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My love for yogurt has been a slow and steady journey and an acquired taste. I didn’t start eating it until I was well in to my forties. I quit drinking milk when I was 10 years old…so it was definitely mind over matter for me to start eating yogurt. I had lunch every day with my co-workers and every day they would be eating yogurt. They would tell me how good it was day after day. After much coaxing, saying no, and more coaxing, and being told how good all those probiotics were for me, I tried it. And, well it was just ok. I started by eating Yoplait Whips…it was light and fluffy and I could eat the whole container. I just wasn’t a fan of all the sugar in it. As time went on, I was able to eat the creamier version of Yoplait. I didn’t think I would ever eat the Greek kind…ewwwww! Too thick, tangy and my taste buds just wouldn’t let me…
Then years later, I got a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo. The Instant Pot DUO60, 6 Qt.: a 7-in-1, Multi-Use, Programmable, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer all in one. You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking on the link for about $69.00. The Instant Pot (IP) has gained so much popularity that they have made it in several other sizes and styles.
Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt: 9-in-1, Multi-Use, Programmable, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer. $99.95
Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt.: 10-in-1, Multi-Use, Programmable, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer. $99.00
You can even get an Pioneer Woman-Inspired Instant Pot! It is so pretty in the flower design. Instant Pot Pioneer Woman LUX60 Vintage Floral 6 Qt . Although, I don’t think this one has the yogurt setting and you get to pay extra for that oh-s0-pretty design. $127.07.
If you have a larger family, you may want to consider the Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt.: 7-in-1, Multi-Use, Programmable, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer. $121.98
Some people like this 3-quart little gem for side dishes: Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 Qt: 7-in-1, Multi-Use, Programmable, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer. $79.95
Through a huge following on a Facebook group called the Instant Pot Community, I learned I could make my own yogurt. I was a novice, and a bit intimidated after reading about people’s yogurt fails, but decided to give it a go anyway. After all, you only use two ingredients…how hard can it be? Click on the IP above you would choose and it will open Amazon for you…keep it open…you can keep adding items in your shopping cart as you read about them.
STEAM CLEANING THE IP
I start by selecting the “steam” feature and steaming my IP for 3 minutes to sterilize and remove any unwanted bacteria before starting my yogurt. We want bacteria in our yogurt, but we only want the good kind! And a little side note here…if you have recently used your IP to cook a spicy dinner, be sure to wash all your IP parts thoroughly. I found out that Butter Chicken-flavored yogurt doesn’t get eaten and ends up in the trash. I discovered it wasn’t that my IP wasn’t clean, it was that I used the same silicone ring for my yogurt that I had previously used when I made butter chicken which has strong Indian spices. I STRONGLY recommend getting an extra silicone ring or two. I have a silicone ring for bone broth, soups, stews and other savory dishes and I have a silicone ring for yogurt, breads and desserts like cheesecake. I store this one in a Ziploc bag so as not to mix it up with the other one. I also keep a third silicone ring on hand for emergencies.
TWO INGREDIENT YOGURT
After steaming my IP clean, I pour a 1/2 gallon (The 6-quart IP will hold a whole gallon of milk) of Bessie’s Best Whole Pasteurized Milk into the stainless steel liner. Bessie’s Best is a local dairy in my area, but you can use any whole milk. I prefer yogurt made with whole milk and do not have any experience with 2% or 1% or skim milk. I know you can make yogurt with these milks as well as almond milk or coconut milk if you have an intolerance to dairy.
HEATING UP THE MILK – 180 degrees
After you have poured in your milk, select the “yogurt” button on your IP and then the adjust button so that the word “BOIL” is on display. The milk must be brought up to a temperature of 180 degrees. Use a thermometer to be sure you have scalded your milk. It is not necessary to actually boil (212 degrees) the milk. However, if after your IP beeps and your milk is still below 180 degrees, hit the sauté button and under a careful watch, “sauté” until the temperature comes up to 180 degrees. This can happen quickly, so stay alert and near your IP. (TIP: If you are using ULTRA-pasteurized milk, you do not need to scald your milk. This is called “cold-start yogurt”-see the video link at the end of this blog). Once you have scalded your pasteurized milk, place the stainless steel liner into a sink of ice water to reduce the milk temperature to 120 degrees or cooler. You must reduce the temperature before adding your yogurt starter or you will kill the live culture and your yogurt will not turn out.
ADDING YOUR YOGURT STARTER – 120 degrees or less
In order to make yogurt, you need a live culture. I use purchased, plain, Greek yogurt such as Chobani, Fage or Nostimo as my yogurt starter from a single-serve size. It has never failed me. Whisk in at least two tablespoons or even the entire contents of the Greek yogurt. Whisk it in really well.
BACTERIA MULTIPLICATION MAGIC
Cover the IP and press the yogurt button again…You are going to set it to keep your yogurt-starter mixture warm to incubate the culture. Essentially, what you are doing is growing and multiplying the bacteria. When I do this, the display shows 24 for 24 hours. Adjust until your timer is between 8 – 10 hours. The longer you incubate your culture, the tangier your yogurt will be. I almost always choose 8 or 8 and 1/2 hours. You do not have to use your IP lid with the silicone ring, you just need to cover the pot. Many people choose to cover their yogurt with the glass lid that you can purchase separately. You can also use one of the flat silicone covers that suction on to the container. I choose to use the IP lid. If you do, remember to close the pressure valve too.
This is where it can be frustrating if you didn’t time your yogurt making well, because your IP is now tied up for eight plus hours! Many people have learned quickly that they need another Instant Pot or at the very least another stainless-steel liner. Whatever you decide, be sure you are always ordering the correct size; six quart, eight quart, etc…I usually start my yogurt before bed so it will incubate and multiply those beneficial, gut-loving probiotics while I sleep.
In the morning, if the timer has counted down the 8 plus hours, it will say ” on the display yogt”. And now the moment you have been waiting for…remove the lid and take a peek. Your yogurt should be nice and thick…in fact, so thick that you can give it the “spoon test”. A spoon should be able stand up in it. Get a spatula and pour and scrape the contents into a Euro Cuisine Strainer. Get every bit of that deliciousness. The Euro Cuisine Strainer is by far the best strainer I have found to strain the whey off of your yogurt. It is a 3-piece system for draining the whey. This is what will turn your yogurt into thick, Greek yogurt. Before I had purchased the Euro Cuisine strainer, I used a stainless steel colander lined with damp coffee filters. You would not believe how much whey comes off of the yogurt. The last time I made yogurt, I poured off four cups of whey. What to do with all that whey? Here are 18 ideas!
TO SWEETEN OR NOT TO SWEETEN
I personally have not developed a taste for plain Greek yogurt. However, I also do not want the sugar calories either, but I like sweetened yogurt. I finish and sweeten my yogurt with the inside of a scraped vanilla bean or two and a sugar substitute made from a blend of Xylitol, Erythritol and Stevia.
MORE ON THE SUGAR SUBSTITUTE BLEND
Xylitol is a natural sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol made from birch trees or corncobs. It has 40% fewer calories than sugar and is a 7 on the glycemic index (white sugar is a 64). By the way…xylitol can be toxic and even fatal to dogs so don’t share treats containing xylitol with your furry friends. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol like xylitol. It occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables It has zero calories and no impact on blood sugar. It is produced from glucose by fermentation with yeast. Stevia is a plant discovered in South America. To make stevia powder a water extraction method is typically used. Stevia is 100 to 200 times sweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way. Here is the recipe to mix this blend that is very similar to the Trim Healthy Mama version of Gentle Sweet. You can purchase Gentle Sweet already mixed too. I mix the following recipe up ahead of time and only use 1/2 cup to sweeten each batch of yogurt. Note: You can save about 1/4 cup of your yogurt before you sweeten it to use as your starter for your next batch.
- 1- 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Erythritol
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Xylitol
- 2 tsp. Better Stevia
- 3 drops of Young Living Orange Essential oil (add later)
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LET’S TALK YOGURT STORAGE
I like to store my yogurt in a wide-mouth, glass, quart jar. Most come in sets of 12 jars with the lids and ring. It is an economical way to store your yogurt and many other things. I store dry goods in quart jars too, like nuts, coconut, backing chips, noodles, etc. I even have quart jars in my bathroom that hold baking soda, Epsom salts and magnesium flakes.
Another option to store your yogurt is to use individual serving jars or containers. This makes it really easy to grab and go if you are running late for work or in a hurry to pack your lunch. Euro Cuisine makes a great yogurt storage container that comes in a set of eight. Some people even pour the milk/starter mixture right into the jars and then incubate in them. These jars will hold 6 ounces of yogurt and come with a lid.
I also love these colorful, 4-ounce storage containers with a leak-proof lid. I think a lot of people use these to make and store homemade baby food. You could even prepare these ahead of time with fruit in them. Use the blue lid for blueberries, and the red lid for strawberries, etc…do you like fruit in your yogurt? I personally love granola in my yogurt. I usually buy gluten-free yogurt. Nature’s path makes a yummy granola with almonds. After you make and eat your own yogurt, and know how EASY and ECONOMICAL it is to make, you will never go back to purchasing yogurt in the store again.
QUICK SUMMARY of the YOGURT MAKING STEPS
- Steam IP liner 3 – 5 minutes
- Pour in 1/2 gallon whole milk
- Press Yogurt function on the IP and then adjust to “boil” milk to 180 degrees
- Cool milk to 120 degrees or less
- Add at least 2 tablespoons yogurt starter culture
- Press Yogurt function on the IP and set for at least 8 hours to incubate
- After 8 hours have passed, pour yogurt into Euro Cuisine strainer and cover
- Strain overnight in the refrigerator
- Remove yogurt from strainer
- Add vanilla, sugar-substitute blend and Orange essential oil, (or eat plain)
- Mix well
- Store in a quart jar or individual jars with lids and refrigerate
Cold start yogurt video. This is a really great tutorial and she explains the differences between pasteurized milk, ultra-pasteurized milk, shelf-stable milk and even ultra-filtered. You will gain a greater understanding of the cold-start yogurt method by watching this 20-minute video.
A yogurt bar is a wonderful way to serve your homemade IP yogurt to your family and friends. My personal favorite way to eat yogurt is with granola and sliced almonds. I usually purchase the gluten-free granola at my local grocery store. Some other items to include at your yogurt bar are: pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, coconut, cacao nibs, all-fruit jam, honey, etc….how do you like your yogurt?
I hope I have inspired you to making yogurt in your Instant Pot. And I would be happy to read your comments and suggestions and answer your questions.