My fascination with fermentation led to making yogurt at home. I am not going to claim that homemade yogurt is far more delicious than storebought, but we do control the ingredients and processing.
We used the Dash Greek Yogurt Maker with great success for a couple of years, but it only made about 3 cups of yogurt. That doesn’t last long around here with our resident pescatarian always on the prowl for snacks. When the Instant Pot joined our batterie de cuisine, we began using it to make larger quantities of homemade yogurt.
Besides the Instant Pot, I recommend:
- instant-read thermometer
- strainer to make Greek yogurt (the Euro Cuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt Maker can handle 8 cups of yogurt)
- hand-held immersion blender such as the basic Braun immersion blender
1 small container (5.3 ounces) of plain yogurt with active cultures (I use Siggi or Chobani)
8 cups (half a gallon) of organic whole milk
Take the starter yogurt from the refrigerator so that it has time to warm closer to room temperature while you heat the milk.
Heat the milk in a large metal bowl (mine holds 8 quarts) on top of a saucepan of boiling water till the milk reaches 185° F. Do not allow the milk to boil.
Remove the bowl of milk from the top of the saucepan and let it cool to about 100°–110°F before mixing in the starter yogurt. Do not let the milk cool below 90° F before adding the starter.
Use a whisk to mix the starter yogurt with the milk until the consistency is smooth with no lumps remaining.
Since yogurt-making in the Instant Pot does not require pressure cooking, you can use a glass lid that fits your Instant Pot instead of the locking lid. (Of course, the Instant Pot people make such a lid.)
- Pour the milk mixture into Instant Pot.
- Plug in the Instant Pot and put on a lid.
- Set the Instant Pot to Yogurt.
- Set the timer for 9 hours.
The probiotic cultures now get busy turning the milk into yogurt.
To go on to Greek yogurt after the 9 hours is up, pour the yogurt into the Greek yogurt maker with strainer in place. Put on the lid and put the container in the refrigerator to strain and chill for a few hours.
The longer the yogurt strains the thicker it will become. You can strain it for less time if you prefer a thinner consistency. If you overshoot and end up with yogurt that is almost solid, you can add some of the whey back and use the immersion blender to blend it into the yogurt until it is the consistency you want.
The whey that drains off the yogurt can be used in place of buttermilk for many baked goods. To my taste, it’s too sour for waffles or cornbread but it is great in biscuits and sourdough or yeast bread.
Even if you are happy with the consistency, your yogurt might still benefit from the immersion blender to smooth out any lumps. Put your yogurt back in the refrigerator to chill for another few hours before serving.