Are you a homemade yoghurt maker? Have you tried making it in your slow cooker? It’s so easy – if you have a slow cooker and a thermometer, then there is no reason not to give it a go.
I can’t take the credit for this recipe/method – I came across it in Sarah Flower’s ‘Low Carb Slow Cooker’ cookery book. But, even though I cook from scratch, yoghurt is something I just hadn’t tried. All the recipes & methods I’d come across just didn’t appeal. Many of the recipes used dried skimmed milk powder for one thing – no thanks! So, I simply bought organic, natural yoghurt.
I saw this and not only did the method appeal the ingredients were simply milk and cream with yoghurt. What’s not to like? It also means cutting down on plastic (my other obsession at the moment) by not having to buy yoghurt again.
You do need a slow cooker, of course, and a thermometer suitable for food use (digital or not). I’ve experimented with using Sarah’s recipe of combined milk and cream, but have also used just milk with the same great results. And, if you just use milk, it works out a lot cheaper. In fact, this works out a lot cheaper than buying yoghurt.
I’ve also gone wrong, which you will see further down in the blog, but managed to salvage it and still produce a thick and creamy yoghurt.
The overall time is around 18-20 hours, but the actual hands on time, just 10-15 minutes!
What Equipment Do You Need?
- Slow cooker
- Thermometer suitable for food use
- Measuring jug or scales
- Small bowl
- Large, clean towel
- Large bowl
- Piece of muslin bigger than the colander
What Ingredients Do You Need?
- EITHER 1 litre milk (whole preferably) + 250ml cream
- OR 1.25 litres milk
- 5 tablespoons live, natural yoghurt (Yeo Valley is a good one)
What Do I Need To Do?
- Pour the milk or milk and cream into the slow cooker. Pop on the lid, set to high and leave for a couple of hours.
- Check the temperature – once it reaches between 80-85C, switch off the slow cooker.
- Leave the lid on and leave for another couple of hours for the temperature to reduce to 40-45C.
- Take out a ladle of the milk or milk/cream mixture and put into a small bowl – mix in the 5 tablespoons of live yoghurt.
- Drizzle the yoghurt mixture into the slow cooker – don’t mix, just drizzle.
- Now, what you do next depends on the time of year and/or temperature in your kitchen –
- If it’s summer or if the room is warm, simply pop the lid back on the slow cooker, wrap the slow cooker in the towel and leave overnight or for 10-12 hours.
- If it’s winter and the room is cold (or you switch the heating off at night), pop the lid back on, wrap the slow cooker in the towel and put it into your oven with just the pilot light on. Again, leave overnight or for 10-12 hours.
- When ready, get your large bowl and place the colander over it – it has to balance on the bowl.
- Place the muslin in the colander, making sure it overlaps the edges comfortably.
- Pour the yoghurt into the muslin covered colander and leave for a couple of hours for the whey to drip into the bowl – you now have lovely, homemade, thick yoghurt. No nasty additives – just lovely, creamy yoghurt. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Now, whatever you do – don’t throw away the whey! A simple Google search will show loads of ways to use it – you can store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks and it will also freeze. I’ve been using mine instead of water when making our bread – it gives a lovely sourdough tang.
I mentioned earlier that, believe it or not, I’ve gone wrong with this recipe! How, with something so simple? Well, I simply got distracted while doing multiple things, wrapped the slow cooker in the towel and popped it in the oven overnight without putting in the yoghurt (doh!). But, all was not lost – I simply switched the slow cooker back on and took the temperature back up to 40-45C, added the yoghurt and left it overnight again. It was perfectly fine albeit thicker than normal.
Now, don’t forget to keep some of that lovely homemade yoghurt to make your next batch!
Since coming across this method, I’ve found another fantastic book called ‘The Creamery Kitchen’ by Jenny Linford – easy, simple methods for making all things dairy (although have been making my own buttermilk for years). So, watch this space – I feel another obsession coming on!