Sunday, March 4, 2012

Easy Crock Pot Greek Yogurt

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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!!!