Instant Pot Yogurt

While I continue my journey to make anything and everything I can in my Instant Pot for 2 weeks so that I can bring you an unbiased review of the small appliance, I had to bring you this very special post about Yogurt. While having a conversation about the Instant Pot with some of my 4-H moms I mentioned that I had a pot full of yogurt going at that very moment. Their questions made me realize that this subject of yogurt is easily a post on its own.

Among the questions I was asked about the yogurt came the question of Greek yogurt. More to the point, could you MAKE Greek yogurt in the Instant Pot. Well, the wheels started turning and a vague memory about what makes Greek yogurt “Greek” is that it is STRAINED to remove the whey, thus leaving a thicker, yogurt with more highly concentrated proteins. BTW: did you know that it is only know as “Greek” yogurt in the U. S.? All over the rest of the world it is called Strained Yogurt.

When I got home from our 4-H meeting last night I looked up Greek Yogurt to confirm my memory that it was in fact strained yogurt and nothing more magical than that. Not only did I confirm it, but I learned a whole lot of other stuff! But before I go imparting all of my knowledge on you, let me walk you through making yogurt in your Instant Pot.

This is from the recipe in the book that came with my Instant Pot. I doubled the recipe, mainly because it was morning, I hadn’t had my coffee and I didn’t feel like measuring.

My ingredients were simple: One Gallon of locally sourced, fat-free milk (pasteurized, not homogenized) and an 8 oz. container of Noosa Natural Yoghurt. (no affiliation, it just happened to be the smallest, all natural, yogurt (or yoghurt) that I could find)

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I poured the milk directly into the pot closed the lid and the vent and pushed the yogurt button then adjusted it to boil. (FYI, there is a version wherein you pour the milk into glass jars in a water bath, but the coffee…) That was all I had to do at that point! Push a button, the pot does the rest, which is to take the milk up to 180-degrees (scalding). It didn’t need me to stand there and watch it or anything.

Once the machine beeped, indicating that the milk had reached temp, I removed the liner full of milk from the machine to begin bringing the temperature down to 115-degrees. Once it reached 115-degrees it was time to put in the yogurt or yogurt culture and return the pot to the machine. A press of the Yogurt button and an adjustment of time and it was time to walk away while the Instant Pot made my yogurt, in my case 11-hours.

The results were incredible!

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While I used a Greek Yoghurt as my starter, I want to point out that my yogurt is NOT Greek or strained yogurt because I did not STRAIN it after. It just wasn’t that big of a deal to me. YOU are more than welcome to strain yours if that is how your roll.

This yogurt was thick and you could detect some texture to it. It wasn’t like that strange, silky texture of some of the name brand yogurts. I think that has a lot to do with the length of time it was allowed to process though. The Instant Pot automatically pops up with 8 hours processing time after the scalding, but a friend of mine said that she likes hers at 11 hours so I gave that a try. I like it too.

So, here are a few things I learned about yogurt and yogurt making that I want to share with you. The some the benefit of my own mistakes, some are things I learned through research.

  1. All yogurts are NOT created equal. Just because it says “Greek” yogurt doesn’t mean that it has actually been strained. Many (I would have to say nearly 1/2 if not more) have added thickeners or binders like guar gum, modified corn starch or carrageenan (remember that guy in the Bryer’s Commercial in the 80’s?) to give that rich, thick texture. Some will even add extra whey protein to bring the protein levels up. Even my ALL NATURAL Noosa has Pectin in it, which is added to enhance the texture and flavor some. Pectin is  a natural product, but people are often not aware that it can boost the sugar of the product by nearly 3 grams per serving. This may, or may not matter to everyone, but I found it interesting and now I find myself picking up containers of yogurt and reading them just to see what’s up!
  2. All yogurts are NOT Vegetarian friendly. Part of the reason I made 4 quarts of yogurt was that I planned to share with my daughter and grand kids who follow a vegetarian diet, BUT most yogurts contain gelatin, which is made from animal hides. While there is non-animal gelatin out there, my Noosa was bovine sourced, so it is kosher, it is not vegetarian friendly.
  3. Given all of the things that can be added to my plain yogurt, I am happy to have a way to make it myself, however, I still must be careful to read labels to my ingredients. For instance, I chose the most clean, most fresh option on my milk and I chose fat-free because I wanted a fat free yogurt. BUT, I did not read the ingredients in my all-natural, plain yogurt carefully, so I didn’t notice that it was FULL-fat yogurt. Not a condemn-able offence, but I will look to do better net time. In fact, in the interest of further research, I may buy a yogurt culture next time. We’ll see.

Over all, the yogurt experiment with the Instant Pot was a success. Even The Hubs, who does not like yogurt, tasted this and indicated that he might eat a bowl of it with honey and granola. THAT is something else, my dear readers. The Boy picked up a spoon and bowl and some fruit and enjoyed yogurt for the first time in a while, though he felt it might have been a bit more grainy than he liked. I think I can adjust for that though. The Girl and I are eating it like it is going out of style! Yes, it was a success!

Experimenting with my Instant Pot ended yesterday…well, for the most part…and I will have a full review soon, but for now I encourage those of you who got one for Christmas but have been too afraid to plug it in, to do some research and try it! It’s not as intimidating as you have made it in your mind. Make some yogurt or something. There are some lovely recipes out there on Pinterest. Check out my Under Pressure Pinterest board where I have rated the ones I’ve tried and will continue to do so.

I’m off to finalize my dinner menus and to pull together my final thoughts on my Instant Pot adventure. Maybe I’ll get it done in time to bring you a second post today. Maybe not though…

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