At the start of the year my resolution was to start to get fit so I’ve been following an online plan which is very popular in the UK from The Bodycoach Joe Wicks. It’s a 90 day exercise and food plan which focuses on regular exercise, healthy eating and developing a new mind set to make all the changes sustainable at the end of the 90 days.
I’m just over 60 days through the plan and definitely fitter and feeling healthier. I have lost inches all over and some weight too! I’ve impressed myself that I’ve stuck to the exercise plan 100% working out at home 5 times per week and the food plan pretty much to plan apart from a few meals out. Life hasn’t stopped because I’m on the plan but I’ve found myself making healthier choices at restaurants. Declining the pizza to have a salad was tough whilst we were out for a weekend family lunch but I’m proud of the willpower I’ve developed!
On the plan I use a lot of Greek yogurt which seems to be an expensive thing here in the USA. I also got an Instant Pot for Christmas and heard about using it to make yogurt (It is also possible to use a slow cooker/Crock Pot). My memories of yogurt making at home as a child were clouded by attempts in a 70’s/early 80’s yogurt making machine which were not a total success!
I did a bit of research and have refined a few details of what I found and have come up with instructions to make the most fresh tasting yogurt I’ve ever had! I can’t really call this a recipe because it’s so simple- more of a guide. With a little time taken to start the process by the end of the day there is a fresh batch of pure white homemade Greek yogurt that for me rivals if not surpasses the most popular brands! I was sceptical the first time I started to make this but believe me it’s worth the wait! I believe that the yogurt I’ve made equals any of the top brand genuine Greek yogurts available to buy in the shops. In fact me and my family prefer the homemade one as it tastes so fresh- that’s because it is!
I’ve found the best time to start the yogurt is either in the morning so it’s all done before bedtime or start it off in the early evening so it’s ready by the next morning.
Some Instant Pots have a yogurt button, I’m sure this makes life super simple. My instant pot is a Lux Model and does not have a yogurt button but this does not matter as it’s so simple to do. Here are the instructions to follow. The instructions for a slow cooker are very similar and written below.
Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt
You will need:
1 gallon of milk (can be fat free, 2% or whole milk. Organic or regular)
2 tablespoons live yogurt ( Greek or plain or you can use from a previous batch of homemade yogurt)
Chef’s cheesecloth ( very inexpensive to buy)
Food thermometer (I use my jam making one)
Instant Pot or slow cooker/ crockpot
Make sure that the cooking pot is super clean as you don’t want the odour of last night’s spaghetti sauce infusing into the yogurt. If using an Instant Pot consider getting a separate sealing ring to just use for yogurt. This will keep the yogurt very pure tasting.
Pour the milk into the cooking pot and use the warm function to gently bring the milk to a warm temperature. This will take around 35 mins.
Once the milk is warm switch to the sauté mode to raise the temperature of the milk to 82C/ 180F. This will take 10-15 minutes.
Then remove the cooking pot, whisk the milk thoroughly and let the milk naturally cool with out a lid to 43C/110F. This takes around an hour.
N.B. If using a slow cooker just use the high setting to heat the milk to the 82C/180F. This will take a few hours. As above take the cooking pot out and leave the lid off to cool to 43C/110F.
The method is now the same for both Instant Pots and slow cookers.
Whisk the live yogurt starter into the warm milk It will create a nice light bubbly milk.
Then place the pot back in the machine and cover with the lid. (Seal the Instant Pot lid). Wrap the machine in a thick, fluffy towel to maintain a warm temperature inside. Make sure the machine is unplugged.
Leave the yogurt for a minimum of 8 hours in the Instant Pot and 9 hours in the slow cooker. The longer the yogurt is left in the more tangy it will become.
At the end of the time you will have perfect yogurt! Although I prefer to eat it once it has cooled in the fridge.
Natural yogurt or one final step to turn it Greek!
You can keep and use the yogurt like this or at this point I use the cheesecloth folded into 4 layers to strain the yogurt to make it thicker and more like Greek yogurt.
Use a sieve or colander over a bowl.
Layer in the cheesecloth.
Once the yogurt is placed in the cloth cover with cling film (plastic wrap).
Make sure you keep the yogurt refrigerated whilst straining. The liquid that comes through the cloth is whey and should be clear. If the liquid is white then yogurt is escaping through the sieve and additional layers of cheesecloth are needed.
The longer you strain the yogurt for the thicker it will become. For me around 5 hours straining is perfect although I have left it overnight and it’s still good.
I keep the yogurt in recycled clean glass jars that are super clean. Any old aromas in the jars will taint the fresh, pure yogurt.
The whey that is collected is supposedly a highly nutritious by product with many uses from adding it to baking and cooking to feeding it to tomato plants! I am yet to try any of the above but I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime- enjoy the freshest yogurt that you made yourself for the price of a carton of milk!