I have a cheap slow cooker that I bought at one point and have rarely used – it sits gathering dust in the pantry. Well, it used to – no longer! It is now a ridiculously large and unwieldy yoghurt maker. I’ve made yoghurt twice, based on this method of making it in a slow cooker. It is terribly satisfying, mostly because I had previously thought of making yoghurt without a special yoghurt maker a very tricky process not to be attempted by someone as slapdash in the kitchen as me.
a dusty, unused slow cooker
2 litres of milk (full cream milk, because why bother to have milk at all if you’re having low fat)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt or a powdered yoghurt culture
At around 4pm, pour the milk into your slow cooker, and turn it on high. Wander off. Do not forget about the milk and leave it boiling overnight, otherwise it turns into a weird caramelised brown mass which is really hard to remove. Yes, I do know this from experience.
Around 2 hours later, check on the milk – you’re aiming to have it at around 83C, or just steaming away just below boiling if you’re not using a thermometer. Turn off the slow cooker, and remove the lid to let the milk cool down for between 1 to 2 hours. You want it at around 43 degrees, or quite warm to the touch.
Stir in the yoghurt or culture. Replace the lid, and wrap the whole slow cooker in a towel to insulate it. Cram it back into the pantry, and go to bed.
In the morning, check the yoghurt – it should be reasonably thick. You can transfer it into a container and into the fridge from there if you want a fairly thin natural yoghurt. If you want more of a greek yoghurt texture, put a colander over a bowl in your sink, and cover the colander with a bit of muslin – say, by stealing one of your baby’s clean muslin wraps. Pour the yoghurt into the colander, and let it sit there straining for about two hours. Spoon it from there into your container – having let it strain, you should have just over 1 litre of thick yoghurt.
Save the whey – there’s all sorts of uses for it in the kitchen, or you can put it on your compost or pot plants.