Dec 28, 2016

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot

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I'd been eyeballing electric pressure cookers for a while, but since I could use my Presto pressure canner as a pressure cooker, I was hesitant to spend money on another kitchen gadget. Then I learned about the Instant Pot. This pressure cooker is so versatile, on Black Friday, I took the plunge...and I'm so glad I did! Later, I'll type more about this super handy machine that has pretty much taken the place of both my stove and my crock pot, but today I want to show you how it makes yogurt.

I've long been an advocate of homemade yogurt. Not only is it much cheaper, but it's healthier, too. There are no weird chemicals or artificial ingredients in it, and you control exactly how much sugar (if any!) to add. For some time, I made yogurt in my crock pot, and thought it was easy as could be. But I've since learned it's even easier in an Instant Pot.

An added bonus: Now I can make more yogurt at one time (which means I have to make it less often). (But if you don't want to make a full gallon of yogurt at one time, you can easily make small quantities of it instead.)

How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot

1 gallon milk* (makes about 4 1/2 quarts of yogurt)
6 oz. container of plain or vanilla store bought yogurt that contains "live active cultures"
1/2 cup of powdered milk (optional, for thickening. The photos here are of yogurt that hasn't been thickened)
Even without thickener, my whole milk yogurt is pretty thick.

1. Begin by making sure everything you'll be using is very clean. Run utensils through the dishwasher, wash your hands thoroughly, and then sanitize the Instant Pot's stainless steel bowl by doing the following: Put 1 cup of water in the bowl, and turn the valve to "Sealing." Press the "Steam" function. Press "Less" (a.k.a. "-") until you've set the IP to run 1 minute. Once the IP has done this, release the pressure and pour the water out of the bowl.

2. Scald the milk. Some people consider this an optional step, but it is recommended, no matter what kind of milk you're using. Without it, it's possible for a strain of dangerous bacteria to develop in the yogurt. Pour the milk into the IP bowl. Close the lid. Push the "Yogurt" button, then push the "Adjust" button once so the display reads "Boil." When the IP display reads "Yogrt," you're done scalding. (For me, using a gallon of milk, the scalding process takes about 30 minutes. It should take less time if you're using smaller quantities of milk.)




3. Now wait. The milk needs to reduce in temperature so you don't kill the active cultures you're about to add to it. You want the milk to be about 115 degrees F....Or, if you're like me, just wait until you can put a (clean!) finger into the milk comfortably. Use common sense here, and don't burn yourself! (The waiting takes about 30 - 40 minutes if you're using a full gallon of milk.)

4. Add the container of store bought yogurt, stirring in a zig-zag pattern until the yogurt is completely dissolved in the milk.

5. Put the lid back on the IP. The valve can be in any position. Press the "Yogurt" button, then press the "Adjust" button to achieve the amount of time you want the yogurt to sit. Eight hours is typical, but some people prefer to have their yogurt sit for longer; just remember, the longer it sits, the more tart it becomes. You will need to let the yogurt sit for a minimum of 6 hours, or it won't thicken. When this time is up, don't worry if the yogurt looks thin. It will thicken once it chills. It should, however, be thicker than milk.
Stirring in fruit.
And that's it!

At this point, I spoon the yogurt into canning jars and pop them in the fridge. Let them sit overnight so the yogurt can thicken. When you're ready to serve, you may notice watery stuff on top of each jar. That is whey. Stir it into the yogurt, if you like (it's got lots of good nutrients), or pour it off. (It's an excellent treat for chickens!) Don't dump it down the drain, because it has the potential to acidity rivers or other natural water sources (depending upon how waste water is treated in your area). For more ideas on what to do with whey, click here and scroll down.

With future batches, you can use your homemade yogurt as a starter. (I use 1 cup.) Over time, though, the cultures in your homemade yogurt probably will weaken, and periodically you may need to use store bought yogurt as your starter.


If You Want Less Yogurt
I like to add mashed fruit to our yogurt.

If you need less yogurt, just use less milk and add about 1 teaspoon of store bought yogurt per 1 cup of milk.

You can even make your yogurt in ready-to-go canning jars. To do this, change the way you scald the milk: First put the trivet in the IP, along with 1 cup of water. Put the canning jars on the trivet and pour the milk into the canning jars. (You may use any size canning jar that fits in the IP with the trivet in place. Most people use jam jars.) Set the valve to "Sealing" and push the "Steam" button. Push the "-" button until it's down to 1 minute. When the IP is done, push "Cancel" and allow the contents to cool naturally to115 degrees F. When it's time to add the store bought yogurt, add about 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of milk.


To Make the Yogurt Thicker

Add 1/2 cup powdered milk when you add the store bought yogurt. Or, strain the yogurt. (Straining will reduce the volume of the yogurt by half.) FYI: Store bought yogurt is usually thickened with gelatin or pectin.


How to Sweeten Your Homemade Yogurt

In the past, I've used honey or homemade jam to sweeten our yogurt, but recently I've found a better option - one that pleases everyone in my family (which is not easy to do!):

* Put 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit in a saucepan placed over medium heat. If desired, add sugar. (I use 1 cup of cane sugar; my family thinks this mixture makes the yogurt taste like store bought.) Stir often until the mixture thickens a bit. If you like chunks of fruit, use a potato masher or two knives to cut up the fruit. Otherwise, puree the fruit mixture with a blender.

I store this mixture in canning jars in the fridge. For large servings of yogurt, I add about 2 - 3 teaspoons of this mixture to the bowl. It makes the yogurt no longer tart, but also not super-sweet.


f you’re going to make yogurt in little jars, anyway, you can sanitize the jars and scald the milk at the same time (as shown in the video). Add a cup of water and the steamer basket into Instant Pot. Pour the milk in the jars and place the jars in the cooker. Set the valve on the lid to “Sealing” push the [steam] button and then the [-] button until you get down to one minute. When the program is finished push [cancel] to turn off the instant pot and let it cool down naturally.

Read more: Instructions & VIDEO: How to make Yogurt with Instant Pot DUO & SMART http://www.hippressurecooking.com/video-how-to-make-yogurt-in-instant-pot-duo/
Step 1: Sanitation Ensure that all of the equipment, containers and utensils to be used in the yogurt-making process are carefully cleaned. This ensures that no other bacteria compete with the yogurt starter during the incubation. If you’re making the yogurt directly in Instant Pot’s stainless steel container, sanitize the cooker by running Instant Pot on the pressure steam program for one minute with one cup of water. Set the valve on the lid to “Sealing” push the [steam] button and then the [-] button until you get down to one minute. When the program is finished, release the pressure and then pour out the water. Then, scald the milk by pushing [yogurt] button and [adjust] until the screen says “Boil”. Let Instant Pot bring the milk to a boil until the screen says “Yogt”. If you’re going to make yogurt in little jars, anyway, you can sanitize the jars and scald the milk at the same time (as shown in the video). Add a cup of water and the steamer basket into Instant Pot. Pour the milk in the jars and place the jars in the cooker. Set the valve on the lid to “Sealing” push the [steam] button and then the [-] button until you get down to one minute. When the program is finished push [cancel] to turn off the instant pot and let it cool down naturally. For both milk that has been scalded in the pot or little jars, wait until the yogurt cools down to at least 115F/46C before proceeding to the next step. That can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (make sure to take the temperature with a clean thermometer). If you don’t have a thermometer handy, you’ll want to wait until the jars are cool enough to handle.

Read more: Instructions & VIDEO: How to make Yogurt with Instant Pot DUO & SMART http://www.hippressurecooking.com/video-how-to-make-yogurt-in-instant-pot-duo/
* What Kind of Milk to Use

I always use store bought, whole cow's milk. But truly, you can use any type of milk you like - except ultra pasteurized milk (UHT). If you use reduced fat milk, you will probably want to use powdered milk as a thickener, or at least strain the yogurt once it's done. I have even heard of people using coconut or almond milk to make Instant Pot yogurt. But whatever milk you choose, make it the freshest milk possible. That means you should use only an un-opened carton or jug of milk.



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