I am completely in love with this crock pot strawberry yogurt!
My favorite part is that it’s nice and thick.
In the past, I’ve always had problems with my yogurt being too runny. ….way too runny! Well, that’s really my fault since I wanted a thick yogurt without having to drain it. I’m realizing that draining the yogurt is crucial to making it nice and thick!
My family loves strawberry yogurt! But all of the recipes that I ever found or tried, just said to add fruit, nuts, honey, etc. into it – they never really told me how much to add or how to add it. So I’ve been working on that. You may find some changes to this recipe in the future, but for now, we are really liking our strawberry yogurt!
I’m not sure how the heating elements may affect this between different crock pots, but I like to start my yogurt around lunch time. This means I’m adding the cultures around or right after dinner time, and the yogurt is ready to be strained first thing in the morning. When you include the straining time and adding your extras, it takes me about 24 hours to make a batch of yogurt start to finish.
1 Gallon Milk
A Large Crock Pot
2 TBSP Plain Yogurt with live and active cultures
Towels and/or blankets
Large Bowl or Stock Pot
12oz Frozen, Whole Strawberries
1/2 Cup Honey
We start by taking out our large crock pot and dumping in a gallon of milk.
I’ve read that it doesn’t matter what percentage you use, but we use whole milk. Turn your crock pot on high, put the lid on and wait a few hours.
You want the milk to heat up to 180*F. I know that it’s getting close when my milk is starting to develop a film. I’ll just check the temperature periodically at that point. When I started my yogurt around noon, this happened by mid-afternoon.
Once it hits 180*, you turn the crock pot off and wait again.
This time you’ll wait for the milk to get down to 110-115*F – you’ll want to make sure it’s within this range or the yogurt won’t culture correctly. This happened as we were cleaning up after dinner – roughly a little after 6:00 PM.
Here’s where the magic starts to happen!
Once the milk has cooled, remove 2TBSP of yogurt with live and active cultures, and put it in a bowl. Then remove about a cup of your hot milk and slowly add it to your yogurt – gently blending it in. Don’t worry, the yogurt doesn’t have to completely dissolve.
Then you’re going to want to slowly add it to the crock pot, and use a whisk to gently incorporate it into the milk by going in circular motion dragging along the bottom of the crock, bringing it back up toward the surface, and bringing it back down and around again.
Now it’s time for the yogurt to culture.
You’ll do this by removing the crock from the heating element and wrapping the it in blankets and/or towels. Then put it in a large cooler or your oven. My cooler isn’t big enough, so I put my crock in the oven. At this point it was around 7:00PM.
You’ll want your yogurt to culture for 10-12 hours. So far, I’ve been culturing mine for 12 hours, but I would like to see how it is at 10 hours in the future.
After your yogurt has cultured, remove it from the cooler or oven.
Congratulations! You now have yogurt!
If you don’t mind a runny yogurt, you can stop here and add whatever you’d like to flavor and/or sweeten your yogurt (After removing some for your next batch – see below).
If you want a thicker yogurt, you’re going to want to strain it.
Spoon the yogurt out of the crock pot and into the towel-lined colander. You’ll let it sit there for a couple hours until it’s the consistency you’re looking for. You can check the consistency by stirring it with a spoon after one hour.
Once your yogurt is just about the consistency you’re looking for, you’re going to want to start on your strawberry flavoring.
I took a 12oz bag of organic, whole strawberries and heated them on the stove with a 1/2 cup of honey. As it’s heating up, break apart the strawberries with your spoon. Once the strawberries and thawed and incorporated with the honey nicely, you can turn off the heat.
I’d let it cool down a bit before putting it in your yogurt, but it is easier to pour if it is still slightly warm.
Before adding your flavoring, you’ll want to remove 2 TBSP of the yogurt for a future batch.
Then spoon the rest of your yogurt into it’s storage container. You’ll have to scrape the towel a bit as you get to the bottom.
Once the flavoring has cooled down a bit, you can go ahead and slowly stir in about 2 cups of the yogurt to the pot of flavoring. Once that is mixed in, you can dump it in with the rest of your yogurt and stir until well-blended.
My kids enjoyed some of the yogurt immediately. You can follow their example, or do what I did and wait until it has chilled a bit.
Keep covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat! Enjoy!