I am in the process of making another batch. He loves it! We took the whey from batch #1 and froze it in ice cube trays. My son blends it into smoothies for the extra protein :)
    Thanks again... Joanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joanne!
      That's wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad your son loves the yogurt and has found a great, healthy way to use the whey!

      Tell your son "Thank you", from me for helping to keep us safe. You must be so proud of him!

      Delete
  27. Do you have to drain the whey off the yogurt or can you leave it and have a thinner yogurt?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michele,
      You can certainly not drain the whey off of the yogurt . . . but you will no longer be making Greek yogurt.

      Delete
  28. HI Julie!

    My husband and I love this yogurt recipe! We have been used Skim Milk to make it and we really want to get some great use out of the whey and not let it go to waste. I was wondering if you had any insight into what that whey really is, especially if we used skim milk. Would it also be nonfat since the milk was nonfat, and mainly just protein or what is it composed of? I know you said we could use it in place of oils in breads...would it still work if it was whey from skim milk and do you use the same amount of whey as the amount of oil the recipe calls for? Any other ideas of how we could use the whey or what whey from skim milk is all about? I tried looking up nutrition content for skim milk whey but didn't find anything online! Thanks for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Kate!
    Glad you are enjoying my yogurt recipe!

    Whey can be used in place of water in bread making, in cookies, pancakes etc. You can also add a small amount to homemade salad dressings and mayo to give it a 3 week shelf life instead of a week in the refrigerator. Whey may also be used in lacto-fermentation of kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut . . . Hope this gives you some ideas for further research!

    ReplyDelete
  30. That's neat--we actually want to try kimchi! What do you replace with whey in a kimchi recipe? Also, what are the nutrition facts of your Greek Yogurt, Julie? (protein, cals per serving, what is a serving size, etc?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate!
      You replace 1 tablespoon of the sea salt with 4 tablespoons on whey in a 2 quart kimchi recipe.

      In answer to your question about serving size, right now I am using 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup glass containers for my yogurt. I have no idea about nutritional value, it would vary depending on what kind of milk you use and the fruits and sweeteners you added.

      You can find many lacto-fermented recipes for fruits and veggies in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. The book is quite pricey, but well worth the cost! You can order it through my blog and I get credit with Amazon.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your prompt and helpful responses, Julie! ;)

      Delete
  31. I am lactose intolerant. Do you think this would work with lactose-free milk? I do love the idea of making my own yogurt! I think this is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Em!
      I've read that the yogurt culture actually eats the lactose, so, in theory if you let the yogurt sit out long enough there should be no lactose in it. That's why it turns tangy the longer it sits out because the culture is living off the sugars (lactose). Maybe do a bit more research and then give it a try.

      Good Luck!
      xxxx

      Delete
  32. Hi There,
    I found your site when I was trying to find a way to make yogurt in the crockpot. This is only my second time making it. The first time turned out great! This time, however, I got distracted and wasn't thinking. When the timer went off to start allowing the milk to "cool down", I got a step ahead and added the cultures before letting it sit. I just wasn't thinking and am wondering if there is anything that I can do to save the yogurt. Have I ruined it? Would appreciate any advice at all.
    Thank you so much!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie!
      I've done the same thing before and threw it away because I killed the culture! But, I've been thinking that if the milk didn't sit out too long and sour, you might be able to take it through the the complete process again. You'd have to start with it refrigerated and then bring it back up to temperature on low in the crock pot, cool it down, and then add the new culture.

      Let me know how it goes! : - )

      Delete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am just straining my 2nd batch of this wonderful yogurt - this time I used 1% milk (had accidentally bought 3 jugs of it, thinking we were low on milk and not checking the spare fridge in the garage!!!) It worked just fine! I made some mango puree to mix in with it this time and can't wait to try it! Thank you for sharing this great recipe. My husband goes through tonnes of yogurt and this will help cut down the cost a bit! I'm also glad I researched a bit before making it since I wanted to add a sweetener or flavouring like vanilla, but but since that might interfere with the process, I'm just waiting until it's strained and I'll add some vanilla and maybe some sugar or honey for my husband (I don't mind it plain or just with the pureed fruit. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hey Kim!
    Glad this recipe works for you! You are right to wait to add the sweetener and vanilla until after the yogurt has been cultured and strained.

    I always add vanilla to my cherry yogurt, along with maple syrup for sweetener. I love mango yogurt but keep it chunky! :0)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Julie,
    I just attempted my first batch (using a bigger crock and yogurmet powdered yogurt starter)and unfortunately, it came out like milk. I am going to try it again (using the same batch)and hope it works the second time. Do you know if it will work using the powdered yogurt starter or does it HAVE to be yogurt?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh (me again), do I leave it on the counter to cool with a towel for 12 hours or do I put it in the fridge? Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  38. Actually, I started to heat it up again in the crock and after about 15 mins, I noticed it was starting to thicken. Maybe I just didn't wait long enough the first time, so I turned the crock off again and will leave it for another couple hours and see if it works. So excited!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I've never used powdered starter, so I can't answer your question. With live culture yogurt, the timing to heat your milk, timing to cool down so you don't kill your starter, and timing to allow culture to culture the entire batch in a warm (under the towel) environment is very important. The same would also be true for powdered culture but not sure if the timing will be the same.

      Good Luck!

      Delete
  39. Thanks for the post! I had fun experimenting with this and it tastes great! My yogurt was really thin though even after draining the way. I only did a half batch and just tried to watch the temps as directed (I heated 2 and 45min on low, then cooled to 110 degrees). Even after losing a cup of whey off my half batch it is still a little thinner than store bought regular yogurt. Is that the way it is suppose to be? I used 2% Horizon organic milk. I know you said full fat but the post underneath said 2% should be fine. Thanks for any advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Wannabe Molly,
      I'm not sure why your yogurt was thin. . . I've never done a half batch before. You certainly had your temp right to start with. It might effect how warm the culture remains under the towels. Also, was your yogurt culture fresh?

      Mine is always very thick after refrigerating, like Greek yogurt is supposed to be.

      Sorry I couldn't be of more help! Don't give up!

      xxx
      Julie

      Delete
  40. Julie-- Thanks for posting this recipe. I gave it a try and posted about it on my blog and loved it!!! I think it will be a regular at our place, thank you!
    Amber
    http://talesofdomestica.blogspot.com/2013/05/crock-pot-greek-yogurt.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Amber,
      Thank you! So glad you found my recipe for Easy Greek Crock Pot Yogurt . . . It is definitely a favorite are our house!

      Delete
  41. Julie, I don't use cow's milk anymore, do you know if I can use this method with Almond milk and plain pectin free almond milk yogurt as my starter?
    I love & miss my Greek yogurt and would love to be able to make my own, as the commercially made almond milk yogurt is VERY expensive.

    Hopefully,
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Lisa,
    You shouldn't have any trouble converting my recipe to almond milk Greek yogurt. If you have a quality almond yogurt without pectin and with live cultures, just follow my recipe and, and you'll have delicious homemade Greek yogurt . . . Your way!

    Please let me know how it turns out . . .

    xxx
    Julie

    ReplyDelete

Your comments and questions are welcomed . . .