March 5, 2010

Crockpot Yogurt

Okay, so I've finally become one of "those" people...sort of.  I've wanted to be one of "those" people for a long time-you know the kind of people that make their own yogurt, granola, etc.

I found this recipe from the Crazy Crockpot lady who used the crockpot to cook every day in 2008.  If you can pour milk into a crockpot then you can make your own yogurt!! It's seriously that easy.

I can usually get my organic milk marked down for $2-3/gallon at Kroger.  But even if you can't get organic (if you want to drink that) milk marked down, this will still be much cheaper than buying organic yogurt...I used to think getting a  6 pack of those teeny tiny 4 oz YoBaby Yogurts for $2 was a great deal!

Edited to Add (03/26/2010):

The following is the original recipe from the Crockpot Lady with my revisions in RED:

The Ingredients.

--8 cups (half-gallon) of whole milk--pasteurized and homogenized is fine, but do NOT use ultra-pasteurized. (Debbie recommends starting with whole milk until you get the hang of yogurt-making)
--1/2 cup store-bought natural, live/active culture plain yogurt (you need to have a starter. Once you have made your own, you can use that as a starter-But only every other time! Every other batch needs a new "starter" from the store.  When I first make a batch, I use the 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt to add the live cultures to the warm milk.  The second time I make it, I use a starter from the "crockpot yogurt" batch.  But I've learned that the next batch (the third), needs a new starter from "store bought yogurt" otherwise it is very runny or MUCH less like yogurt tasting. So...every other batch. I've been buying a large (32 oz) container of yogurt (organic lasts longer than non-organic) for every other batch.)

--frozen/fresh fruit for flavoring
--thick bath towel
The Directions.
This takes a while. Make your yogurt on a weekend day when you are home to monitor.
I used a 4 quart crockpot. This is so exciting. My fingers are shaking!
Plug in your crockpot and turn to low. Add an entire half gallon of milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.

Unplug your crockpot. Leave the cover on, and let it sit for 3 hours.
When 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and put it in a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 cup of store-bought live/active culture yogurt. Then dump the bowl contents back into the crockpot. Stir to combine.

Put the lid back on yourcrockpot. Keep it unplugged, and wrap a heavy bath towel all the way around the crock forinsulation.

Go to bed, or let it sit for 8 hours.
In the morning, the yogurt will have thickened---it's not as thick as store-bought yogurt, but has the consistency of low-fat plain yogurt.
Blend in batches with your favorite fruit. I did mango, strawberry, and blueberry. When you blend in the fruit, bubbles will form and might bother you. They aren't a big deal, and will settle eventually.
Chill in a plastic container(s) in the refrigerator. Your fresh yogurt will last 7-10 days. Save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch.

I've only used whole milk while making this, so I can't say if anything else will turn out as thick...but we haven't noticed a difference! We've been using it in our smoothies.  (We've just started drinking green smoothies.  I am experimenting to see if we eat enough lutein, if it can improve Charlie's vision to where he wouldn't need to wear glasses.  I love him in his glasses-he looks so adorable-but, he hates wearing them.  I first heard about this concept from this video...about 2:50 into it. )

I also like to eat this yogurt with a bowl of frozen blueberries! It is such a yummy treat when I am craving sugar!

My kids LOVE eating frozen GoGurts which they refer to as "yogurt pops".  I can get them for so super cheap using coupons so it's been tempting to not buy them for a quick, easy and almost free snack.  But since we've been on the quest to slowly eliminate HFCS and other weird chemicals from our food, Charlie finally put his foot down and said no more.  So...I've had to be creative.

By blending frozen fruit with our homemade yogurt and some agave nectar (which I am still on the fence about since I hear differing reports depending on what I read...does anyone out there know if this is really a better alternative to sugar? or is honey still better? or could you at least break it down for me in laymen terms?) and freezing them in popsicle molds, we've been enjoying our homemade yogurt pops!  (If not now, you should be able to find these really soon at Walmart or Target in their seasonal spring/summer aisle.)

Now, I'm on the mission to find some homemade granola recipes.  Do you have any that you've tried that you LOVE?!


Rachel said...

Good for you, Kirby! I love making my own yogurt. It is so easy and cheap. I make green smoothies (but without yogurt) and freeze them for my kids as popsicles, too. They gobble them up! I don't put any sweeteners in them, but find that fruit is enough, particularly if I make them with a fruit juice base like OJ or pineapple juice. To sweeten my yogurt for eating by itself or with granola, I add honey or evaporated cane juice. Honey can settle in the bottom, so be sure to stir it up well.

This is hands down the best granola recipe I have found:

Jennifer :) said...

I just love your blog! Thanks for all the great tips you give on here! :) Here are a couple of granola bar recipes I've tried, and I love them both! On the peanut butter granola recipe, I substituted honey for the corn syrup, and just left out any extras I didn't want in there. I love both recipes! :)

Ryan and Cate Shipley said...

yayyy I'm so excited about this! Just this last night I ruined my 3rd batch of yogurt (to my defense, my husband turned off the oven light that was keeping it warm).
So, I'm SO excited that you can do it in the crockpot! AND that there are only 2 ingredients!
thanks for sharing!

The Kramer Family said...

yum! this was on my "to do" this week. We have some raw milk about to go bad. i was going to try the crockpot method, so i'm glad to hear you love it!

i'd love to try rachel's granola recipe. looks yummy. i made some this week, but didn't LOVE it.

love you!

Erin said...

i have so been 'about to' try making yogurt (for quite some time...) but am still intimidated by it. i might try this! we are currently obsessed with raw milk (we've gone through 5+ gallons in 2 weeks :-o) and it's still cheaper to use the raw milk to make yogurt than to buy it. and i am solidly on the side of agave nectar being bad...but i sure wish it wasn't. so let me know if you find something that can change my mind - we have 2 bottles sitting in our pantry. i kind of think raw honey or something truly natural is best...and i really want to try rapadura or sucanat if i can figure out where to get it. caleb will eat plain yogurt by itself and loved the raw goat milk kefir he tried at a farmer's market the other day (talk about sour!) so as long as i can i am just going to keep it plain! okay, i'm gonna be quiet now :-) thanks for sharing this! keep it coming!

The Lourceys said...

I make my own yogurt too. We have smoothies 3 or 4 mornings a week and I don't add any sweetener of any kind to them. I normally use a somewhat ripe banana and/or pineapple to sweeten. I would assume that it would be sweet enough for the yogurt pops too. What a great idea!

Kirby said...

Lyns & Erin, I can't wait to see how it does with raw milk (I don't know why it would be any different.) We are getting ready to make the raw dairy plunge with all of this multi-million $ companies treating employees unfairly junk! So, let me know how it works when you do it, okay?

Lyns, I was hoping you'd chime in with your thoughts on the whole agave nectar thing! Erin, I am starting to think that this might be our first and last bottle of agave...I think that's great that Caleb loves the plain...I would definitely keep it going like that since he knows NO DIFFERENT!!

Emily! You're so smart! I didn't even think about NOT adding sweetener! We don't add any to our smoothies and they like them just fine, so the yogurt pops shouldn't be any different! Rachel, you idea on using real fruit juice was good, too. I'll have to see what they like best! Soon, I'd like to "become" a juicer...maybe one day.

The Kramer Family said...

hey girlie!

welp. my stance on agave nectar is that it's a man-made sugar with lots of chemical processes involved to get the product known as "Agave Nectar".

so, I'm still a fan of maple syrup and honey. i haven't tried rapadura because we can't find it locally and I haven't taken the time to look up a source online. Stevia is another one you'll read that is controversial- but Stevia (in my opinion) isn't bad.

I get most of my info on this type of stuff at The Weston A. Price Foundation. They are a non-profit health organization that I highly respect. They aren't funded by any research companies nor the government- just its members. So, they truly value the info they put out there as being helpful for people and not pushing labels.

A good article to read on Agave is

It's a lengthy article, but towards the end it really nails Agave.

Oh, and you can become a member of the Weston A Price foundation for $40 I believe and receive their publications every month. I learn the MOST from these and browsing their website.

Hope this helps:)


Grace Family said...

just chiming in... juicers are awesome! i got a champion in january and LOVE it! It makes baby food so easily too! I drink at least 2-3 glasses of carrot juice/day and truly find it to be delicious! i have a lot of health problems and have seen a significant improvement with this alongside a major change in my diet. just fyi!

working on getting the 3 yr old to drink some too and it's taking some time. hoping that ryan will never know any different.

oh, and homemade yogurt... i'm going to have to try it! i'm doing all homemade baby food (saving a ton of $) and this will be one more way to do that. thanks!

Jennifer Hubley said...

Thanks for sharing Kirby! Hannah LOVES the YoBaby yogurt, so I am excited to try this...and oh how I LOVE my crockpot!