In an effort to reduce single use plastic in our household (a near impossible task, I fear) I had recently started buying fresh milk from the milkman. It came in lovely, old fashioned bottles which were then picked up at the next delivery. I was happy.
Yet the milk wasn’t of great quality and within as little as 24h would smell sour, and be properly curdled often within two days. Moreover, the milk bottles were also delivered in plastic bags. Silly, to say the least.
I am now buying Jersey milk in glass from Farmdrop (who pick up the bottles too, and use no plastic). This is not a bi weekly occurrence like the milkman was so I still buy plastic bottles of milk, but at least I am reducing a bit the intake.
With the milk, goes the yogurt. Yogurt in glass jars still cost an arm and a leg, so I thought ‘how about making my own yogurt’ reducing at least the single use plastic of the yogurt pots…
I started googling how to make yogurt at home and there are so many recipes out there, yet I might as well share and spread the word. It turns out my CrockPot can also make yogurt, and indeed I am now addicted to it.
While it has still not fully replaced the plastic containers’ yogurt, it surely has reduced the amount we buy.
That, paired with the bi-weekly milk in glass, gives me some comfort that we’re doing a little part towards the reduction of single use plastic.
The recipe could not be easier. You just need the right ingredients, a little patience and of course, the CrockPot. There are other methods, but this is the one I am using once or twice a week with great results.
How to make the yogurt
1lt fresh, organic if possible, whole milk
2 tbsp plain yogurt with bio cultures (this is very important!)
A food thermometer (optional)
A sterilised glass jar (or similar container)
Paper coffee filters (I use compostable ones)
A medium size colander
Place the milk in the CrockPot and use the ‘yogurt’ function the ‘high heat’ so that it will effectively warm up the milk to sterilising temperature (82c). I actually keep the lid off, and whisk the milk a few times while it’s heating up.
The CrockPot will automatically stop once that’s happened but you can use a thermometer to double check
At this stage, remove the containter from the unit and cool it down somewhere where it will cool (I place it on the stove grid, as long as that’s cool too, or in the sink when not using).
About 30 mins later the warm milk will have cooled down enough (needs to be about 40c). In a small bowl mix the yogurt spoons with about a ladle of warmed up milk and whisk well. Pour this mixtured into the milk, place back into the unit, seal and set to ‘yogurt’ and then low, setting the time to 10 hours.
Time is crucial
I tried 8 hours and I find the results too gelatinous and weak; I have never gone past 10 hours, but it should go tart if you cook it longer (to 12 hours). I love the 10 hours results, actually.
The straining process
There will be a decent amount of liquid in the yogurt when you open the CrockPot; this is the whey. Discard the excess if you can, even before straining.
Cover a colander with the coffee filters (I opened them up flat and use about three per session). Place the colander on top of a tall container (I used my immersion mixer jug, it’s about 25cm tall and wide enough).
Ladle the yogurt slowly into the colander, and let it strain for about 45 minutes; if you like your yogurt softer, stop after about 20m instead. Straining is not necessary and it’s a personal preference.
Spoon into the reserved jar and store in the fridge for an hour or so before enjoying it.
Keeps well for a few days
Obviously, you can use whatever takes your fancy, but since gorgeous rhubarb is in season, I made a beautifully tart fruit compote which went perfectly with the thick, rich, decadent yogurt.
2 rubharb stalks, cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbps unrefined golden granulated sugar
1 clementine, skin off, cut into sliver
1 green cardamom pod
I stewed everything in a small pan, and let it cool before storing in the fridge. I did not use too much sugar as the clementine are pretty sweet, but if you don’t like the compote too tart, add some more sugar or a bit of honey.