I have only bought yogurt sporadically this year and wanted to try making it. The net abounds with versions of crockpot yogurt and labneh, which looked too good not to try for a girl who likes her creamy things!!
I can access farm milk locally cheaper but do have to drive some distance to get it so thought I would just splash out, try everything and see how we went with it before I make a trip down to this farm. I will be making these alot, I am so pleased with how it turned out. The starter yogurt just has to be bought initially. You need 1 tub, or 1/2 cup for each litre of milk. These were 60c each and the milk $2.50 per lire carton. So, it cost just over 1/2 the price for 2 litres of greek yogurt (if not on special). Postnote: I have been making this since this with normal dark blue lidded milk, for half the price again.
I do apologise for quality of photos, my kitchen is so dim. I didn’t take photos of the process either sorry.
I started with this:
Put the milk into a crockpot on LOW. Keep on low for 3 hours. After this time turn it off and leave it to cool until you can hold your finger in till the count of 10, between warm and hot! Take 2 cups of milk out and mix through the yogurt, return all back to crockpot and stir through well. Wrap the crockpot in a large thick towel (or blanket) and put in the oven WITH THE LIGHT TURNED ON, overnight or for up to 12 hours.
You then end up with this, 2 litres of yogurt. Very simple. Mine was quite thick already and thickened up more on refrigeration. This will last a week or so in the fridge. Remove and reserve 1/2 cup for each litre of milk you want to make into yogurt next time as a starter. You never need to buy the starter again.
I prepared a straining basket with 3 layers of cloth (I used a couple of linen teatowels) and placed over a bowl. I tipped just over a half of the yogurt into a cloth, refrigerated this for around 15 hours and ended up with a delicious soft curd similar to ricotta cheese with a slightly sharper taste. Delicious and just begging for a cake to be used on.
Some was taken off to eat like this and the rest returned to the basket for another 8 hours.
If making Labneh straight from yogurt it is suggested to leave draining for 24 hours.
With oiled hands take off golf ball sized pieces and roll into balls, roll in fresh herbs if wish, and place gently in a sterilised jar. Cover with olive oil as you do each layer. The balls will last refrigerated for at least a couple of months.
The whey has also been saved to use in smoothies. I have seen suggestions it can be used in place of buttermilk.