Originally Posted by FirstLove
Kaplods, thanks for all that information! I used to special-order plain soy yogurt from my whole foods store, but it was a pain.
Do you know if it's possible to make soy yogurt (or better yet, coconut milk yogurt) like you described? I'm allergic to dairy but LOVE plain yogurt!
Yes, it is possible. I've never tried it, but when I was looking online for yogurt directions, I found directions for making vegan yogurts from soy milk, coconut milk and other milk substitutes. The steps were similar. If you google the soy yogurt recipes, you'll find several, and you probably can adapt them to the crock pot if you don't find a crockpot recipe.
Originally Posted by Riddy
Alright, Kaplods, you've got me intrigued. Would you please post or link or PM me the exact recipe? I adore my crock pot, and am always up to try something new with it.
The recipe is so simple, that I'll post it here, in case anyone else is interested.
I highly recommend a digital food thermometer with an alarm. I got mine from Target for under $20. It sounds an alarm when the food hits the target temperature. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten one that can be set for when the food cools off to the desired temperature (hubby says they're available, but significantly more expensive).
You don't need a digital thermometer, but if you have one you don't have to check on the temperature as the milk heats up and cools down as often.
Ingredients and Supplies
2 large bath towels
1 heating pad (like you use for sore muscles)
1 crockpot that holds at least 2 quarts of milk (you can make smaller batches, but I always make at least 2 quarts)
1 small bowl
1 teaspoon (not a measuring spoon, just an ordinary spoon)
2-3 quarts milk (I use 3 quarts because that's what will fit in my crockpot).
1 rounded tsp any plain live-culture yogurt per quart of milk, to use as starter (I use either plain Oikos or Fage greek yogurt, or yogurt from my previous batch) You'll be tempted to use more, but more isn't better. Too much starter makes the yogurt bitter.
OPTIONAL ingredients and supplies
1 tsp of sugar per quart of milk (entirely optional, it supposedly gets the bacteria multiplying faster and helps make a thicker yogurt. I'm not sure this does much of anything though as I couldn't tell any difference between the batches made with or without the tsp of sugar)
1 small tupperware container (or even a ziploc bag) - to store a bit of finished yogurt to use as starter for the next batch. This is optional, because you can use store-bought yogurt every time if you want to. I didn't start using my own yogurt as starter until the third or fourth batch, because I wasn't confident that my yogurt's bacteria was strong enough. I needn't have worried.
1. Pour milk into crockpot. Set your digital thermometer alarm for 190 degrees (some recipes call for 180, but I find 190 makes a thicker yogurt), put the digital thermometer probe into the yogurt and cover with the lid (which will also hold the thermometer probe in place). Turn the crockpot on high. Wait for alarm to ring. (If you don't have a digital thermometer, check the temp periodically).
2. When the milk reaches 190, unplug the crockpot and remove the cover. Turn off the thermometer alarm, but leave the thermometer in the milk. If your crockpot has a removeable crock liner, take out the crock and set it on one of the bath towels. Allow the milk to cool to 110 to 120 degrees (this is where the cooling alarm would come in handy - I just check the temp every 20 minutes or so. You can cool the milk more quickly by putting the crock in a sink filled with a couple inches of ice water - but I never bother. I let it cool on the counter.
3. When the milk has cooled to 110 to 120 degrees (any higher and it will kill the yogurt, so I usually don't add it until it's no more than 115 degrees, just in case) put the yogurt in the bowl and add about 1/2 a cup of the warm milk to it. If you're going to add the sugar add it into the bowl too. Stir the mixture until it's smooth, and pour it back into the crock and stir the milk (this is just to evenly distribute the yogurt).
4. Plug in the heating pad and turn it to low or medium and put it on the counter. Cover with a towel. Put the lid back on the crockpot (with the thermometer probe still in the milk), and put the milk-filled crockpot onto the towel. Wrap the towels around the crock (making sure that the thermometer readout box is visible, so you don't have to unwrap the crockpot to check the temperature). Set the thermometer alarm for about 110 to 112 degrees (as long as it stays under 115 it's fine).
5. Let sit for 5 to 12 hours. Periodically check the temperature readout. You want the temperature to stay in the 95 to 110 degree range. That's why I set the alarm for 112 degrees. If the temp goes below 100, I'll switch the heating pad to medium, and if it raises above 110 degrees, I'll switch it down to low.
6. After 4 to 5 hours, you can check to see if the yogurt is as thick or as tart as you want it. I primarily judge by flavor, because flavor is more important to me and the yogurt does get thicker in the fridge (and you can always strain it through cheesecloth if you want. I don't bother). If it hasn't thickened at all, your starter may be dead (this is why I always have a back-up starter. I usually use my homemade yogurt from the previous batch, but if it hasn't thickened after 5 hours, I will go back to step 3, using store bought yogurt as the starter, and continue on).
7. Put a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of yogurt in a small sealable container (or even a ziploc bag if you have to). This is your starter for your next batch (you can also freeze the starter, but I've never tried it).
8. Pour the yogurt into a sealable container (or just put the crockpot in the fridge, if you have room).
I usually just put the crockpot in the fridge, and serve out of the crockpot. I am careful not to "double dip" but even so, I always set the starter aside before dipping out of the crockpot (I want to make sure the starter stays as "clean" as possible, so I always take out my starter first).
You can sweeten/flavor the yogurt before you put it in the fridge, if you want - but I season per serving right before eating, because the yogurt is more versatile that way. I can use it as sour cream, I can use it in smoothies, I can use some as a marinade base for chicken...
Personally, I like it "barely sour" so I'm careful not to use too much starter, and try to incubate for the shortest time possible.
There are a lot of great tips online, so browse some of the online instructions.
If you don't have a digital thermometer, or any thermometer, some of the instructions online give instructions for testing the temperature without a thermometer (you have to do a lot more work this way, because you have to check the yogurt a lot more often. The $15 - $20 investment in a digital food thermometer is well worth the time savings).
If you're not going to make yogurt frequently, then you probably don't want to let your starter sit too long in the fridge. Freezing it, or just using store-bought yogurt may be a better option. Personally, I've used starter as old as 3 weeks (from the time it was made) without problems. However I usually make yogurt just about every week, because I eat about two servings per day.
If you want your yogurt thicker, you can add dry milk powder with the milk. I don't find this necessary.
Whey does rise to the top as the yogurt sits. you can either stir it back in, or spoon it off. I spoon it off, and gradually as more whey is removed, the yogurt gets thicker and thicker (you can strain it of course to thicken more quickly, but I don't mind just pouring/spooning off the whey every day and let the yogurt thicken on it's own).