As promised, I'm finally going to talk about making SCD yogurt in a crockpot. In Breaking The Vicious Cycle, Elaine Gottschall talks about the benefits of properly prepared yogurt and it's effectiveness in helping to balance out the microbes in the gut. The process of making yogurt is very simple and when done properly, will remove nearly all of the lactose present in milk, making it safe for people who are on the SCD to consume. When and how to introduce yogurt depends on the individual and for that I will refer you to your health care provider.
In the book, Elaine provides detailed directions for how to make yogurt, however, she uses a stovetop method, which I find troublesome because I get too distracted in the kitchen and find it physically impossible to heat milk without scorching it. And therein lies the beauty of crockpot yogurt making...it's really hard to mess it up. You pour the milk into the crockpot, turn it on, set a timer and go about your life for the next few hours without having to stand and stir or worry that if you blink you'll ruin your yogurt. It does take longer to complete the entire process, however, the amount of hands-on cooking time (if you can even call it that) is onlyy 5-10 minutes tops.
I started making homemade yogurt a few years ago, long before I had ever heard of Ulcerative Colitis or SCD. It's easy, cost effective and tastes better than store bought. If you do a search on Pinterest, you'll find lots of blog posts about how to make yogurt in a crockpot, but my favorite is from The Girls' Guide to Guns and Butter which details very clearly how to make yogurt in a crockpot. Blog author, Sofya, also has an excellent post about the science of yogurt and how to troubleshoot problems. (The whole blog is actually really well written and has a lot of information about country life, homesteading, hunting and guns...if you're into that kind of thing...LOL)
There isn't much I can add to her excellent posts, but I will reiterate a few key points and will share a few time saving tips I've discovered.
- Full-Fat vs. Non-Fat Milk: Prior to starting the SCD, I always made my yogurt with non-fat milk, but now I always use full-fat. I think it's really important to get those extra fats and calories into my little one, so I never skimp on fat.
- No Bifidus: Make sure your yogurt starter does not contain the bifidus bacteria. I have only been able to find one brand of commercially made yogurt that is appropriate for making SCD yogurt and that is plain, unsweetened Smari, a wonderful Icelandic-style yogurt carried by Whole Foods. Beware of added pectin in some yogurts. Greek Gods makes a plain yogurt that does not have bifidus, but does contain pectin, which is an illegal ingredient. (If you use a different yogurt, please leave a comment to let us know what kind you use.) You can also use Yogourmet freeze-dried yogurt starter which is usually found in the dairy section of grocery stores or you can find it on Amazon.
- Confession: I had been making SCD yogurt for months before I realized that I wasn't supposed to be using anything with bifidus. (Oops!) During that time, I used a number of different plain, organic yogurts as my starter and my daughter never had a problem. I tell you this, not to lead you astray, but to remind you that this diet is different for everyone. Do what works for you.
- Calibrate Your Equipment: Every crockpot is different, so when you make yogurt for the first time, watch your clock and your thermometer carefully to figure out how long it will take to heat up and cool down milk in your crockpot. I have learned that it takes exactly two hours for milk that is fresh out of the fridge to come to 185 degrees on the high setting in my crockpot and about three hours to cool down with the lid on. Once you do this, it becomes very easy to time your yogurt in the future. If you have a thermometer with an alarm on it, so much the better...just set it and then walk away until it beeps.
- Time Saver: Pour your heated milk into a pan to cool. Because the crockpot is so well insulated, it can take 3+ hours for the milk to cool down enough to add your culture. This is fine if you don't have anywhere else to be or aren't trying to finish up so you can get to bed. But, if you got a late start or have errands to run, speeding up the cooling process can be helpful. You can also put the milk in the fridge for a little while.
- Important! Be sure to let your yogurt ferment at 100-110 degrees for a full 24 hours.
- Flavoring: Let your yogurt do it's fermentation thing before adding any sweeteners or flavorings.
So that's all there is to it! Once you've made a batch of fresh yogurt, you can use it in a million ways. I find that it keeps for at least two weeks in the fridge. I make smoothies for my daughter almost every morning with frozen fruit, yogurt and a little SCD-legal juice. It also works well in savory applications and makes a great sub for sour cream or mayo in many recipes. You can strain it and get something closer to a Greek yogurt or go even further and get a yogurt cheese. Yogurt can be flavored with fruit, herbs, mustard, spices...you name it. Just remember that in order to gain the probiotic benefits, it has to be eaten in it's "raw" state...meaning if you mix it into a casserole and cook it or freeze it into a popsicle, you'll kill all that good bacteria. It'll still tastes great and is a good source of protein and calcium, but you want to get that probiotic benefit too.
I hope this was helpful and makes your SCD cooking a little easier. Thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to stay in touch, you can find me at the following links: