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Making yogurt is a hot topic in the Instant Pot groups online. It is not hard or complicated. After you make it one time, you’ll see how truly easy it is to make Instant Pot Yogurt.
The first 30 minutes are hands-on. You have to make sure you (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘the Instant Pot’) heat the milk to the correct temperature. Then you add the starter to the heated milk. The next 8 to 10 hours require you to walk away and leave the cooker the alone so it can go about its business. You get involved again when it’s time to take the yogurt out of the pot and strain it.
Why make yogurt when you can buy it ready-made? My standard answer is, “Why not?” If you own an Instant Pot with the Yogurt function, aren’t you a little curious as to how it works? Don’t you wonder if you could actually make yogurt? Wouldn’t you be impressed with yourself after you made your first batch?
True story: A friend ‘convinced’ her sister to buy an Instant Pot. The first thing her sister made was yogurt. The first thing! Many Instant Pot newbies find the thought of making yogurt intimidating. Yet M jumped right in and made yogurt. Here’s what she had to say about the experience. “My 1st attempt to make yogurt was very respectable, I think. I’ve become a yogurt snob, ordering from Oberweise Dairy, and can’t eat grocery store brands now. I think my 1st attempt in the Instant Pot was pretty good! And certainly easy. And I’m not a great cook!” Way to go! She admits to being choosy about her yogurt and here she is making her own because it tastes good. And it’s easy to make!
There’s also the economics of yogurt making. For the price of a gallon of milk, you can get anywhere from 2 to 3 quarts of regular yogurt. Greek-style yogurt would yield less. It all depends on how much whey you strain from what you made. If you eat a lot of yogurt, you could save money. The other upside to home-made yogurt is the lack of preservatives or additives. All it takes is milk and a starter containing live active cultures (a pot of commercial yogurt). You control the ingredients and the quality right in your kitchen.
There are several recipes for Instant Pot Yogurt online. I started making yogurt using a comprehensive yogurt tutorial by This Old Gal (code name: TOG). She spells it out step by step. If you’re a first-time yogurt maker, I strongly advise you to read it and not just jump straight to the recipe. Her tips and tricks could mean the difference between success and failure. I succeeded. Go me! I created a checklist using This Old Gal’s method to help me keep track of what I was doing the first time around. If you want a copy to follow when you make yogurt, click here.
This Old Gal’s recipe uses a gallon of milk. I used a half gallon of whole milk. I used Yoplait strawberry yogurt as my starter. It worked. I would have preferred plain yogurt as the recipe suggested, but I was in Walgreen’s when I realized I needed a starter. I didn’t have time to go to another store so I had to get with what they had. Did my yogurt taste like strawberry? Not really. But honestly, with only a tablespoon of flavored yogurt to a half gallon of milk, any ‘flavor’ from the starter was negligible.
For those of you who prefer visuals (I like both reading and seeing.) I’m including a link to Frieda Loves Bread’s video of the yogurt process for newbies. Watch it. Between This Old Gal and Frieda (and my chart) you’ll earn your Yogurt Making Badge before you know it.
After you make the yogurt, you have to strain the whey. There are several ways to strain your yogurt. The first time I made yogurt, I used a plastic colander lined with about 6 regular coffee filters. It worked but I was irritated because the coffee filters slipped around as I was pouring the yogurt from the pot into the strainer. If you want to use coffee filters, I suggest the commercial size. All it would take is one. It would stay in place and not move around on you like 6 smaller filters do.
The next time, I used cheesecloth and my plastic strainer. This method worked well for me. Some people don’t care for cheesecloth because you have to rinse it out and wash it after each use. I don’t find that to be a problem. But if you don’t want to be bothered, use a specialty yogurt strainer. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to straining. You just have to find the one the works best for you.
Other than the Instant Pot, the equipment for making yogurt consists of your preference of strainer, a silicone whisk, and an instant read cooking thermometer to check the temperature of the milk. That’s it.
If you want to store your yogurt in individual serving containers, these Weck Tulip Jelly Jars are super cute as well as functional. These Bernardin plastic freezer jars would be better suited for families with children. The 8 ounce size of both of these sets allows you to leave space for the toppings of your choice. Close the lid and you have a quick and easy grab and go breakfast or snack.
If you haven’t made yogurt yet, what are you waiting for? Give it a try. You’ll be making Instant Pot yogurt like a pro in no time.