My mother-in-law gave me her old Salton Yogurt Maker but it finally died so I’ve been trying to figure out how to make yogurt without a yogurt maker. There were so many different temperatures given on various sites that it was very confusing to know who to believe. I tried one method using a picnic cooler as an incubator and it worked most of the time, but sometimes I ended up with what looked more like curds and whey than yogurt.
I found the Crock Pot lady’s blog looking for a way to make yogurt without a yogurt maker. Her recipe called for putting a half gallon of milk directly into the crock-pot heating it up, cooling it, then wrapping it in a towel to incubate overnight.
I make a quart at a time. I did the first part on my stove, then put my milk into jars in the crock-pot like I did with the picnic cooler, filling it with warm water to incubate it. I’ve tried this method twice and both times it turned out perfectly. Here’s what I did:
Fill up the Crock-Pot with warm tap water and turn on. Heat until the water reaches 112 degrees, then turn off Crock-Pot and keep covered.
Boil water in a saucepan. Use this to sterilize a quart jar or two pint jars and lid(s). Sterilize everything else you will use: the wire whisk, thermometer, and measuring spoon.
In another saucepan, measure a couple Tablespoons less than 1 quart of milk. I use 2 percent lowfat milk. You can add 4 TBSP of sugar if you like your yogurt sweetened. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly so it won’t scorch. Boiling the milk prevents the milk from separating into curds and whey when it incubates. Remove from heat. Then add 4 TBSP powdered milk to the hot milk and stir. The powdered milk makes the texture firmer, more like store bought yogurt.
Place the pan of milk in a bowl of ice water or cool water until the temperature is down to between 110-122 degrees. I try for 118. You can change the water a few times to hasten the cooling time. When cooled to right temp, add 2 TBSP of store bought yogurt to the warm milk and mix well with a wire whisk. I have the best results with Yoplait yogurt. I buy peach since they don’t have plain yogurt and have the best success if I use the Yoplait for my culture instead of saving some from my own yogurt. Pour milk into warm (not boiling hot) sterilized jars. Temperature of milk in jar should not be under 106 degrees. Cover the jar(s) with lid(s). Place jars in the Crock-Pot with the warm water level to rim of jars. Cover Crock-Pot and wrap with two towels overnight to incubate. In the morning, turn jar sideways to make sure that the yogurt has thickened. Refrigerate.