Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Yoghurt

We must really be getting back into the swing of things because yesterday I made yoghurt in the slow cooker. Noah is nine months old and that seems like a good time for yoghurt. Sorry, Americans, the spell check is angry but this is how I spell yogurt.

3:30pm: I put some pasteurized whole milk (almost a half-gallon) in the slow cooker, had it on low for 3 hours
Unplugged the slow cooker and let it cool down for 2.5 hours (Using a meat thermometer, checked that the temp was below 110F before the next step, as the bacteria in the yoghurt will die at temps above 110F.)
Took a bowl of the warm milk out, and mixed about 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt in.
Put the mixture back in the unplugged slow cooker.
Wrapped the slow cooker in a towel to slow the cooling process.
5am this morning: Plain Yoghurt!

The only question I have at the moment is whether I should scale the quantity down, because we don't realistically eat that much yoghurt in a week, but I'm so excited about the simplicity of the process and the fact that absolutely no packaging for yoghurt will be necessary ever again. (Yes, when I commit to something, I really commit.)

That leads you to the question of milk packaging! Inspired by the Archibald's milk priority list, I've switched to Crescent Ridge Dairy, which comes in glass bottles that you return to Whole Foods. I've never visited Crescent Ridge, so I'm not sure what they're like, but they're local (Sharon) and our milk-related trash is significantly reduced. Also, their milk is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized. In addition to mattering for general consumption, this matters for yoghurt making (some commenters say that the ultra-pasteurized doesn't work)

As an aside, the baking soda-instead-of-shampoo experiment worked just fine in South Africa, even when it was pretty hot.


Vanessa said...

Haha...Jo, you are so inspiring! Believe it or not, I have had all the ingredients for making slow-cooker yoghurt several times already, but everytime I am actually ready to start the process, I realize that someone drank some of my special not-ultrapasteurized milk (at our local store the only "good" milk seems to be ultrapasteurized), and I am forced to wait until the next major store run...but this week I really hope to get my act together! I read somewhere that you can freeze yoghurt without the bacteria dying, so if you're ever in a bind and don't have time to start the next batch before the old one goes bad, I think you should be able to just pop it in the freezer until you do need it (unproven, but I have some in the freezer right now so soon I will know for sure). Probably not good for eating out of the freezer though...just for bacteria cultures.

Halving the recipe sounds like a great idea to me.

How does it taste? And how thick did yours turn out?

Bridggymama said...

ohhh that seems easier than the method I use. isn't it a pain to find non0ultra pasteurized milk?? that's alot more yogurt than I use tough, I think mine is 2tbs for every quart or something.

Iknow it holds up in the freezer well because in my version you put it in there for an hour to thicken it up mpre nd sometimes I forget it in there ;) comes out fine when it thaws. we eat our up fast in our granola or the kids devour it fir breakfast!

Concrete Gardener said...

I'll bet I could use a lot less yoghurt-- I think this was kinda a beginner's recipe. That said, I'll just use the yoghurt from this recipe to make the next batch, so it doesn't matter too much how much yoghurt we start with.

At first I wasn't sure where to find the non-ultra pasteurized stuff, but it just happened that the milk we now drink is just pasteurized. I've found a few brands out there that aren't ultra, and usually the price seems about the same whether pasteurized or ultra-- the same being between 3 and 4 dollars for a half-gallon, so double the cost of Garelick Farms...

Bridggymama said...

I did it, I made the yogurt this way last night :) I finished it off by putting it in jars than in the freezer for 1 hour, it definitely thickened up and tastes yummy :) woo hoo thanks, pretty good method, though My crockpot was cooling down too fast so I wrapped it in a towel and threw it in my ooler w/ a pot of freshly boiled water to keep it warmer longer.

Concrete Gardener said...

That's cool! By the way, did you use ultra-pasteurized milk? Some internet sites said that it might be ok, so I'd be interested to know.

I've put half of my yoghurt in the freezer-- I've never tried freezing yoghurt, so I'm interested in how it turns out. Oh woops. Duhh. Frozen Yoghurt. It's a Thing.