The way my son goes through yogurt, I would be surprised if we spent less than $100 a month on it… seriously. Between the two of us, we should just buy stock in Chobani, or figure out a way to make our own. When I saw that our new favorite kitchen toy, the Instant Pot, had a yogurt making function, I was intrigued. I decided to give it a whirl and see if I could make yogurt that a toddler yogurt connoisseur would love, and save a few bucks in the process. So here goes.
Things I learned real quick:
- There are 4 mandatory phases and 1 optional phase:
- Heating the milk: goal is temp of 180-183 F
- Must hit at least 180
- This takes 30 min-1hr
- Cooling the milk: goal is to get the temp down to 95-110 F
- Can be done using ice bath/water bath/ room air. I used water bath and it took 15ish mins
- Incubating: at the start of this is when you add your starter and basic flavors (sugar, honey, vanilla). Then it sits.
- Takes 4-10 hrs depending on your preferences. In general, longer incubation = thicker yogurt and more tart flavor
- Leave this to sit all day long or overnight
- Don’t touch the yogurt after this phase, even though it’s tempting!
- Setting: put your, covered, untouched incubated yogurt into the fridge. Then it sits, again.
- Again 4-10 hours
- If you incubated during the day, leave the yogurt in the fridge overnight, or vice versa if you incubated overnight.
- Straining: This is to make Greek yogurt.
- 2 hours is average, but some people like less or more. The longer the strain, the thicker the yogurt.
- Heating the milk: goal is temp of 180-183 F
- Get your supplies ready and very clean/ sterilized. You’ll need:
- Instant pot – this can be easily sterilized using the steam function on the IP
- A whisk
- A working, accurate meat thermometer (digital is best)
- Measuring spoons
- A measuring cup or small bowl (for tempering the starter)
- A fine mesh strainer (if straining it to make Greek style yogurt)
- Extra large coffee filters, or cheesecloth, or paper towels (if straining to make Greek style yogurt)
- Airtight storage containers
- Temperature is very important. The key to yogurt coming out well is hitting the right temperatures, hence the meat thermometer
- This takes a really long time. Start either early in the morning or later in the evening. The incubation period takes 8-10 hrs, and then it needs to “set” in the refrigerator for just about as long. Plus if you want to strain it, there is another 2-4 hrs.
- You can use any type of milk that you’d like, but whole milk will be the creamiest, skim the thinnest.
- Your starter yogurt can be either from store bought plain yogurt (just milk and live active cultures) or saved yogurt from your previous batch.
Instant Pot Yogurt
Total time: around 24hrs
- 1/2- 1 gallon of milk
- 2 heaping TBSP starter yogurt
- 1-2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
- 6-12 TBSP sugar (optional) OR Honey
- Sterilize your IP pot, then dry and put in the fridge/freezer for a few minutes to cool it down.
- Add milk to the pot. Hit the IP yogurt button. Then hit the adjust button until it says “boil”. Cover your pot and close the steam valve.
- This phase takes 30-45 mins. 2-3 times during this phase, remove the lid and whisk the milk.
- As soon as the boil phase is complete, whisk the milk (there will be hot spots), then check the temp. It should be 180-183 F. If it is not then either re-do the boil phase, or turn on the saute function. If using the saute function, you must constantly whisk the milk to prevent scorching.
- Once you hit the goal temp, remove the inner pot and place it in a sink of cool water.
- Allow the milk to cool to between 95-110 F. Whisk the milk prior to measuring the temperature as there will be hot spots.
- In your measuring cup or small bowl, combine your starter with some scoops of the warm milk. Whisk it together well. Hint: use the measuring spoon you used to get the starter to scoop out the warm milk.
- Add the starter mixture, vanilla, and sugar to the warm milk.
- Place the inner pot back into the IP. Cover the pot with the steam valve either open or closed. With the IP on the Yogurt function, hit adjust until the pot is at 8-10 hrs whatever you prefer. Leave your IP alone until it’s all done.
- When incubation is complete, DON’T TOUCH IT!, cover the inner pot with a lid (i used plastic wrap and a not perfectly fitting lid). Then place the pot undisturbed into the refrigerator. Leave it alone for another 8+ hours.
- After the set time, you can set up your strainer with coffee filter/paper towel/multiple layers of cheesecloth over a large bowl and scoop your yogurt over it. Place the bowl back in the fridge to allow the yogurt to filter for 1-4 hours depending on how thick you want the yogurt.