The new year is here and it’s that month of resolutions and goal setting and deciding all the changes we are going to have in our lives in 2018 and how much better everything is going to be. For me it’s that month that I try to make some healthier eating choices that I know I can stick with all year long. No fad diets, no crazy food restrictions, none of that works for me. I just try to incorporate a few more healthy eating choices that I love and I know I will stick with. I plan a few half marathons that I want to run for the year and maybe a few distance bike rides but nothing extreme that I know I will give up in February.
I’ve been eating yogurt all my life. I’ve seen a few recipes out there for the Instant Pot so I figured I’d give it a try. At first I didn’t see the logic. By the time I buy my starter and my milk, why didn’t I just buy a container of Chobani? I probably go through one container every two weeks. I’m the only yogurt eater in the house. Not that expensive of a food habit for me. But then after reading quite a bit on it, I saw people were going through containers (yes more than one) in a week’s time. And if it’s a family of yogurt lovers then multiple containers per week. Ok, cha ching. I got it.
Then, I started looking at the recipes. They were almost all the same. A half gallon of whole milk, two tablespoons of yogurt starter. Not much change no matter where the recipe came from. I did five tests this week with different milk brands, and different yogurt brand starters. What I didn’t want to do was post a recipe that was impossible for people to find the ingredients. The extra fat milks, the hard to find Greek yogurts that make the best starters. What I wanted was a simple yogurt that anyone with an Instant Pot could make and love.
There are basically 5 steps to making Greek yogurt.
- Heat milk
- Cool milk
- Add yogurt starter to milk
- Incubate the yogurt and then wait for yogurt to set
- Strain whey from plain yogurt to get Greek yogurt
Every yogurt recipe I made turned out. I’ve seen a few disasters on blog comments about the yogurt not turning out for whatever reason. Now some yogurts were thicker than others and some had a more tangy taste than others. I cooked all recipes for 10 hours. No change on that. I was surprised the tanginess of the flavors and how different each starter was.
For me I found the best milk to work with was the Horizon Organic Whole Milk brand, whole milk. I favored the tangy taste that I got from the Chobani whole milk Greek yogurt. We tried Fage, Dannon and Chobani starters. Whichever one you decide to use MUST HAVE active live cultures in the ingredient list. Those little cultures are your starter and without them, you will not be making yogurt.
Now when you finish making the recipe you will have yogurt. From all the reading, what makes it Greek Yogurt is the straining of the whey out of the yogurt. Both ways were good for me, but I preferred to strain to get a thicker yogurt. It just felt creamier, and in my mind at least, had a richer taste. Any yogurt experts out there? Anything else to add as to the difference between yogurt and Greek yogurt? Please share if so!
For the straining I used a cheesecloth. I folded it and lined a strainer and let the whey drip out. I did this for about 4 hours. You could also use a coffee filter. Cheaper than a cheesecloth and will do the same job. The Euro Cuisine GY50 Greek Yogurt Strainer is a bit fancy and will definitely do the job. But if you have a simple strainer basket it works fine. There are all kinds of special yogurt strainers out there, but I already had this and it worked fine.
Once I had the yogurt I loved, then what else could I do with it? I love fruit in my yogurt so I whipped up some fruit purees (whole fruit mixed in a food processor until liquid) and started adding. I’m now experimenting with some no bake cakes and a few other things. I decided to use some of my yogurt to make these yogurt pops. And here is the thing, remember, they are frozen. You don’t take an ice cube out of the freezer and bite it in half do you? Take these out of the freezer and let them soften a few minutes before trying to eat. The key is to keep them thin and not make huge pops. The image you see of the pops is a half filled baking cup. These are on the verge of too thick.
I also learned that the Wilton Silicone Baking Cups are so much better to work with than paper cupcake liners. The paper liners were hard to get off the frozen pop. Once they thawed enough to remove all the paper, then I could just put them in a bowl and eat with a spoon. I made granola for my yogurt pops, but any granola you love will work for this recipe.
For the timing of the cook, you saw the part were I cooked it for 10 hours, right? And there is some prep before that to heat and cool the milk, so add on another hour. Either plan to make this first thing in the morning when you get up, or last thing at night before you go to bed. Poor timing will have you awake in the middle of the night dealing with your yogurt.
I hope you give this a try. It’s simple and so good for you. Please share any yogurt creations you end up making.
Now if you find that you aren’t ready to go with yogurt we have a few other Instant Pot recipes that everyone seems to love. The Triple Chocolate Cheesecake is my favorite followed by the Peppermint Bark Cheesecake.
- 2 litres (1/2 gallon) Horizon Organic whole milk
- 35 grams Chobani Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt
- 3 ounces fruit puree (Blackberry, Cherry, Strawberry. Whatever is your favorite)
- Put milk in Instant Pot and use the Yogurt More Function to boil the milk to at least 182°F. The instant pot will show "boil" on the screen. It takes close to 30 minutes for this.
- Once the boiling is done, the Instant Pot changes to "yogt". Lift the lid, do not let the water drip back into the pot.
- Gently stir with a silicone spatula; do not scrape the bottom of the pot. Test the temperature in a few spots to make sure you have achieved at least 182°F (If the milk has not reached temperature, put lid back on and heat the milk with the slow cook less function for 15 minutes)
- Put 35 grams of yogurt into a 2 cup measuring cup and set aside.
- Take the pot out of the Instant Pot and set it aside to let it cool to 111°F.
- Once cooled, skim the milk skin off of the milk.
- Add 1/2 cup of the cooled milk to the yogurt in the measuring cup. Stir to dissolve. Once dissolved, pour the mixture back into the inner pot and gently stir. Again, do not scrape the bottom.
- Put the inner pot back into the Instant Pot and close lid.
- Press the yogurt function button and use the Yogurt Normal Function. Adjust the time to 10:00. This is the time that I used, if you like really tangy yogurt you can go up to 12:00 hours. If you like less tangy, you could reduce to 8:00 hours.
- The timer will start to count up once turns on.
- Once the yogurt has completed the time, remove the inner pot and place it in the fridge for a few hours covered with plastic wrap. The yogurt will also thicken some.
- You can eat the yogurt at this stage. Or if you want Greek Yogurt you will need to strain out the whey. I strained for 4 hours.
- Once strained I used 8 ounces of the yogurt with 3 ounces of puree. Mix them together then pour mixture into silicone cups with a bit of your favorite granola sprinkled in at the bottom. Put in freezer for a few hours and enjoy. You could also add vanilla and honey to your liking with the fruit puree.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase an item after clicking on the link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. This is at no extra cost to you, and as always, all opinions and recommendations are my own.