Slow cooker yoghurt

Monday, June 18, 2012

I have been wanting to learn as much as possible about dairy production as we are hoping that come spring Bessy will have dropped a calf & we will be able to milk her.  Of course at the moment it is just speculation with me thinking she must be pregnant & Dave wondering.  Since it isn't close enough to notice a change in her bag of milk, we're just going to wait & see. (Yes, we know there are pregnancy tests ~ No, we aren't going to try that ~ we need to build a stall first).

In the meantime I've been playing with making yoghurt.  Our children love yoghurt, but if you are anything like me, you have to fit it into the budget & let's face it, yoghurt is expensive.

I always thought yoghurt making was time consuming & difficult, well you can only imagine how delighted I was to find it was neither of these.  In fact yoghurt making is incredibly easy & the yoghurt you make at home tastes so much nicer than the store brought.   It takes very little time, although I do recommend you doing it on a day you intend to stay at home for the afternoon.  We are now making this each week & my yoghurt eaters are thoroughly enjoying every bit & of course I'm happy because fresh yoghurt is so much better for you & it doesn't contain the extra sugars the store brought ones often do.

I  thought I'd share my recipe with you should you be considering having a go.  I highly recommend it!!!


INGREDIENTS:  I find I need to plan ahead to make sure I have enough milk in the house ~ 4L milk ( I've only used full cream, but I have heard you can successfully make it with skim~ I'd love to hear how it goes if you do);   1 cup of natural yoghurt ~ either saved from a previous batch or it I haven't had time to save any I buy a small cup & it works.

I recommend beginning early afternoon.

STEP ONE:  Pour 4 Litres of milk into your slow cooker & turn onto LOW.

STEP TWO:  After about 2 hours begin to check the temperature.  You need it to get it to 85 degrees Celcius ( 180 F).  My slow cooker takes 3 hours to get to this, but begin checking earlier.

STEP THREE: Turn off the slow cooker & wait another couple of hours.  You need the temperature to cool down to 45 degrees Celcius ( 115 F).  Again my slow cooker takes 3 hours to reach this temperature, but you need to get to know your own slow cooker.

STEP FOUR:  Once the lower temperature is reached add your cup of yoghurt.  Stir well.
 It is at this point that I always wonder how successful it can be as it seems to be such a tiny amount of yoghurt to add to a big pot of milk.

STEP FIVE:  Cover your slow cooker with blankets ~ yes it looks strange, but trust me on this one :)
Leave overnight.

STEP SIX:  In the morning remove the blankets & you should have yoghurt.  You can use it like this, but it will be quite thin.  It is a personal preference, but I recommend draining it.

STEP SEVEN (if you want it thicker):  Drain the yoghurt.  I use a sieve covered with a cheesecloth that is folded so that it is 4 layers thick.  You need to allow it to drain slowly, so don't stir it while draining.  Once again it depends how thick you would like it to how much you drain it.  I allow it to reduce by about 1/3rd of it's original amount ~ this gives a lovely, thick yoghurt.  I put the yoghurt in the fridge to drain,

STEP EIGHT: Whip your yoghurt ~ I use electric beaters for this, but a spoon would suffice.

STEP NINE:  Refrigerate your yoghurt.  I'm not sure how long this lasts because ours is always finished within a week, but I would think it would have a shelf life of at least a week and a half.


Some people don't like the natural yoghurt because of the tanginess, but I've found this is less tangy than some of the natural yoghurts you buy.  We love to eat it with some canned peaches mixed through (thankfully I canned a whole lot last summer)  or some cherry jam that didn't set properly.  

Have a wonderful day
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