I’ve been making my own yogurt regularly for the last few years and I’ve come to love it more than any store bought yogurt. I prefer it because it’s rich, creamy and just the right consistency. If I want to make Greek yogurt or Skyr, I just let more of the whey drain off. If I prefer to have a thinner yogurt sometimes, I can let it drain for less time. I always save the whey too and use it when I make bread or pizza dough to add some extra protein to an otherwise carbohydrate-rich food.
It’s really easy to make homemade yogurt in an InstantPot! All you need is milk and some plain yogurt as the starter. I make yogurt often enough now that I can use the last batch as a starter for the next one. It’s always a good idea to choose a plain yogurt that you enjoy the flavor of for your first batch since the flavor of the homemade yogurt will be somewhat similar to that of the starter. Make sure your starter has active cultures. These yogurt cultures will help ferment the sugars in the milk and create lactic acid, which gives yogurt that signature tangy flavor. It sounds pretty weird to be eating bacteria, but it’s so good for you! Plain, unsweetened yogurt contains calcium, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, according to Healthline.com. It is also high in protein and can help aid in digestion, both of which can help regulate your appetite.
Before you attempt to make yogurt, be sure you have a reliable digital food thermometer. The first step is to heat the milk. Pour it into a clean Instantpot with a clean gasket that you use for neutral-flavored foods. Close the lid and set it to “Yogurt,” then “Boil.” Once it reaches a boil, loosely cover it with tin foil and place it somewhere to cool fast (such as the fridge on a potholder. In the middle of winter I put it out on my porch!) Let it cool to 108-112 degrees exactly.
If it gets cooler than that, use the sauté button on the InstantPot to get it back to the right temperature. It’s essential that it’s not too hot to kill the cultures but not too cool so that the cultures can’t grow. If the temperature isn’t just right, the yogurt won’t “set” and the whey won’t separate. Other than getting the temperature just right, making yogurt is quite simple: just add a little bit of yogurt to some warm milk and keep it warm for at least 8 hours. Then drain off the whey and you have a big batch of yogurt! I find that one gallon makes around 6-7 cups of Greek yogurt, so nearly two quarts of yogurt at the economical price of a gallon of milk!
Plus, then you can top it with fresh fruit or granola from Wolff’s Apple House or mix in your own vanilla bean paste, like in the photo above. Yum!
1 Gallon of whole milk
1/2 cup of plain yogurt with active cultures
An extra pot
Vanilla bean paste
Pour the gallon of milk into the InstantPot. Hit the YOGURT button until it says BOIL. When it says end, remove the lid and pot from the machine and put it somewhere to cool, such as on a potholder in the fridge or (covered) outside on a cool day. Cool the milk down to 108-112 degrees quickly. (Don’t leave it on the counter at room temperature – this takes too long and can allow unwanted bacteria a chance to grow).
When it cools down to 108-112 degrees, add the plain yogurt. Stir it very well. Place the lid back on the InstantPot and hit the YOGURT button until numbers appear and set it to 8-10 hours. If you go much longer than that it can taste too tangy.
When it finishes the 8 hours, remove the lid, line a large colander with a cheese cloth and place it in a large pot. Pour the yogurt to strain through the cheesecloth/colander/pot. Place this in the fridge and let it drain for a few hours. Reserve the whey that drips off into the pot to use in making bread later! (Stay tuned for a future article about this!) When the yogurt has drained to your liking, transfer it to another container. To make it really creamy, you can use a hand mixer to blend it well, but it will taste delicious whether you do that step or not!