Yogurt is one of my favorite healthy snacks. Did you know that it is so easy to make your own yogurt? It is also more cost-efficient and you’d be using less plastic compared to store-bought yogurt. In this post, I will show you how to make yogurt at home with a thermal cooker.
Recently, I bought a thermal cooker and it introduced a whole new way of cooking for me. If you’ve never heard of a thermal cooker before, read my article here. I experimented with making yogurt using a thermal cooker and I was really pleased that it was so simple and the yogurt turned out delicious and nicely tart.
There are 2 ways you can make yogurt with a thermal cooker. Depending on the size of the thermal cooker model, you can make up to approximately 7 qts of yogurt if you heat the milk directly in the cooker’s inner pot. For small amount of yogurt, use jars. The number of jars you can fit inside your thermal cooker will also depend on the size and height of the thermal cooker and the jars.
The thermal cooker that I’m using for this easy homemade yogurt recipe is by Tiger and its capacity is 5.2 litres. You can easily fit two to three 500ml jars inside. Use smaller jars if you wish to make many small jars of yogurt. Just stack them up.
Ingredients to Make Yogurt
The key ingredients to make yogurt are always the same – milk and some plain yogurt with live cultures (eg:L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei). Live cultures are good bacteria that is beneficial to the health of our gut and is essential to make a yogurt starter.
Any type of milk can be used to make yogurt – cow’s milk and goat’s milk are the most commonly used. I read that soy milk works too though I’ve yet to try it. I used both low fat milk and whole milk and I find that whole milk will produce a creamier yogurt. If you can’t tolerate dairy products, try coconut milk instead.
Different brands of commercial yogurt used for the yogurt culture will produce slightly different tasting yogurt. After using a few types of commercial yogurt brand as starters, you’ll be able to discern which one will produce the best tasting yogurt for you.
Equipment to Make Yogurt in a Thermal Cooker
How to Make Yogurt With a Thermal Cooker
Note: For food safety purposes, it is a good practice to sterilize all jars and equipment before making yogurt.
It is a good practice to label the bottles with the date it was made. Refrigerate and use the yogurt within a week. Remember to save a cup of the homemade yogurt for use as a starter yogurt for your next batch. Scoop it out into a small container after it has cooled and set and before it’s eaten to avoid contamination.
Why I Think a Thermal Cooker is the Best Yogurt Incubator
It is necessary to keep the milk and yogurt mixture in a warm place for the good bacteria to do its job. There are many ways to incubate yogurt. Some commonly used methods include using a yogurt maker, dehydrator, oven, crockpot, heating pad and towels, picnic cooler, etc.
Here’s why I love using my thermal cooker when making yogurt.
1. Savings in time and energy. It doesn’t use nor require any energy. Unlike using a crockpot or oven, I do not have to pre-heat the cooker at all.
2. No fuss, no muss. There’s no need to place any hot water bottles nor use any towels to wrap up the cooker. Just use it as it is.
3. Flexibility. You don’t have to fully fill the inner pot to successfully incubate the yogurt. I’ve made yogurt in the thermal cooker before with just half a pot of yogurt.
If using glass jars, you don’t need to have many jars of warmed milk in the cooker in order to have enough heat in the pot. In one of my experiments, I placed just one 500 ml jar of warmed milk and nothing else in the thermal cooker. I covered the lid and left it to incubate overnight. The next morning, the milk has turned into a creamy and delicious yogurt. Easy peasy.
4. Versatile cookware. When I bought my thermal cooker, it was mainly for making soups, stews and liquid based dishes. I was very pleased to discover that it can also be used to make yogurt, chicken stock, cake, rice, etc.
Why Yogurt Is Good For You
It’s true what most people say about homemade yogurt. It is simply the best. Once you’ve made your own, you may never want to return to commercially made yogurt. Homemade yogurt just tastes… different. Creamier. Tastier. Definitely better. The best part for me is the satisfaction of eating my own homemade yogurt. I’m also more inclined to eat yogurt if I made it myself. My kids love dressing up the yogurt with fruits, honey, granola and what-have-you. It’s simply delicious!
Not only that, yogurt is a really versatile food. There are many recipes with yogurt as an ingredient. Use it in dishes like curries, salad dressing, as a marinade, in baking and so many more.
Do you make your own yogurt? I would love to hear your questions and thoughts about this easy homemade yogurt recipe with a thermal cooker. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media! 🙂
Other thermal cooker recipes you may like:
- 1 litre whole milk
- 4 tbsp plain yogurt with live cultures
- Thermal Cooker
- Cooking Thermometer
- Mason jars
- Heat the milk up to 80°C - 85°C (176-185°F) in a pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the milk doesn't get scorched at the bottom. If a skin forms, you can either stir it back in or remove it.
- Once it has reached the required temperature, turn off the heat and let the milk cool to the range of 45°C - 50°C (113-122°F). The milk should be warm to the touch.
- Scoop out 3 tbsp of yogurt into a bowl. Add 1 cup of the warm milk and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Pour the mixture back into the pot of warm milk and stir gently making sure it is well combined.
- Pour into glass jars and place them in the inner pot. Cover the jars and inner pot with lids. Incubate for 8-10 hours in the thermal cooker. The longer it sits, the thicker and more tart the yogurt will become.