I love yogurt! I found myself spending $10/week eating 1L of it. I would buy the larger tubs, divide it among my reusable containers, add my own fruit and voila! Cheaper single servings of yogurt with fresh berries instead of sugary jam caked to the bottom. I found that a lot of smoothies I wanted to make also called for 1 cup of yogurt. Why does trying to be healthy have to be so expensive? I set out to find a way to make my own probiotic yogurt. Most probiotic yogurt have enough good bacteria in it to help those of us who are lactose-intolerant, to digest the lactose. To make things a little more easier on the digestive system, I decided to go 100% lactose free, probio! I was largely inspired by the instructions of this blogger on how to make your own yogurt in a slow cooker. Why spend the money on a yogurt maker when a slow cooker will do just fine? What you’ll need:
- Lactase enzyme drops (Walmart, pharmacy department is usually the cheapest place to get them)
- 2L of 2% milk (if you like thick yogurt, you need more milk fat)
- Fresh probiotic, store bought yogurt/Yogurt starter (I have tried a greek yogurt and used Yogourment probiotic bought from a healthfood store with good results)
- Slow cooker
- Thermometer (Wireless one works best, you’ll understand why. You can get one at BB&B with a 20% off coupon)
First thing you need to do, is get the lactose out of your 2L of milk. Following the directions on the drops, you just pop in about 10-15 drops of lactase enzymes into your 2L and put it back in the fridge over night for 24 hours so the enzymes can break down the milk sugars or lactose. The next day, you pour your milk into a slow cooker and set it on high to kill any existing bacteria in the milk that would compete with the bacteria in your starter. It would start a war where no one wins and you end up wasting your time and 2L of milk. I have done this in a 6quart oval crock pot which works well with the lid sitting on the braided, digital thermometer wire. For the Breville Fast Slow Cooker you have to remove the silicone gasket from the lid in order for the lid to close on the cable without damaging it. The Breville refuses to cooperate if the lid isn’t closed and twisted shut. Set the thermometer alarm to 83 degrees C (or 181 degrees F) and walk away with the remote portion so you can continue to do what you want for the next couple of hours without having to check on it incessantly. You don’t want it to come to a rolling boil and it would suck if it boiled over. Once it has reached the magical, bacteria killing temperature you have to cool it down. WTF? Yes, you need to cool it down to a comfortable temperature of around 43 degrees C (110 degrees F) for your new bacteria to thrive. Tossing them into a hot bath too soon will upset the poor little buggers. Take the pot out of the cooker and let it sit on the stove so it can cool on all sides. I usually put the lid back on the cooker and leave it on low to keep it warm. Luckily you have a wireless thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature, while you go do something else.
Once it has reached the magical,non-bacteria killing temperature, you can skim the dried milk skin off the top. Take a cup (two soup laddles) of your 43 degree C milk and mix it in with your yogurt starter. Then whisk this mixture in with the rest of your warm milk. If you are doing this with your Yogourmet for the first time, just whisk the packet in. Put your pot back in the cooker. Don’t forget to put the gasket back on the Breville’s lid. Twist the lid on, wrap the whole shebang in a beach towel. For good measure, I put the whole thing in a collapsible cooler to keep it warm and snug for 12 hours
The next day, you’ll open the cooler, unwrap the towel, twist off the lid, and dip a spoon into the pot and uncover the magical world of curdled milk and bacteria that we have grown to know and love as yogurt. Give it a good stir and put it in the fridge. So for the cost of 2L of milk, around $4 or less, you get 2L of yogurt! How great is that?