(Scroll down for an update on an accidental tweak I’ve discovered that gives me EVEN MORE yogurt, and less whey!!!)
I haven’t done this since my 20′s, and I remember it being complicated. It isn’t! I think back then I barely even cooked, so everything seemed complicated! There are dozens of recipes on the internet, and they’re pretty much fundamentally the same. They all make ROCKING Greek Yogurt! I found I was scrolling and scrolling before coming to the how-to, so I have pared down to the essentials. If you’re looking for explanations and details, here is one of my fave sites.
I like the crockpot version; it takes about 24hrs, although the hands-on time is about 30mins. It’s a BIG cost saver too. $4.80 in BC for a 4L jug of milk, which results in 7-8 cups of Greek Yogurt and ~8 cups of Whey. Do not DISCARD the whey! There are dozens of great uses for it. It’s a fab protein source for use in smoothies, creamy soups, pastas etc. I use mine as a chicken supplement, they LOVE it. There are lots more ideas here.
Crockpot – NOTE. If you have an instant pot, it is MUCH FASTER! Less than an hour. Watch carefully. I’ve also noted that the faster I heat my milk, the more likely I am to get ‘sharper’ more ‘tangy’ yogurt, similar to store bought. I prefer the sweeter milder version.
4 Litres 2% or Homogenized Milk
Instant Read Digital Thermometer. I picked mine up for under $10
1 cup Greek Yogurt (store bought to start, then you can use a cup of the batch to start the next batch)
Cheesecloth (can get at dollar store and can wash and re-use!)
TIP! Start your Yogurt one evening as you walk in the door, it will be ready to go to bed when you do.
1. Pour your Milk into your large crockpot and turn on HIGH. Set a timer for 2-3hours! Once milk is over 180°, turn the crockpot OFF. NOTE: Not all recipes call to heat to this temp. The right heat is key to getting your yogurt to thicken properly. WATCH CLOSELY once it gets close to 180°. Once you’ve gone over 190° the yogurt is MUCH sharper/ more tart and not as creamy.
2. Take 1 cup yogurt out of your fridge and put into a bowl to bring to room temperature. Set your timer for another 2hrs. Watch for the temp of the milk in the crockpot to drop to between 110° to 115°. I typically take my liner out of the crockpot, and remove the lid so it cools faster.
3. Once the temp is between 110° and 115° – mix a few ladles of hot milk into your bowl of room temp yogurt & combine until smooth. Then, mix the bowl of yogurt into the crockpot. Use Back/forth and side to side motions NOT circular. I have no idea why. If you do, inform me!
4. Once mixed, put the lid back on and wrap your crockpot in a small blanket or large towel. Keep away from drafts, and leave undisturbed in room temp or warmer. Walk away and come back 12hrs or overnight (my preference).
5. Ready to strain! You’ll see the whey has started to separate from the milk. Line your strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl that will hold at least 8 cups of whey – I’m straining into my 12 cup Multi-Purpose Pot. It’s got the easy pour spout for using the whey later. Using a big scoop, move your soft yogurt/whey to your lined strainer. If you have a chinois or fine bouillon strainer you won’t need the cheesecloth!
6. Strain approx 4hrs at room temp for thick Greek yogurt! 7. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
*My Favorite Mix-ins – Epicure’s Chocolate Truffle or Summer Berry Mix – Top either with fresh berries and you’ll be IN LOVE! This yogurt is so creamy and amazing and not as tart, so I used even less dip mix to bring it to a perfect flavor!
UPDATE So, recently I’ve discovered a trick! We accidentally missed the 110°-115° window (step 3) when my sister was here, so she turned the crockpot back onto low to bring it up to 110°. Then continued on with the process. The resulting yogurt was EVEN THICKER with much less whey to strain. I thought it was a fluke. Last night I had the same oops. It had cooled to the 90°′s before I caught it, so I reheated to 111° and then onto step 4. Today I’ve gotten 11 cups of thick (stand up on a spoon) yogurt!! Compare the whey that seeped into the ladle hole in the ‘regular’ method to the lack of whey in the ‘oops/re-heat’ method.