Clara is not average. Our house is about to be overtaken by the amount of empty yogurt containers piling up. As they're so useful (and so recyclable) I can't bear to throw them away. But WHERE in the entire city of Saltillo can I go to recycle them?
Thank goodness, I have found the means to make yogurt at home! Thank you Stephanie O'Dea! Her blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, has given me all kinds of other great food ideas, but so far the slow cooker has only been used as a yogurt machine. However, it has paid for itself in the amount of yogurt it has churned out in the last few months.
Interested in making yogurt at home, too?
You will need:
- a slow cooker (crockpot) of at least 2 quarts.
- a 2 quart (or larger) saucepan
- a meat or candy thermometer
- 7 cups of pasteurized milk--NOT ULTRAPASTERUIZED! If you live in Mexico it might be difficult to find milk that isn't ultrapasteurized . . . if it comes in a Tetra-Brik, it's ultrapasteurized and won't work. Sello Rojo sells gallons (yes, gallons!) of milk in US-style gallon containers in the refrigerated dairy sections (Lala often does, too, but double-check that it is just pasteurized as opposed to ultrapasteurized). If you can't find this, ask around at your local market if anyone knows where to buy pasteurized milk . . . my in-laws used to buy it off a cart that drove past their house in Mexico City (this creeped me out for the longest time, but it shows that it is possible to find milk that hasn't been ultrapasteurized).
- 1 cup store-bought yogurt
- 1 package of unflavored gelatin (this is optional, and I believe unnecessary, if you use Stephanie's original recipe).
Click here for Stephanie's original recipe. Unfortunately for me, it calls for a slow cooker that has a high and a low setting. My little two-quart crock only has an on and an off button. On is apparently too hot to follow the recipe the way she has it. The modified recipe I use was gleaned from the comment section on the original post, and then tweaked it to handle my slow cooker.
What to do:
- It's ideal to do this at night, so you can have yogurt for breakfast in the morning.
- Turn the crockpot ON. Put the cover on, even though it's empty.
- In a 2 quart saucepan, pour 7 cups of milk and the package of unflavored gelatin. Whisk well, so the gelatin gets mixed in with the milk. Set the pan on the stove at a high flame, stick the thermometer in the pan and wait until the temperature reaches 190F/88C, stirring every once in awhile.
- Once the milk is 190 degrees Fahrenheit, stick the whole pot in a cool water bath (if possible. Otherwise, take off the flame and whisk, whisk, whisk lots of cool air into the milk) until the temperature drops to 110 Fahrenheit.
- AS THE MILK IS COOLING, turn off the crock pot and take the lid off.
- Once the milk has cooled to 110F, whisk in the cup of store-bought yogurt.
- Once the inside of the crockpot feels like it might be somewhere around 109 degrees (if you stick your hand inside the slow cooker (not touching the sides) it should be pleasantly warm. Keep in mind that your body temperature is 98 degrees, so just warmer than my hand seems to do the trick). If the temperature of the crock pot is much warmer than 109, the bacteria cultures will die and you'll wind up with spoiled milk. If it's not hot enough, then I imagine the bacteria cultures won't be "properly encouraged" to multiply sufficiently to turn 2 quarts of milk into yogurt.
- Dump the milk/yogurt mixture into the crockpot, put on the lid, wrap in an old towel (not sure this is 100% necessary, but it makes me feel like the crock is better insulated).
- Let sit for 8-12 hours.
- Voila! Yogurt!
- But to make very plain yogurt palatable, I add a teaspoon of vanilla and 2 heaping serving spoons of honey to the crockpot in the morning (after it's been working it's magic all night).
- It's good to eat right out of the crockpot, but once it's been refrigerated, it will have the more traditional yogurt-y consistency.
And, if you want some granola to go along with your homemade yogurt (Best. Breakfast. Ever.) Here's my recipe from Better Homes and Gardens:
(Except for the oats, honey, and oil, all other ingredients are optional.)
- 2 cups uncooked oats
- 1/2 cup flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts or almonds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/3 cup cooking oil
- 1/2 cup raisins
Remove from oven. Stir. Break into clumps. Once it's mostly cool, transfer it to a storage container, or else it will harden and be difficult to get off the pan. Makes 6 cups (I don't quite believe that number. Seems a lot less to me, but maybe I just eat too much of it at a time).