And you’d be wrong. I don’t like it all that much. Well, I didn’t until I learned to make my own. I never particularly cared for the sweet mixed with tart flavor combination of store-bought yogurt, but the great thing about homemade yogurt is that the tartness increases the longer you incubate it. So if you incubate it for the minimum time, it’s not very tart at all. If you like the tartness, just incubate it longer.
In a previous post I explained how to make your own yogurt. You can check that out here, but since then I’ve learned an easier method. It requires less hands-on time and it’s much more fool-proof since you don’t have to reach certain temperatures. It’s not quite as cost-effective, but it’s still cheaper than buying yogurt.
Before we get started, here are the tools you’ll need:
- An Instant Pot with the capability to cook yogurt. Some models do not have this capability, so if you’re buying a new one, look for that feature. These are a little pricey, but they do frequently go on sale. And they do so many things I’ve found that it was worth the investment.
- Fairlife Milk. This is important, it must be Fairlife or some other ultra-pasteurized milk for this method to work. Fairlife has 50% less sugar, 50% more protein, and 30% more calcium than regular milk. It’s also lactose-free, so this is a great option for those who need to avoid lactose. I use whole milk, but you can use 2% or even less. If you want to read further about why it’s necessary to use a particular type of milk using this method, check out Frieda Loves Bread‘s explanation here.
- A yogurt starter culture, which is a blend of healthy bacteria that consumes lactose. You can purchase starter cultures at health food stores or online, but you can also just use 1-2 tablespoons of high quality store-bought yogurt. The good thing about using an heirloom variety of a starter culture is that it can be reused over and over, simply by mixing some of your last batch of yogurt into the milk for your next batch of yogurt, as long as the yogurt is less than 7 days old.
I use plain, non-flavored, yogurt as a starter. Fage brand works well, but I’ve also used Chobani. If you use store-bought yogurt as a starter, look for one that is high in live and active cultures. The packaging should say that it contains live and active cultures. Made with live and active cultures is not the same thing, and it will not work.
That’s all you need to make yogurt using this method! The big difference here is that you don’t have to boil the milk before incubation. You just pour the milk in your instant pot liner, stir in 1 tablespoon of yogurt starter, cover the pot, and set it to incubate by pressing the Yogurt button until it reads normal. It’s that simple.
I set my incubation time to 8 hours, but I think you could actually incubate it for 6 hours using this method because it turns out incredibly thick and creamy. When it’s finished incubating, the display time will read YOGT.
Just like in the previous method, once the yogurt has finished incubating, you can be done if you want. I prefer to strain mine. To do this, you can use a yogurt strainer, or you can make your own using kitchen tools you probably already own. Before I bought my strainer, I stacked the steamer rack that came with my IP in a large mixing bowl. On top of that, I stacked a regular mesh strainer lined with a flour sack dish towel (you can also use cheesecloth). Then just pour the yogurt in and let it drain in the refrigerator overnight.
I prefer using a yogurt strainer simply for ease of use. They cost about $15, but I think they’re worth it.
As you can see, the yogurt is nice and thick and creamy, even more so after draining!
That’s it, you’re done! You now have plain, simple, homemade yogurt. You can use this as a base for mayonnaise, salad dressings, or smoothies. Or you can use sugar, maple syrup, fruits, jams, or other sweeteners of choice to flavor the whole batch. Or divide the batch and make several different flavors.
When I made this batch, I used a small can of sweetened condensed milk to flavor it. I just mixed it in with the milk and starter before cooking (although you normally need to reserve flavoring your yogurt until after it has incubated). It made a vanilla-flavored yogurt that is delicious!
For other flavoring ideas, look here!
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