Crock Pot Yogurt Q&A

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After sharing with you all how we make crock pot yogurt, I was flooded with questions. Here are a few that were asked multiple times. Feel free to send others my way!

Q: Can I use this same recipe with Greek yogurt as my starter to end up with Greek yogurt?

A: No. To get Greek yogurt, you would follow the recipe as written and then strain a good portion of whey from the yogurt. Strain it to your desired thickness. Veteran Greek-yogurt-makers use this stuff called cheese cloth to strain to whey from yogurt, by either tying yogurt inside the cloth and hanging it over a bowl or by propping the cheese cloth under a jar lid’s ring and letting the whey drip from the yogurt above into the jar below. Another way to do this with something you may already have at home is by using a coffee filter and setting it inside a colander. The colander is there more to provide support, holding the filter and yogurt up over the bowl, which you are allowing the whey to drip into. I have never used this method, only because I didn’t realize I could use something other than cheese cloth to do this initially! Now I know!

Q: If I use a flavored starter, will it make flavored yogurt?

A: No, that’d be nice though. Flavoring is done after the yogurt is already made. I have heard of people using instant pudding or gelatin mix to flavor their yogurt. This doesn’t seem particularly healthy to me though, so I’ve stayed away. Since little one had only been given plain yogurt, she doesn’t know what she’s missing! ;) And I find adding real berries to my yogurt to satisfy my sweet tooth. However on the flavored yogurt note, we do often make drinkable yogurts my pureeing fruit and blending it with plain yogurt. Note that the fruit puree thins the yogurt out, hence the “drinkable yogurts” – or even fake GoGurts.

Q: If I don’t want to make less than a half gallon, does any of the times change?

A: Nope. Keep them all the same. The times are necessary to get the milk to a place where it can be receptive to the live cultures in your yogurt starter. And the warm milk still needs 8-12 hours with the started whisked in to allow culturing to occur.

Also I recently had a crock pot yogurt gone bad experience. Still, I managed to work with it! Details to come!

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Comments

  1. shannon says:

    you have to use whole milk? what if you want to make fat free yogurt?

    • I believe that for this exact recipe you need whole milk in order for the milk to thicken enough for yogurt. But from what I understand, you can use skim milk to make yogurt if you also use fat-free powdered milk. I have not tried this, but a commenter on another post said this.
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      • Steve Centanne says:

        I’ve always used 2% milk when making yogurt in my crockpot, and it comes out great. I then use the colander with coffee filters and let it drain overnight for yogurt cheese. Fage greek yogurt has always been my initial starter. Also, when making yogurt in the crockpot, after every 2-1/2 hours I turn it on for 10 minutes on low in order to maintain the temperature… very handy when the room is cooler than 70 degrees.

  2. Just a suggestion: I love Greek yogurt because of how thick and creamy it is. I buy a good organic regular (not Greek) yogurt and strain the whey out by lining a mesh strainer with a white paper towel. I have found that the paper towel strains out a lot more of the whey then coffee filters.

  3. Can I make this with low-fat milk? Or almond milk?

  4. How much yogurt does one batch make? How long can it be stored for use before it expires?

    • One batch makes the exact amount of milk you put in. So if you want one gallon of yogurt, use one gallon of milk. For a half gallon of yogurt, use a half gallon of milk.
      I think the official recommendation on yogurt expiration would be the milk’s expiration, although for us personally, I’ve had our yogurt last up to 3 weeks. Beyond that, I typically pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it to use in smoothies and such. Frozen it lasts much longer.
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  5. I just tried making this and accidentally added the yogurt BEFORE I let the milk sit first…Is there any way for me to fix this and recover from my mistake without throwing it all out??! Thanks!

    • Honestly I don’t know. If I were you, I would continue on in the recipe as normal (hate to waste milk!). If you still have more yogurt, add a bit more and the correct time. Just act as if you haven’t done anything and hope for the best! Or if you don’t have more yogurt, still continue on as normal and hope. At the time you would add yogurt though, I would still whisk it together to ensure it is mixed well. The heated milk dissolves (can’t think of a better word) the yogurt better, allowing it to grow.
      I hope this helps! Come back and tell us what happened!

    • I did the same thing. It seemed like it wanted to curdle initially but with nothing to lose, I just proceeded. I allowed the milk to cool to the recommended temp, added an additional half cup of yogurt and kept it in the oven for eight hours wrapped in a towel. It turned out just fine. Love feeding my kids this stuff with home made granola!

    • The yogurt starter (lactobacilli) will die after the milk temperature reaches 125F. You can continue heating the milk, but you’ll need to add more culture.

  6. I tried what you suggested (just added more yogurt at the correct time), and it seemed to work pretty well! It actually seems like it may have turned out thicker than it usually would because I added twice as much yogurt starter (I used Greek yogurt). The flavor is a little closer to milk than to yogurt, but maybe that is just how homemade yogurt tastes. This was my first time making it and I am glad I was able to salvage it! Thank you! :)

  7. My youngest daughter is allergic to cows milk…can I make this with soy milk and an organic soy yogurt? Also, I can’t find any plain soy yogurt in my town…if I use a flavored yogurt will it affect the results? This is an awesome idea and I’ll most definitely be trying it out! Thanks for posting it :)

  8. I only have flavored yogurt on hand. Can I use it as my starter?

  9. Hi, Thankfully Thrifty! I`m in the prosess of making yogurt by your recipe wright now. Was the milk supposed to come to a boil during those 2,45 hours? Also after 3 hours the temperature of milk was quite low (not warm at all) – is that ok?
    Thanks for your answer!

    • No to the boil. Curdled milk is less than appetizing! ;)
      And the temp is usually a bit warm still after 3 hours. If its not warm at all, something went wrong. But not super warm. I’d continue with the recipe if I were you.

  10. The first time I made yogurt in my crock pot was about 4 years ago. It ended up too sour because I didn’t get out of bed when the middle-of-the night alarm went off for me to take it out of the oven and it sat 12 hours (a learning experience). When it came time to strain it, I could not find my cheesecloth, so I used a large headband-style covered elastic to hold a bandana over the top of a pot, using the lip of the pot to hold the rubber band in place. I just pressed down gently in the middle of the bandana until there was a “bowl” shape, and there was just 3/4″ of fabric sticking out under the elastic band (more at the corners), then poured in the yogurt. I have done it this way several times since, with great results.

    I like to use vanilla yogurt as my starter because I like the smell, and have found that a little fruit pie filling works well for flavoring. Also, I use whole milk, but add powdered nonfat milk to it as well. I don’t advise adding cream to the recipe, as it makes the yogurt taste greasy.

  11. Can sour cream be made from the yogurt older than three weeks? I have done this from store bought yogurt – good tasting! Would this be harmful?

  12. Just finished a batch last night, and it didn’t set at all, or very little. Has anyone had this happen and try again with the batch? I see from above I should maybe add more starter at that point, but wasn’t sure since this batch has cultured many hours already. Now in the fridge.

    Thanks
    KellyH

    • This has happened to me when my house is less than warm… I.e. on a winter day when I’m trying to save by not fully heating our house. The milk didn’t stay warm enough. Could this be the issue?

  13. It could have been, our house isn’t exactly warm. I hadn’t thought of that, but more that maybe the milk was still to hot when I added the starter. I was wondering if I should scrap this batch and start over, or if I could use the batch itself and try again.

    KellyH

  14. Well when I poured out the yogutt mix to wash and warm the crock pot up it had been in ftidge there was about a half quart of thickened yogurt on the bottom of the pot. So I put that into a tub and into trudge and will try with the rest another attempt. Did and some more milk to it. Wil let you know what happens. Kellyh. Typing on kindle pardon mistakes

  15. I think I made cottage cheese instead. After the first 2 1/2 hours, it was curdled some, and after sitting 3 hours then it wouldn’t recombine. Have to start an new batch tomorrow.

    KellyH

  16. Hello,

    I’ve read on multiple sites about the importance of wrapping the crock pot in a blanket or towel. I’m wondering if that means the entire machine, including the heating station that the crock pot itself sits in, or only the crock pot itself? I’m not sure how much difference it makes either way, but I just wanted to be sure…

    Thanks so much,
    Megan

  17. So I tried this idea, with a slight variation on the beginning part. I heated the milk on the stove while the crockpot was on low, removed from heat, added the yogurt, moved to the crockpot, THEN wrapped the blanket around the whole machine & put it in the oven. (Got that idea here: http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/making-yoghurt.html)

    Well, that was 2 nights ago. I’ve taken it out, plugged it in & kept it on low then warm & just tried to make it work. But it remains a thicker version of milk…not nearly as think/creamy as yogurt.

    Is there anything else I can do at this point, or has the window of opportunity passed?

    Thanks!
    Megan

  18. When the milk is sitting to cool for 3 hours, is the crockpot lid on or off? Off makes more sense to me, but I wanted to make sure! It’s my first time making yogurt. Thanks!

  19. Michelle G. says:

    MeganM, if I read your post correctly, it sounds like you added your yogurt culture when your milk was too hot. Doing so kills your yogurt’s healthy bacteria, so it won’t be able to do its thing. I like to use an instant read thermometer when I make yogurt, and I keep three “targets” in mind. Heat milk to 180. Cool to 120 before adding yogurt. Incubate at 100-120. (Truly, the second number could also be in a range as well, from 100-125, but I’m impatient enough that I want to get my yogurt in once it hits 120).

    BTW, in a cold winter house, I prefer to incubate in a closed cooler with some hot water in it (I am for 110-120 degrees).

  20. can i make yogurt with my breastmilk?

    • I don’t see why not! If you have an older baby, your milk may be more like lowfat or skim so that might affect its thickness. I’m wondering why I do’nt just pump extra and use it for cereal or baking. LOL Seems like that would save a bit of $$.

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