I have a confession. I make my own yogurt.
No, I’m not a health nut. No, I don’t do it for the health benefits or to be natural. I do it because I like the taste and texture – and I eat yogurt daily.
Almost a year ago, I was looking for different ways to use my instant pot and I made a batch of yogurt. Since that day I have made almost 1 batch (a gallon of milk) every week. Not only that – one batch is not nearly enough for our family. It is loved by all.
I will admit, the first time I made it, I was somewhat disgusted with the process. You end up with a curdled milk product that gets strained and smooths out. Even to this day, Hunter doesn’t like watching the yogurt getting dumped into a strainer. It looks like Briggs sippy cup when it gets left with milk in it for a while! But trust the process. It is tasty.
Here’s how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot.
You’ll need an Instant Pot with the yogurt function (I use the 6qt), a thermometer, gallon of milk (use whole or 2%) and a yogurt starter (find a store bought yogurt you like that as live active cultures. I like the Oikos Vanilla. After you make your own yogurt you can keep using your own yogurt as the starter.)
Pour entire gallon of milk into the Instant Pot and put the lid on. Press the yogurt button and then push the adjust button until you see BOIL. The purpose is to get the milk to 180-185 degrees. (I shoot for 185)
This takes a while – maybe even 45 minutes. It will beep when it’s done. I have noticed that even pressing boil there have been times it hasn’t gotten to temperature – use the thermometer to check. If after a cycle it’s not to temperature, press the saute button and it will continue to heat, keep stirring and checking temperature until it reaches 185F.
You need to cool the milk to about 111F. You can let it cool on its own – this will take some time or you can speed up the process by removing the inner pan and placing it in a cold/ice bath.
Once the milk is at 111F it’s ready to add the yogurt starter. Put the pan back in the instant pot. Remove a cup of milk and place it in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of yogurt starter. Mix it well and pour into the large pot of milk. This is the stage where I add sweetener and flavor. You can also add it at the end, this is just personal preference.
Like I said before, I don’t make yogurt for the health benefits and I like my yogurt more sweet than not – I add a cup of sugar and 2 1/2 TBSP of pure vanilla extract. Put the lid back on, push the yogurt button and then adjust – this is where you have the chance to choose how long you want to let the yogurt set. The longer it sets the more tart it is. Standard is 8 hours and the instant pot will automatically turn to 8 hours when you press “adjust”. Just make sure that the normal light is lit, not less or more.
After you set the clock for 8 hours, don’t touch the pot. Let it sit on the counter and do its thing. After its done it will beep. Its okay if it goes longer – just decide what your personal preference is.
Your yogurt is done! It looks a little like curdled milk but once you stir it, it will start to resemble yogurt. You’ll notice its a runny yogurt and thats not my preference. I prefer to strain liquid out and create more of a greek yogurt texture. You can buy fancy yogurt strainers, but I’ve yet to find one that manages a gallon of milk. Or you can buy nut milk bags. Instead, I took my strainer and I put some coffee filters in it and let it strain. I used to let it strain in the fridge which immediately stops the fermentation process. But now I let it strain in my sink. The problem is it doesn’t stop fermenting at room temperature. So I’ve cut down my instant pot time to 6 1/2 hours and then let it sit in my sink for two hours or even longer if it’s not to desired consistency.
Enjoy your yogurt and be prepared to make another batch quickly.
Note: I love vanilla yogurt but I also love a fruit flavored yogurt. I make a syrup and keep it in containers in the freezer that I can thaw and add when I feel like it. Here’s the recipe for the fruit syrup:
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice.
Simmer ingredients for 5-7 minutes until thick: Increase or decrease the sugar to your liking.