Greek Yogurt a la Instant Pot

Greek Yogurt a la Instant Pot

Apart from being a mom, a moderate crafter, and a designer, I'm also a self-proclaimed homesteader. Not sure if I really fit the bill but I like to make things that can be bought at the grocery store. One thing I have tried in the past was yogurt and the thing that I didn't really like about it is that it wasn't thick like store-bought. 

I've grown to really like greek-style yogurt because it's even thicker and I do love others such as Australian and Icelandic yogurt which I guess are all strained quite a lot and also have added fruit or sugar to them.

I also acquired an Instant Pot after 18 months of being targeted on FB, seeing that pot sitting there, and wondering if it did all that it claimed to. I had invested in Le Creuset and Zojirushi so I was really skeptical of an electric pressure cooker but a friend of ours came by one night and we did a side by side test of making rice in the IP and in our Zojirushi. After seeing the results and it being a deal of the day, we got an Instant Pot. I wanted to make sure I got the one with the yogurt function so I could revive my practice of yogurt making. Making yogurt without the IP is pretty doable but there is something inconvenient about it that prevents me from making it all that often. 

The one thing i really dislike is waiting for the milk to cool down to incubating temp to add the starter. I had hoped the IP was equipped to do this for you and alas, it is not. I also bought a thermometer with an alarm to see if I could set it to go off when it reached the optimal temperature. BUT the thermometer only signals when you rise past the target temperature. It doesn't actually signal when you go below a temperature. Soo, there seems to be no work around that. It's not too bad as long as I set the yogurt out and put on the stove timer to make sure I don't just leave it sitting unattended.

So, here are my steps to making greek yogurt.

1. put your milk (1,2% skim or whole) into the IP. You can go ahead and do the full 1 gallons but it yields a lot of yogurt to strain so you will need to strain in batches or get 2 strainers or one that is large enough to strain.

2. press yogurt and then adjust until you see the boil message. The IP will boil the milk.

3. get a thermometer and test the temperature of the milk to ensure it is scalded at 180F (it needs to kill off any harmful bacteria that might be in it). 

4. remove the inner pot and place on the counter or the fridge. Take the temperature at 10 minute intervals to start and then 5 minute intervals. Set a stove timer to remind you to come check. It should be at 115 degrees F when you will want to add the 'starter'. 

5. You can either use yogurt starter which I have been told or read you can buy at a health food store or order on Amazon. OR you can use plain yogurt in good condition which you may have purchased at the store. Make sure it is not spoiled. Yogurt will keep for a while but inspect and taste to ensure the yogurt is still good. You need to take 1 cup of the scalded and cooled milk and then 1 tbsp of the yogurt starter and mix them together to incorporate the starter. Once thoroughly incorporated, add this mix to the scalded milk, stirring to incorporate. 

6. press the adjust button once again to set the IP to incubate the yogurt at this temperature - continue to press until you have selected how long you want it to run. You can select 8 hrs or up to 24 hours. I like to let it go for 24 hours. It will hold this temperature for you. Place the inner pot into the IP and close and seal the lid. After you have reached the selected time limit, open the pot and you will see hopefully yogurt. Here is a photo of my yogurt after 24 hours. It has a soft silken tofu consistency. It still has a lot of water and whey in it.

7. You will want a way to strain this yogurt. Some people use coffee filters or cheesecloth over a pasta strainer. I tried these and it was really messy and time consuming. I bought a Euro cuisine greek yogurt strainer as shown below. If I used a gallon of milk i would need to strain it in 2 batches. 

8. After several hours, the whey which is quite bitter, settles out of the yogurt. You can discard it or try to drink it or try to make soup or something with it. I find it quite bitter but there are cooking uses for the whey. 

9. After it is strained, you can wait longer if you want to be yogurt 'cheese'. In this way, you can use it for making savory dips and other thing. 

This was the consistency after about 8 hours in the fridge in the strainer.

It is pretty firm in consistency. If you incubate and strain for a long time, it will be a stronger tasting yogurt. Some people feel it is a little too sour if they leave it to incubate and strain for too long.

10. You can add a sweetener such as jam or honey if you want it to be sweet. We often eat it with granola in the morning.

11. Clearly, she likes it as she's licking the bowl!


The verdict? It is a savings to make the yogurt rather than buy it but you're not accounting for your time. But if you do buy the bulk milk and have a gallon you want to use, Greek yogurt is a great way to use the milk. Also note that with the straining out of the whey, the yield is a lot less than the original 1 gallon. 

I do think that the temp detection when to add starter would make this so much better of an appliance for yogurt. But it does take the guesswork out of the incubation process.

Hope you enjoyed this blogpost.

Always A Parent is my blog about parenting, business, entrepreneurship, pregnancy, and motherhood. MULTIWEAR® is my product design business selling products for busy moms, nursing and breastfeeding moms as well as diaper bags and gym bags.

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