Instant Pot Yogurt: Part Deux

yogurt with lemon curd
Plain yogurt with lemon curd

Part Deux? Oui.
You may have already read my original Instant Pot Yogurt post and are wondering how there could be more. Trust me there is. In Part Deux, I’m going to tie up some loose ends about yogurt making.

Making yogurt is easy if you follow the directions and don’t try to free-style your first time out. Don’t be that person who says that they followed the recipe exactly, except for the 5 changes they made. Then when it didn’t turn out they wonder why. This Old Gal and Frieda Loves Bread each have great tutorials on yogurt making. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should.

If you’re going to make yogurt, you need a starter that contains active cultures. Most people use a small pot of good-quality commercially made yogurt. Read the container. As long as the container says ‘live active cultures’ you’re all set. Keep in mind that you must use a fresh container for each batch of yogurt. A container that’s been sitting open in the refrigerator for even a few days has lost its potency.

A little bit of research led me to the joys of [affiliate linkfreeze-dried yogurt starter. Keep a package of this on hand and you’ll always have a starter that you’re sure will be optimal for yogurt making. There are several brands available.

Most people make unflavored yogurt. If you’re accustomed to flavored store-bought yogurts, you’re in for a shock. Yogurt, in its truest form, tastes more like sour cream. And nobody that I know sits down and eats sour cream straight out of the container with a spoon. Although there are people who enjoy plain yogurt, most prefer it to be flavored with something. FYI: Adding vanilla extract to yogurt will give it a vanilla flavor but it won’t make it sweet. I’m just sayin’.

There are so many ways to flavor yogurt. Lemon curd. Slices or cubes of fresh fruit. Home made fruit compotes or jams. Store-bought jams. Honey. Dulce de leche (caramel sauce). Granola. Flavored syrups. Coconut. Crystal Light powders. Yes. Crystal Light. It comes in a variety of flavors. You could also stir some instant pudding mix or instant gelatin mix into your yogurt. All of these flavors for the price of a gallon of milk. There are so many possibilities when it comes to flavorings. Let  your imagination and your taste buds be your guides.

The plus side of unflavored yogurt is that you aren’t tied to an entire batch of a single flavor. Each individual serving can be flavored to suit. Unflavored yogurt can also be left unflavored and used as a replacement for sour cream and even cream cheese (if you’ve made a super thick Greek-style yogurt).

Speaking of Greek-style yogurt, you are going to have quite a bit of whey after you strain your yogurt. The amount of time you strain it dictates the amount of whey you’ll have. It is not unusual for a gallon of milk to produce over a quart of whey. People who are new to yogurt don’t have any idea of what to do with the whey. They tend to dump it down the sink. Don’t! Whey can be used for so many things; watering plants, baking bread, making rice, to name a few. Check out this article on 36 Ways to Use Whey.

FYI #2: Chocolate milk doesn’t produce chocolate yogurt. Stop and think about what yogurt is: milk that has been fermented using bacteria. Good bacteria. It is tart by nature. Chocolate milk contains additives, preservatives, and flavorings including sweeteners. Adding sugar too soon in the yogurt making process inhibits the fermentation needed for yogurt to form.

Considering that sweeteners come pre-installed in chocolate milk, it isn’t suitable for yogurt making. Even if you could get a true yogurt from chocolate milk, there’s that pesky tartness issue. Tart chocolate doesn’t even sound appetizing. That being said, Frieda Loves Bread has devised a recipe for a chocolate yogurt whip. But she didn’t start with chocolate milk.

What about the lactose intolerant? Vegans? Are they destined for lives devoid of yogurt? Nope. There are quite a few non-dairy yogurt recipes out there. Here’s a coconut milk yogurt recipe from Instant Loss. There are also soy yogurt recipes. The processes differ a bit from making yogurt with cow’s milk. But if you are dairy-free, these are great options for you.

You may be thinking that making yogurt sounds complicated and a lot of trouble. It isn’t. People have been making yogurt for centuries. The Instant Pot took the process and made it easier and more accessible. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, give it a try. Let me know how it turned out.

Pressure cooking is fast, easy, and fun! Please share!

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