Now that my boots are drying by the door and my rain jacket accompanies me permanently, it is time for the year-round yogurt recipe. None of this sunny weather nonsense, I know that your place is probably as chilly as mine and you’re on the hunt for squash. We all move on. It’s fall now.
Things have been getting progressively busy around here, so there have been a lot of set-it-and-forget-it meals. I’ve been making about 2 L of chicken foot stock (recipe to come, I know you’re dying for that one) a week, several stews, and plenty of tough cuts cooked down in some punchy flavoured liquid to be re-purposed in other recipes. For these guys, my slow cooker is my best friend. I covet dutch ovens every chance I get, but my slow cooker came at a considerably cheaper price and I feel safe leaving it at home when I’m out being busy and not having to worry about the oven being on. Plus, if I forget about it (it happens) it shuts off automatically. If you are a student, slow cookers are one of the top best investments you will make- not only can they be plugged in anywhere, so they don’t take up precious stovetop/oven space, they are great bang for your buck ($30-$60 for a totally decent one). With a couple smart strategies you can make totally impressive meals for very little effort. Plus, you can make this yogurt. Bonus.
That being said, this can be done two ways: with a slow cooker or with a large heavy-bottomed pot like a dutch oven. You basically want something bulky and thick enough to hold heat for a while. Thermometer is the only other specific equipment that I would recommend, but don’t I always recommend a thermometer? So yes, have a thermometer or else use the by-touch method.
You might be able to tell, in my pictures there are vanilla specks. So yes, I stewed a couple of vanilla pods with mine for some flavour. You can do that too if you would like very-vanilla yogurt, otherwise a little extract at the end adds lovely vanilla flavour.
Slow cooker or dutch oven
Large old towel
2 L whole milk
2-3 Tbsp plain yogurt with live culture (starter)
1) Pour all of the milk into the slow cooker or dutch oven. Turn slow cooker on to the highest setting or the dutch oven on to your ovens medium setting. Heat the milk to 180 degrees F (or until steaming and frothy, but not boiling). If using the dutch oven, stir frequently.
2) Take the lid off and remove the heat source (turn off stove or slow cooker). Cool the milk to 110 degrees F (or, until you can comfortably stick a clean finger in and hold it). To speed this up, take the lid off.
3) Add the starter culture and mix thoroughly. Place the lid on.
4) Place the dutch oven or slow cooker insert onto the large old towel. Wrap it well with the towel to slow down heat loss. Place this where it won’t be disturbed (I put it in the oven so it’s out of the way, just don’t forget that it’s in there).
5) Ferment for 12-24 hours. If you have a lactose intolerance, 24 hours is recommended to make sure as much lactose is digested as possible.
6) Whisk well. Store for a week, then repeat the process for more yogurt!