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"Greek" Yogurt out of my Crock Pot

Ever since I read the ingredients list on a container of the goop they call "jogurt" in this country, I have been making my own jogurt at home. Long before "greek jogurt" officially became America's favorite, I was enjoying it for breakfast daily, at about half to price of store-bought. 

The process is simple, the results taste fabulous, but I saw room for improvement. My 2-quart jogurt maker renders 1 quart of finished product, so I had to make two batches per week. Also, the inner container of my jogurt maker is made out of plastic, and I always wondered how much of that was seeping into my jogurt during 12 hours of incubating a slightly acidic substance at about 95°F. 

Recently I had an idea that would solve both problems: my crock pot!
Now I make jogurt only once a week; and it sits in the ceramic insert of my slow-cooker during fermentation.

If you would like to try it for yourself, here's what you need:

  • 1 crock-pot, 5 quarts capacity or more
  • 1 gallon of milk
  • 2 cups of plain, natural jogurt with live cultures and absolutely no additives (Dannon, Chobani, or Fage)
  • 2 big 8-inch strainers
  • 2 cheesecloths
  • 2 mason jars, 1 quart capacity each, with caps

CrockPot.jpgTurn your crock-pot on at the lowest setting. Mine has "buffet", but "low" will be OK too. While the crock-pot warms up, heat the gallon of milk in a big pot. You need to constantly stir that and watch the temperature. The milk should be at about 95°C (or body temperature) before you proceed.

Mix 2 cups of plain natural jogurt into the warm milk, then pour the mixture into the crock-pot. Make sure it is well blended without any chunks of jogurt floating around in the milk. Now turn the crock-pot off. This is important! If you leave the crock-pot on, it will get too hot and your jogurt cultures will die. Just let the pot sit there undisturbed for about 12 hours.

When you see the whey separate from the jogurt a little bit, and the stuff in the crock-pot seems noticeably thicker, prepare two strainers. Line them with cheesecloth and set them up over large enough bowls. Now pour your jogurt out of the crock-pot into those two strainers and let the whey drain out. You can check once in a while to see if your jogurt has the desired creamy texture.

After another two to four hours of draining you'll end up with two quarts of the most delicious, healthy, creamy "greek" jogurt you've ever had. Fill that into the mason jars and store it in the refrigerator. 


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