Simply Sweetened Greek Yogurt – Made in the Instant Pot

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Recipe card at the bottom of post!

 

Y’all. This pot. It can do so many cool things. One of the things I have been dying to try is the yogurt function. It was pretty simple and straight forward, though it does take some attention at the beginning. There are about 1000 different recipes out there for Instant Pot yogurt, so I kind of mixed and matched what I thought I would like. Here’s my method:

Ingredients:

1 gallon whole milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 tbs good quality plain yogurt (the best quality you can find that has ONLY milk and live active cultures listed in the ingredients. Also, once this batch is done, you can freeze some of the yogurt you made to use as your starter next time, eliminating this cost)

2 tbs honey

3 tbs light agave

Optional toppings:

Fresh fruit

Strawberry puree

Lime or lemon curd

Granola

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To start the yogurt making process, make sure the liner of your Instant Pot is sterile. You can do this by first cleaning and drying the liner, placing it back into the pot, and running water through it on the steam cycle. Carefully dump any remaining water and wipe clean with a dry paper towel. CAREFUL because the liner will be hot. Next, place the liner back into your pot and pour in the gallon of whole milk along with the tsp of vanilla (This time I used whole milk, but a lot of people use low fat milk as well. Next time I will try a lower fat milk).

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Once the milk is in the pot, select the yogurt button on the instant pot, and it adjust until you see boil on the screen.

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This will start the boil cycle for the milk. The target temp you want the milk to reach is between 180 – 185 degrees. Make sure you are keeping the temperature with a thermometer of some sort. I used both a digital and a regular meat thermometer to make sure I was getting an accurate reading. If it does not reach this temperature during one boil cycle, just turn the cycle on again.

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While you are waiting for the milk to come to temperature, make sure you are whisking periodically. Some recipes say they only stir in the middle and at the end of the boil cycle. Others don’t do it at all. I find that if you don’t whisk while it is coming to temperature, the milk will sometimes scorch on the bottom. If this happens DONT WORRY. Don’t scrape the bottom if you suspect it has scorched, just carry on whisking, but not touching the bottom. Besides helping to heat the milk faster, whisking also helps to eliminate hot spots when you are trying to get an accurate temperature reading. When you start nearing 180 degrees, fill a clean sink with cold water (only with what would be 1/2 up the side of your Instant Pot liner.) Once the milk reaches between 180 and 185 degrees, take the liner of the Instant Pot out and place it in the cold water bath. You are trying to bring the temperature of the milk down to between 110 and 95 degrees.

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Some people use ice baths, but I did not find this necessary. Mine cooled down in the water bath in about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can just set the liner on the counter to cool, but it will take a little bit longer. Once the milk reaches between 110 and 95 degrees, take the pot out of the water bath and dry off the outside completely. Scoop out about 1 cup of the warm milk and temper it with your 3 tablespoons of yogurt in a small bowl. Whisk well to incorporate.

Next, take you tempered starter and whisk it into the rest of the milk in the liner. Place the liner back in the pot, close the lid, and close the vent to seal (it doesn’t actually seal and come to pressure, however you want to keep the heat inside during incubation). Next, press the yogurt button again, and plus button until you see 10:00 on the screen. This means a 10 hour incubation time.

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Now you can set it and forget it! I try to start this pretty late in the evening, that way it is done incubating when I wake up and is ready for straining. Here is what it looks like 1o hours later.

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As you can see, the spoon is able to stand completely upright without me touching it. Sometimes it is a bit looser, but this is generally what it should look like. CHILL FOR AT LEAST 4 HOURS before you stir the yogurt. It needs time to solidify a bit more.

Now, you CAN be done if you want. This is considered plain regular yogurt. However, if you want thick and creamy greek style, you will need to strain the whey from the yogurt. I also knew I was going to be adding some sweeteners, which can make the yogurt looser, so I knew straining was the way I wanted to go. You can use a cheese cloth or plain old coffee filters to strain (they also make fancy yogurt strainers). I took a large colander and lined it with damp coffee filters. I found if you dampen them just slightly they stick to the sides and stay in place for you to pour the yogurt in. Next, scoop the yogurt into your straining device. MAKE SURE you have a pan or pot under the strainer – otherwise whey everywhere!

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This is the pre strained consistency. Pour it into the strainers. I let mine strain for about 4-5 hours. You can strain until it is the consistency you would like. Mine got super thick and creamy, however when I added my sweeteners it was an amazingly perfect consistency. Once it is strained to your liking, dup the yogurt upside down into a clean bowl or container. Peel back the cheese cloth or coffee filters.

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This is how thick it will look after straining. You can actually use this thick style greek yogurt in the place of sour cream in savory items too!

Next, add in your agave and honey. Whisk well.

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At this point, you should test the flavor and make sure it is to your liking. Add more sweeteners -if you would like – or even fruit! I portioned mine out into some small and a couple of large containers.

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I also saved 3 tbs as my starter for next time that I will keep in the freezer until I am ready to make another batch!

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Now, the liquid that comes off the strained yogurt is the whey. You can toss it if you would like, or you can use it as extra protein in morning smoothies. I believe there is other things you can do with it, but I’m not 100% sure. And don’t be alarmed, its yellow!

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To top mine I did a quick strawberry topping with frozen strawberries (its all I had today!). Take a cup of frozen strawberries and drizzle them with agave. Let sit at room temp until soft. Puree half of the berries and slice the other half. Mix together and your done! It was a delicious sweet mix in.

You can also just mix the strawberry in:

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Feel free to top it or mix it with whatever you’d like! Enjoy

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