I was inspired to make homemade yogurt yesterday. There are no preservatives, I can control the sugar and fruit, It is incredibly inexpensive and I am not using additional energy to produce yogurt containers. My friend recommended a website that used a double boiler, sterilized equipment and a candy thermometer and I am not going to lie, I was intimidated! The last time I needed a candy thermometer I ended up with a caramel flavored rock stuck to the bottom of my non-stick pan. I went out searching for other recipes and found Crockpot365 A Year of Slow Cooking site and found her homemade yogurt made in a crockpot. I decided to give the crockpot method a try with a few alterations because quite honestly it looked easy!

I pulled out my old school, 3 quart crockpot you know the one that has the 1970 brown pattern that I got as a hand me down, and went to the store.

Have these ingredients on hand:
1/2 gallon of milk
1 quart of plain yogurt with live active cultures
Honey, I got mine at the farmers market
Pure Vanilla Extract
Frozen fruit of your choice, I used 1 bag of Organic strawberries, organic blueberries and one banana.

I purchased 1/2 gallon of 2% organic milk. I purchased a container of plain yogurt with live, active cultures as a starter. Plain, not vanilla, not strawberry, not key lime pie, just plain.

I poured the whole 1/2 gallon of organic milk in the crockpot and cooked it on low for 3 hours.
In the crockpot you don’t have to worry about the milk scorching, I trust my crockpot to keep the temperature consistent without using a thermometer.

After 3 hours I unplugged the crockpot and let it sit on the counter at room temperature with the cover on for an additional 3 hours.

After 3 hours of sitting, I pulled out 1 cup of now warm milk and added 1/2 cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures. I stirred the milk and yogurt together and then stirred it into the rest of the milk in the crockpot using a wooden spoon.

I wrapped the whole crockpot up in a large beach towel and kept it on the counter for 8 hours. Don’t disturb it, don’t stir it, don’t jiggle it, don’t open it even if it kills you, resist! This was the part where I was glad I went to bed because man did I want to peek!

I set my alarm for 3 AM which was 8 hours later, because I did not want to let it over process, I read that if you let it sit for too long it will continue to get thick but it will also continue to get more bitter.

Stir the yogurt to mix the water in with the yogurt and to make it smooth and then I put the whole crockpot into the fridge. I was tired, it was 3 AM! Surprise, surprise, I woke up to yogurt, it looks like yogurt, it smells like yogurt, it tastes like yogurt, heck it is yogurt!

I pulled out 1 cup yogurt for the next batch to use as a home made starter.

I then separated the remaining yogurt into 3 bowls.

It was slightly watery so I drained some of the water out with coffee filters to thicken it up. I drained about 1/2 cup of water out of each of the three containers.

The first one I put the yogurt into the blender and added a banana and blueberries and about 2 tablespoons of honey to it. I blended it up and it came out soupy. I poured it into a container and put it in the fridge and it set back up a little, but it was still more watery than normal yogurt consistency. I say this was my test batch, tastes great, but I wanted it thicker.

The second one I wanted to try vanilla and honey yogurt. I put 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of honey into the filtered yogurt and stirred it up. It did not change consistency and it was awesome, not soupy at all.

The third one I used a bag of frozen organic strawberries, let them thaw out for about 30 minutes and put them into the blender. I added about 1/4 cup of the pureed strawberries into the filtered yogurt stirred it up but it was not sweet enough. I then added 2 tablespoons of honey to the strawberry and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and stirred it up with a spoon and again awesome, typical yogurt consistency!

I have eaten a lot of yogurt today, my kids like the vanilla yogurt. I plan to add this to my morning smoothies and I am excited to make my next batch to see what other ways I can use different fruit varieties, next time I might even save some extra plain yogurt to use instead of sour cream. Give it a shot!