At the farmers’ market last summer, MP discovered yogurt from Winter Hill Farm in Freeport. The creamy, whole milk yogurt was better than anything MP had every tasted at the store, and before long, it became a family breakfast staple.
MP considered making her own, but she worried the process would be too fussy. Plus, it was so easy to pick up a new jar at the market!
Little did she know, a Facebook post linking to a recipe for Crock Pot Greek Yogurt would change her mind. The recipe seemed so straightforward and simple, MP thought, why not give yogurt making a try?
• Half-gallon whole milk
• 1/2-cup of yogurt starter (plain yogurt)
• 1/3-cup maple syrup, or more depending on your taste
You’ll also need:
• Cheesecloth (found at hardware stores)
• Candy thermometer
• Patience (the yogurt needs to culture overnight, but good things are worth waiting for, no?)
To start, pour a half-gallon of local milk (we like Smiling Hill Farm) into the Crock Pot and set the heat to “high.” The time should be set to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Once the time is up, place a candy thermometer in your Crock Pot, keeping the bulb just above the warm base of the pot (this ensures an accurate reading). If the milk is 185º or more, turn off the Crock Pot and remove the lid.
Wait at least one hour for the milk to cool to 110º. Whisk in a half-cup of yogurt starter (plain yogurt) into the milk. Note: Ironically, you need to buy yogurt to make yogurt, but once you’ve made your own, you’ll always have a starter on hand. We used FAGE Greek Yogurt as our starter.
Next, stir in the maple syrup. We’re fans of Jillson’s Farm, but any Maine produced syrup will do.
Place the lid back on the Crock Pot and cover the pot with a small blanket or towel to trap in the heat. Leave the mixture overnight (at least 8 hours).
The next morning, you will magically have a Crock Pot full of yogurt! For MP, this result never gets old, and for the kids, this recipe is akin to a super cool science project.
After you’ve ooohed and aaahed over the miraculous contents of your Crock Pot, line a strainer with cheesecloth and set a big bowl beneath it. Spoon all of the yogurt into the lined strainer and leave it for 30 minutes. This step allows the whey to separate from the yogurt, leaving you with thick and creamy loveliness.
Once the separation is complete, place the yogurt in a Mason jar or sealed container. The yogurt should refrigerate at least 2 hours before eating. Yields: Approx. 48 ounces.
Quick tip: Send the kids to school with ready-made yogurt cups. We like ours with this homemade granola.
Recipe adapted from Eating from the Ground Up.
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