I have been researching various ways of making fresh yogurt here at home instead of spending so much buying manufactured yogurt from the grocery stores. After thoroughly going over each method from start to finish I started noticing flaws in a few of the methods that from a food safety perspective I know from all of my years of training in food safety will allow harmful bacteria to multiply in the milk before it has a chance to become yogurt.
I also noticed that most of these methods were quite difficult and required almost constant effort on your part while it is cooking. I'm sorry, but if it is that involved and exacting, I would just rather buy the stuff and let someone else deal with all the headaches and hard work.
But then I checked out making yogurt with the Instant Pot and that changed everything. The Instant Pot does all the work, there is no continuous stirring of the milk to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pot as you have to with a stovetop method.
But still, the whole heating the milk to 180 degrees which takes about 25 minutes in the Instant Pot, and then using an ice bath to cool the milk back down to 110 to 115 degrees before you put in the active yogurt starter was a bit too much work for me. Plus having to make sure that you have a cooking thermometer handy. Plus there will be a little bit of scalded milk on the bottom of the Instant Pot, yuck. Remember, I'm lazy, I want to find the easiest way possible that does the very best job. Then I found the answer.
Cold Start Yogurt is a very new method of creating yogurt in an Instant Pot which does not involve heating the milk up before the active culture yogurt starter is added to the milk. Everything is started out cold which removes two of the steps in the traditional Insta Pot yogurt method.
All you do is pour in an Ultra Pasteurized and Ultra Filtered milk. For the Cold Start Method, you MUST use Ultra Pasteurized and Ultra Filtered milk, do not try using regular milk for this. Regular pasteurized milk was not heated up enough to kill all of the harmful bacteria which is contained within it, that is why with the traditional yogurt making methods you must heat the milk up to 180 degrees before you start making the yogurt.
With Ultra Pasteurized milk it has been heated to 230 degrees during the pasteurization process to kill all bacteria in it and to allow a longer shelf-life of the milk. Fairlife brand milk is highly recommended to be used for the cold start yogurt method. Fairlife milk is ultra pasteurized and ultra filtered to remove 50% of the sugar that regular milk contains, but it also has 50% more protein than regular milk. That higher protein content is what makes your yogurt thick and creamy.
So, all you have to do is pour a whole bottle of Fairlife milk into the stainless steel liner of the Instant Pot . . .
Since I like my yogurt sweeter, more like a desert yogurt I am adding a can of sweetened condensed milk. This step is completely optional . . .
Use a stainless steel whisk to thoroughly mix the sweetened condensed milk into the milk . . .
Now we need to add our yogurt starter culture which contains the active bacteria that we need to colonize our milk to turn it into yogurt. The easiest way is to use a store bought plain yogurt of the style that you prefer. Since I like a tangier yogurt I am adding in some Greek yogurt that I picked up this morning. You need to add at least 2 tablespoons of the starter to your milk so that there is enough active culture in the mixture. Because I added in the sweetened condensed milk I want to add a little more starter culture to make sure there is enough so I am adding in 4 tablespoons to this batch.
Once again use the stainless steel whisk to make sure that everything is thoroughly mixed together.
Now close the lid and set the vent on the top to closed and turn the Instant Pot on. Press the Yogurt button on the front and 08:00 shows on the display to show that it will cook the mixture for 8 hours and the Normal light will be lit up..
That's it, all finished. Now I just let it do its thing for the next 8 hours . . .
Ok, it is now 8 hours later and I can see that it has completed and the display now shows "Yogt" for yogurt. Since the Instant Pot knows you were making yogurt, it does not switch over to the "keep warm" function . . .
Now let's take a look at what we have inside. To see if the yogurt has thickened enough during the cooking the easiest test is to insert a spoon into it and see if it stands on its own or not . . .
Yeah, I know, the lighting isn't the best, but that is exactly what we want to see in a rich, thick, and creamy greek style yogurt. The spoon just stands there on its own and doesn't even try to fall over, and this is a big heavy tablespoon too, not some pansy lightweight teaspoon.
Now we need to take the stainless steel pot out of the Instant Pot so that we can refrigerate the yogurt for the next 6 hours. Since we are putting a hot pot into a cold refrigerator there will be some condensation that forms. To prevent this from getting all over the top of your yogurt you may want to place a paper towel layer on top of the pot before covering it with a lid or just a dinner plate that fits over the top of the pot.
Thats all there is to it. Now we just sit back and relax for the next 6 hours while it continues to firm up. So in 6 hours we will come back and portion it out into jars to store in the refrigerator.
Ok, the yogurt has sat in the refrigerator for the past 6 hours. Time to jar it up . . .
I like using the screw on plastic lids instead of my canning lids for items like this that will not be stored for long, or for items that I will be accessing often, but unfortunately I seem to have run out of them so I will have to make do this time with my canning lids.
This time I put them in the jars plain, but I will be experimenting with my next batch with putting some fresh fruit in the bottom of the jars before I put the yogurt on top.
I have a lot of different flavored jams, various fruits, granola, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips to experiment with and keep the yogurt interesting.
I will have to make a double batch next time. A single batch only makes 5 of the 16 ounce jars, and that is just not enough to get me through a week. I sure wish I had my own cow, I could save a fortune on milk.
Until Next Time,
Aloha & 73