Chicken Coop Chatter©
1/2 Gallon whole milk (1%-2% ,low fat or powdered milk will also work but will be thinner)
2 cups Heavy cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt (starter, with live/active bacteria)
Pour the milk into slow cooker. Heat to 180 degrees (about 1 1/2-2 hours depending on your heat element in the slow cooker). When the milk has reached the proper temperature, turn it off, and unplug, then allow to cool to 110-115 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup yogurt with some of the warm milk to temper, then add to the milk in the crockpot, stirring gently, place the lid back on. Wrap the cooker with a heavy towel, or set in a warm oven with the light on for 8 hours. (the longer the yogurt sets the more sour the body, so if you like yours a bit sour, allow to set longer) Spoon into containers (mason jars work well). Refrigerate up to 10 days. (this will last longer than 10 days but if used daily it will be gone within that time period).
Yogurt is easy to make and I have also made it with powdered milk. Mix up one 1/2 gallon of powdered milk with the highest milk fat content (2 1/2 cups powdered milk to one quart water). If you are unable to find the fortified powdered milk, add 2-3 cups heavy cream. Proceed as instructed above.
NOTE: You will want to start this early in the day, so you can allow for the heating time, cooling time and setting time which is about a total of 12 hours. Only about 15 minutes is actual hands on time. If you want to speed up the process you can heat the milk on the stove, allow to cool down, pour into crockpot and add the yogurt, however this calls for more hands on effort and defeats the purpose of using the slow cooker.
NOTE: The longer the yogurt sets the more sour the body, so if you like yours a bit sour, allow to set longer. This should be thick when it is ready, however if it is not as thick as you might like, you can strain it through cheese cloth until all possible liquid is drained , or if thinner than you like, use it for dressings or in baking, there is no such thing as failure in making the yogurt, it can still be used in many ways.
NOTE: I use the yogurt for dressing, dips, topping, sweetened, unsweetened, with fruit or jam. Added to cereal, and makes wonderful bread if added as part of the wet ingredients when making bread, biscuits or moist cakes.
NOTE: Chickens love yogurt and in limited quantities the probiotics are good for them. Once or twice a month, added to their grains, scrambled eggs or plain helps their digestion. And it costs mere pennies to make your own yogurt.
NOTE: The yogurt can be frozen without losing the live bacteria benefits. Freeze your yogurt starter and use at any time you want to make a batch of yogurt. Just thaw at room temperature. By freezing the *starter* you will never have to purchase yogurt again. If for some reason you lose your starter, simply buy another container of plain yogurt with live/active bacteria and start a new batch.
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