Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial

10
5025
Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

I was reading about 24 hour yogurt in Breaking the Vicious Cycle (a diet recommended for those with intestinal issues) as a way to get a hefty dose of probiotics without all the lactose that conventional yogurts contain. As someone who has suffered with intestinal health issues, I was extremely curious.

But before I invested in a yogurt maker (which I have since), I wanted to do a test run of 24 hour yogurt. Did the yogurt even help my stomach at all? Also, I didn’t want to use pasteurized, homogenized milk like you find in the store. I was living in a state where raw milk was practically everywhere and I had been reading about its health benefits, so I was eager to combine the two. This, of course, meant modifying traditional yogurt recipes, as heating raw milk to 180°F/82°C would effectively pasteurize it and defeat the purpose of using raw milk in the first place.

Raw milk yogurt is not a new phenomenon, and I surely didn’t invent it. Sally Fallon has included a recipe for it in her book Nourishing Traditions (which is amazing, and I highly suggest picking up a copy. But, I had a bit of trouble with her recipe because it requires a double boiler, a glass jar and a dehydrator. I don’t have a double boiler, though I’m sure I could fake one. And, because of it’s shape, my dehydrator won’t work in the way she recommends. But, since I had made yogurt in a crockpot before (though not raw milk yogurt), I just did a little research, combined a bunch of ideas and came up with the following crockpot raw milk yogurt tutorial.

(Also, I was going to type up a long post about the benefits of raw milk, but I figure you are more interested in the recipe than my babbling. Instead, I suggest you check out RealMilk.com and read through their articles. That should cover almost any question you could think of about raw milk, including where to find it locally.)

I also have a tutorial for how to make thick raw milk yogurt in a yogurt maker.
See that tutorial here.

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Photo Tutorial

Step 1:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

Clean your crockpot stoneware and lid. Like, really clean it. I’d even sterilize it in the dishwasher if you have one – with an extra rinse cycle containing vinegar. (Make sure your stoneware is dishwasher safe. I just took the chance with mine. I have backup stoneware in case I break one.)

You want your stoneware to be the cleanest item in your house. The goal here is to make sure that there is no possible way you have any unfriendly bacteria in your crockpot that could possibly contaminate your yogurt.

Also, there has been some discussion going around about certain slow cookers containing lead, so I would check with your manufacturer to make sure your slow cooker isn’t one of them. You don’t want to ferment anything in a lead-containing container. Heck, you probably don’t want to cook anything in a lead-containing container!

Once your crockpot is clean and lead free, pour in a half gallon of raw milk. I prefer Guernsey milk, but I’ve also used Jersey milk with tasty results.

Step 2:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com
Set crockpot to low. Cover crockpot with the glass lid that comes with the crockpot. Then, on top of the lid, place a clean, folded bath towel for insulation.

Step 3:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

With a candy thermometer, check the temperature of your milk. You want to hit about 110 degrees, but no higher. Any higher will kill off all the good stuff in your raw milk and effectively pasteurize it. I believe it took my crockpot approximately 20-30 minutes to reach this temperature, but don’t go by my crockpot time as all of them will heat differently. Make sure when you are testing the milk temperature you have the thermometer in the milk only and not touching the bottom of the pot.

Step 4:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com
See instructions for how to collect whey here

Once you hit the correct temperature, turn off the crockpot and break out your jar of whey. Using a 1 cup measuring cup, scoop out about half a cup of warm raw milk from the crockpot. Fill the measuring cup the rest of the way with whey. Stir in the measuring cup to warm the whey. Add the mixture back to the crockpot and cover with both lid and towel.

At this point your milk is culturing. Because the crockpot is turned off, the temperature will drop over time. My goal is to keep my yogurt between 95 and 100 degrees. Check your milk temperature every few hours with your candy thermometer, and if it has dropped below 95, turn the crockpot back on using the “warm” setting to gently raise the temperature back to the proper range.

Step 5:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

After about 24 hours, your milk should look like yogurt. It will have a little more liquid than commercial yogurt, as commercial yogurt has all sorts of additives to give it the texture we are all used to. If you would like to make it a little thicker, strain it using these instructions and save that whey for future batches. Or, you can eat it as is.

Note: If you notice a yellow layer on top of your yogurt, fear not!

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

Raw milk is non-homogenized aka “cream top” milk. This means that whenever the milk sits for a while (be it in your refrigerator or a crockpot) the cream will rise to the top, as shown in the photo above. So the yellow layer on top of your yogurt is just the cream rising to the top during fermentation and is nothing to worry about.

Step 6:

Crockpot Raw Milk Yogurt Tutorial from domesticsoul.com

Jar up your yogurt and store it in the refrigerator. Then, just eat and enjoy!

Disclaimer: Generally, raw milk is not recommended for people without robust immune systems because it is not pasteurized. The warning on my current jug of raw milk reads “Warning: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease have the highest risk of harm from the use of this product.” So, you need to decide for yourself whether or not raw milk is a good food to include in your diet. I have only decided raw milk is a good food to include in my diet. Any risk you may encounter from trying out this recipe is yours and yours alone. I don’t know if you are buying your milk from a reputable source, if you have sufficiently sterilized your tools/crockpot or if you did something else to introduce bad bacteria into your yogurt. So, use this recipe at your own risk, but please… do your research and be careful!

10 COMMENTS

  1. I Have been making yogurt for a year with regular pasteurized milk. I am just doing my first batch of raw goat milk now. I heat the milk to 105 but the residual heat in the crock sent the temp up to 110. I waited a bit then covered it all up with a blanket but I set my digital thermometer to alert if temp went to 111. It did. So I uncovered it. Opened lid. Stirred up and temp dropped back to 109. After a few minutes with no rise I covered it with the blanket again. It has stopped rising in temp. Next time I think I will just heat to 100.

    BTW I have cooked several batches of yogurt by trying to just heat it up a little before going to bed. I just get absent minded and forget to turn it off. However, in the morning, when I discovered my mistake I poured off the whey and used the “cheese” in various recipes. No probiotics but I hated to wast that gallon+ of milk.

  2. thanks for the tutorial!! very helpful. curious to see how my first batch turns out.

    if you’re still checking these comments, i’m wondering if you could answer a quick question. i had no trouble with the initial 110 degrees. even after leaving the crock pot alone for 7 hours of sleep it was still at 90 degrees. in the morning, i turned the heat on again (on low) and left it for about half an hour. i checked the temperature at that point and it was sitting at about 100. turned the crock pot off…unplugged…and then disappeared for an hour. i came back an hour later and the temperature had creeped up to 120! never made it to the 125 mark…but i’m still wondering if 120 was too hot for my culture. i hope not. but perhaps someone will have some input.

    also, i’m assuming that any whey that i gather from a culture that was over-heated will lack good culture for making future yogurt or other fermented yummies. i would assume as much, but this is all pretty new to me!

    thanks again for the tutorial. quite a fun process.

    cheers!

    • Still checking, but a little behind on answering. Sorry for the delay!

      First thing that comes to mind – when you were checking the temperature of your yogurt, is there any chance your thermometer touched the bottom of the pot? As in, could it have touched the stoneware? I’ve found I can get some strange temperature readings if my thermometer accidentally touches the stoneware, so I try to be very careful about that. It’s the only thing I could think that would cause a jump like that, other than the crockpot still being on, which clearly isn’t the case here.

      Hrm… Now that I think of it, the only other thing that comes to mind is that you said you reheated on low. I usually reheat mine on the warm setting (unsure if your crockpot has that setting). I find this to be a little gentler when reheating so you don’t get a quick jump in temperature. I’m wondering if your crockpot had too much residual heat from heating on low, so that even when you unplugged it, it was still able to raise the temperature of the yogurt a few degrees. Understand, that’s really just speculation here since I can’t test out your crockpot, but if you try it again, try reheating on warm instead of low and see if you have the same issue.

      120 is probably too hot. IIRC, 117-120 degrees is around the area that your culture will start to die off. If you want to try making another batch, I’d start out with a new set of whey and chalk this batch up to a learning experience. (Hey, we all have ’em!)

      Hope that helps. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your next batch 🙂

      -DS

  3. What kind of crockpot do you have? I have never seen one like this? If you are fermenting for 24 hrs, how do you make sure the temp is right overnight? What would happen if it got lower than 110 degrees for several hours? Thanks for the tutorial!

    • It’s a digital slow cooker from crock-pot. Mine is older, but it’s like these: http://www.crock-pot.com/products.aspx?cid=71

      For the temperature, usually I check it before I go to bed and make sure it’s exactly right. Then, I just accept it’s going to drop while I sleep and not worry too much about it. But, first thing I do when I wake up is check to see how much the temperature has dropped and get it right back up to where it should be. I think the lowest I’ve ever had it get was 80 degrees, and the yogurt still came out fine.

      Basically, when the temperature drops, it slows down the fermentation. But it it doesn’t stop it. So your yogurt will still be yogurt, just possibly a little more runny.

      Hope that helps!

    • Hey Tiffany,

      The whey is really just the liquid part of plain yogurt. I have used a few scoops of yogurt from a previous batch to start a new batch, so I don’t see why regular plain yogurt wouldn’t work. I’d just add a spoonful or two (think dinner spoon size) of plain yogurt to the batch. It should work just fine.

      Hope that helps!

      – DS

  4. What temp level do you warm your yogurt up with on Step 1 and can you leave crock pot on low keeping the temp at the right level for step 4 or do you have to keep checking it. (also, if you keep checking it doesn’t that mess with the process?) I ask because I have had yogurt not turn out because I bumped or moved it. Thank you so much! I was needing a raw milk yogurt recipe.

    • Hey there Audrey,

      I usually heat the milk on low to get it to 110 degrees. Then turn it off. For my crockpot, I’ve found if I leave it on low or warm while it is culturing, it gets far too hot. But, if you’re ok with making a test batch (in that, it could get ruined, but at least you’d know for sure…) you could try doing a batch leaving your crockpot on warm and checking the temperature every few hours. If it goes over 110 while you have it on, it will probably kill the culture and ruin the yogurt. But if you do try it, you’ll know if your crockpot will make the milk to hot if you leave it on. For mine, it definitely would.

      I haven’t had any problems with yogurt not setting because I checked it a few times. I usually check every 5 hours or so. All I do is carefully lift the lid, stick the thermometer in the yogurt and close the lid again. So it doesn’t get too disturbed. Of course YMMV 🙂 but it hasn’t been a problem for me.

      Good luck with your yogurt!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here