Thursday, February 14, 2013

Easy-Peasy Homemade Greek Yogurt *Recipe

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Warning: Picture Ladden Blog Tutorial!
Why: Because I learn better with pictures and because I have done this wrong more times than I'd like to admit.  Pictures help you do it right!

2nd Warning: You will love your own yogurt so much you will never waste money on store bought again. Unless of course you run out during the summer because the kids eat it like ice cream. :)

I can be a slow learner. Gulp. Tough to admit but true nonetheless. So when I first decided to make yogurt I scoured the internet. I pinned on Pinterest. I searched cookbooks and photocopied recipes from the 70's. Everyone had the best idea and way to do it. They were all similar, and yet the steps were sometimes different. After wading through the helpful Blogosphere and checking on all types of milk and yogurts to culture with (did you know you can buy just the culture through the internet?) I came up with a pretty solid plan. I have now been successfully making yogurt for almost a year.

Easy-Peasy with these directions. I'll be sure to let you in on the whoopsies I had along the way and hopefully you can avoid them. :)

Easy-Peasy Greek Yogurt

Start with about one gallon of milk. We have tried whole, 2%, and skim. I like the skim milk yogurt because it has more 'bite' to it. I have also tried organic and there was no noticeable difference. I have a friend that uses raw milk and she says it is divine. Heat this milk till it is warm enough to be uncomfortable if you dip your pinky in for more than 20 seconds. Totally scientific, huh? If it is too hot it will kill the yogurt culture. Too cold and it won't grow properly. I usually stick it in the Crockpot on low for about an hour or so. Stir occasionally. (Do not be embarrassed to set a timer to remember to stir it. I would forget to change clothes out of the dryer if I didn't set the timer.)

You will need a 1/4 -1/2 cup of a yogurt culture to start your batch. I use a plain Greek yogurt. The plain regular style yogurt will work as well but I have had better and more consistent results with a Greek style thick yogurt.

When the milk is warm take about 1 cup of it and place in a bowl with 1/4-to 1/2 cups of the store-bought yogurt. This is a tempering process. You want to slowly incorporate the yogurt to the milk in the Crockpot and keep the temperature fairly even. By adding a small amount of milk to your yogurt and then mixing it you have a thinner yogurt culture and a similar temperature to place back into Crockpot.

Once the yogurt and 1 cup of milk are mixed it looks like this. Pour this mixture back into the Crockpot.

Pour it slowly. 

Give it a gentle stir to incorporate your tempered yogurt mixture into the warm milk in the Crockpot.

Unplug it! (Please don't forget this while you are answering the phone and a question about fractions while sending your toddler to take a potty break.) Place a lid on it. I like to flip the lid upside down so it sits tighter.

Now I usually cover the Crockpot in numerous bath towels and leave it covered on the counter for about 10 hours or overnight. The towels act as an incubator to keep the heat in and help the yogurt to form within the Crock. This works so surprisingly well! However, if you don't have a lot of counter space.....

... you can place it in your empty, cold oven wrapped in towels overnight and up to 12 hours. From personal experience and a melted Crockpot I will insist you find some way to remember that you have a Crockpot and a bunch of flammable towels In Your Oven. I use a sticky note that resides on my 'Bake On' button the moment I place that yogurt in the oven. Trust me when I tell you melted Crockpot electric cord and singed towels stinks up your house and causes your 9 year old to consider calling 911. Use the Sticky Note. :)

Okay! It has been 10 hours! This is a properly set yogurt. It is firm and jiggly; a bit like jello. There is some liquid around it. That is whey. 

Line a large colander with some cheesecloth. This is a double layer because I cut it too short in my it is the beginning of the day and I am half asleep so where in the world is my coffee stupor. Usually I use a single layer. Place that lined colander over a mixing bowl.

Pour the yogurt into the colander. 
If you want a regular style yogurt after this initial straining you are done. 
Place in the fridge and eat up!

If you are looking for Greek yogurt then fold the cheesecloth over the yogurt and place in fridge. Let it strain. Anywhere from 3 hours till 6. Let it go too long and you will have a Ricotta style soft cheese.

The yogurt will be very firm and creamy. Usually there is a slight indentation of the cheesecloth on the yogurt.

Pull the cheesecloth off and place your Greek Yogurt into a storage container.

There it is! I store mine in a small Rubbermaid container. This one has a 4 cup capacity.

Don't throw out the whey that has strained out of the yogurt. It can be used in place of milk in most any baking item or for cooking. I have used it in homemade bread, pancakes, and homemade hamburger hotdish. 
Store in the fridge in another container. 
Please don't put it in a juice pitcher because some unsuspecting teenager or husband may think it is lemonade and have a very large swig. It does not taste like lemonade. 

 Serve with honey or homemade preserves and some granola. Yumm-o!

We also use Greek Yogurt in place of sour cream, for recipes asking for mayo and in any dips I make.


Always Blessed,
Gretchen :)

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  1. I'm pinning this one too!! I love yogurt and especially Greek yogurt. I've made yogurt but would love a Greek recipe. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home. I am so thankful that you are part of the community.

    1. Judith, I am so grateful you are hosting such a wonderful linky Party! This is the best yogurt! I love a nice thick creamy protein packed yummy yogurt. :)

  2. I haven't made this in a while--love the tips about regular vs. Greek yogurt. And I'm still smiling about this: "Trust me when I tell you melted Crockpot electric cord and singed towels stinks up your house and causes your 9 year old to consider calling 911. Use the Sticky Note. :)". Too funny!

    1. Ha ha! True story! It was awful! My brain just gets too full sometimes and I forget things way to easily! Glad you stopped by! :)

  3. Have you ever tried adding a flavoring to the yogurt? I've never made my own but I think I might give it a try. Do you think you could successfully add vanilla or blueberries ect?

    Thank you so much for your simple directions btw!!

    1. You are very welcome!

      I haven't added flavorings. I did read of a lady who made her yogurt and the portioned it out into small 4 oz Tupperware containers with fruit on the bottom. That way they were readily available for the week for lunches and such. We usually add some fruit or preserves, honey or real maple syrup when we dish it up. My daughter loves it with honey and a couple drops of vanilla extract. :)

  4. Diabetics that love having yogurt but are worried about the sugar content that will go into their bodies can rejoice with some greek yogurt recipes. greek yogurt

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