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Crock Pot® yogurt is yogurt that is prepared at home in a slow cooker. Using a slow cooker or Crock Pot® to make yogurt may be less expensive than purchasing commercially made yogurt. Slow cooker yogurt may be easier to prepare than yogurt made the traditional way, since the slow cooker regulates the temperature, but may turn out thinner than other yogurts. Ingredients in Crock Pot® yogurt usually include whole milk and a yogurt starter as well as additional flavors and sweeteners.
To make yogurt, the milk needs to be heated to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius). It should then be cooled to a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). The heating and cooling process in a slow cooker can take up to five or six hours.
To allow bacteria to grow, the milk needs to stay at a warm temperature. Temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) will kill the bacteria, though. A slow cooker maintains the temperature without overheating the milk.
Although the slow cooker is turned on during the initial step in making Crock Pot® yogurt, it is turned off when the milk cools and ferments. Since the slow cooker is insulated, it maintains the temperature of the milk even when unplugged. Some people also wrap the slow cooker in towels or blankets while the milk ferments for added insulation. The fermentation process typically takes about eight hours.
To ferment properly, Crock Pot® yogurt requires some sort of bacterial culture or yogurt starter. Many people simply use a 1/2 cup of plain, commercially-made yogurt as a starter the first time they prepare the yogurt. A small amount of the Crock Pot® yogurt itself can be used as the starter the next time the yogurt is prepared. The yogurt starter needs to have live bacterial cultures in it or else fermentation will not work.
Once fermented, the yogurt can be flavored with fruit or sweeteners. Some people simply stir chopped fresh fruit into the yogurt. Another option is to add the yogurt and fruit to a blender and puree until smooth. If the yogurt is not sweet enough, a person can add honey or sugar to it. Cocoa powder or chocolate syrup can be stirred in for a dessert yogurt.
Yogurt made in a slow cooker may be thinner than commercially available yogurt. Adding a teaspoon of gelatin may thicken the yogurt or can be strained through cheese cloth or paper coffee filters to remove the excess liquid.