I love making my own yogurt for a few reasons – the main one being that I can control exactly what goes in it. If you read the ingredient list of some of the yogurts you find in the supermarket, you begin to wonder why there are so many ingredients listed. Seriously, when you make your own, the list is soooo much shorter. And when making yogurt in the crockpot is so simple, why wouldn’t you do it?
Another reason I love making my own yogurt is the ability to make it whatever flavor I choose. I get bored with the basic strawberry or blueberry pretty quickly and like to come up with my own unique combinations and flavors. My latest favorite is Lingonberry Yogurt!
I can’t take full credit for this one though. We received a generous delivery of Felix Lingonberry Jams and were enjoying them on our toast one morning. Josh was particularly loving the blueberry and lingonberry combination and wished out loud that yogurt came in this flavor. As soon as he left for school, I set about making some!
Making yogurt in the crockpot is surprisingly easy!
Honestly, the hardest part of the whole process is finding milk that is not ultra-pasteurized. You can use pasteurized milk, just not ULTRA-pasteurized. Luckily, we have a local dairy that sells just pasteurized milk in most of the local grocery stores.
You will also need some starter culture, probably from some live culture yogurt you already have or you can buy a small container. Don’t worry, after your first batch, you can use your own yogurt in future batches!
I use a four or six quart slow cooker. Start by turning it to low.
Pour in 8 cups (a half gallon) of your milk. I use whole milk because I love the creaminess, but you can use 2% if you prefer. I have heard mixed reviews on skim and never tried it myself.
Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.
After 2 1/2 hours, unplug your crockpot and let it sit for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, measure about 2 cups of milk from the crockpot and put in a medium bowl.
Stir in 1/2 C of starter (live culture yogurt). Whisk it make sure it is fully combined.
Pour milk and starter mixture back into the crockpot and stir.
Keeping crockpot unplugged, wrap the entire slow cooker with a thick bath towel.
Let it sit for at least 8 hours. I like to time the whole process so that it sits overnight. (Doesn’t it look like it’s in a fuzzy bathrobe?)
After it sits for 8 hours, you will have a very runny version of yogurt – more like Kefir.
If you and your family prefer thicker yogurt, you can strain it with a coffee filter or cheese cloth. The longer you let it drain, the thicker it gets. You can even create Greek style yogurt by letting most of the liquid strain off.
Now comes the fun part – creating your flavors!
I created two different styles of Lingonberry Yogurt. First I took some of the yogurt and blended it in the blender with the Felix Lingonberry Jam. I just added spoonfuls of jam until it reached the flavor I was looking for.
Next, I created some “fruit on the bottom” style yogurt. I simply covered the bottom of my container with jam and spooned yogurt on top of it.
So, how crazy easy was that?
You can grab the cute little jars I used here.