Why homemade yogurt? It is much less expensive than buying a bunch of little cartons of premade yogurt. It is healthier too because I control what goes in to it. And, of course, most everything seems so much tastier when homemade.
Just for fun, want to know what I spent on the last batch of yogurt? I bought gallon of milk for $1.88 and paid $.95 for the Brown Cow Plain Yogurt. So, for under $3.00 I made an entire gallon of yogurt! Occasionally I see the 32 oz yogurts on sale for $2.00, but that isn't even close to a gallon. (But you knew that, huh.)
A GALLON? What am I going to do with a gallon of yogurt? Well, you could cut my recipe in half if you want, but you can do a lot with yogurt. It keeps a really long time too...that is if you don't have a lot of kids. In which case it disappears before you can turn around and say, "I love my crockpot." Here are some of the things I do with my homemade yogurt.
**Use in place of sour cream. If you use it with build your own burritos you can claim it is sauce instead of sour cream in case you have skeptical eaters.
**Add it to fruit shakes for an extra creamy delight
**Make fruit & yogurt parfaits for breakfast by layering flavored yogurt, granola and various fruits and berries in a bowl. If you use a see through bowl, it makes a pretty presentation. (Yes, I am stealing this idea from my sis. You can see her other great recipes at her unprocessed recipes blog.)
**Combine yogurt with a little lemon and sweetening for a yummy dip for apples and other fruit. **Make salad dressing with it.
**Drizzle over pancakes or waffles (My favorite recipe here)
**Eat it as regular yogurt
Here's what I do to make the yogurt:
1 gallon of whole milk
4 oz or more Brown Cow plain yogurt (Can use other brands, but this is best. Find in health food section usually)
Pour the milk into the crockpot first thing in the morning. Turn the crockpot on low. I tuck my thermometer along the edge of the lid. When it gets to about 178 to 180 degrees, turn the crockpot off and remove the lid. This site says that you can actually just turn the crockpot on for 2 1/2 hours and not worry about the temperature. This will probably work just fine. I haven't tried it yet, but the people that commented said it works too.
When the milk has cooled to 120 degrees, scoop out about 1 cup of the milk and mix it with the yogurt. (The site mentioned above says do this after the crockpot has been off for 3 hours) Add this mixture to the crockpot.
Put the lid back on the crockpot and cover it with a couple of nice fluffy towels and/or a big ol' Mexican blanket like I did. Then, just leave it alone. You don't need the thermometer or anything. Just let it sit. NO PEEKING!
When you are ready to go to bed at night, remove the towels. Take the crockpot off its base and put it in the fridge. In the morning you will have tantalizing yogurt to eat for breakfast. This yogurt is not a thick custard style yogurt. It is creamy and smooth, but not terribly thick.
Sweeten it with jam, fruit, honey, stevia, sugar, or whatever you can imagine.
Transfer the contents to a sealable container and enjoy until it is gone. Then make some more because it is so simple!