Homemade Yogurt (Instant Pot)
- Yogurt starter: 3-4 tablespoons
- Whole Milk: Half a Gallon
- Whole red Dry chili pepper: 1
- Instant pot (of course ;)) *optional (refer to notes for alternate method)
- Food thermometer (optional)
- Clean the Instant pot vessel thoroughly with soap and hot water
- Pour the milk in Instant pot vessel
- Close the lid; make sure that the whistle on the instant pot is on the “sealing” mode. Plug in the Instant pot and click on the Yogurt setting. The words boil should flash on the screen. Wait for 10 seconds for the instant pot to activate
- The milk will boil for about half hour in the instant pot. *Read the notes section to understand why milk should be boiled*
- After boiling the milk, turn off the instant pot, open the lid carefully and leave the boiled milk open for it to cool down.
- After 45 minutes, if you are equipped with a hand dandy food thermometer (unlike me! :/) pop it in the milk to check if it has reached the apt temperature of 110-115° F/ 46° C. And if you don’t own a food thermometer, worry not thou shall not perish! Stick in your pinky finger (or a spoon if you’re too afraid like I once was 😉 ) and check if it’s lukewarm to touch. If it’s too hot, you’re better off waiting a little longer. If it’s too cold, re-boil the milk.
- Once the milk is all ready, add in the yogurt starter and stir. Now, drop the dry red chili pepper. *Read the notes section to understand why I used a dry red chili*
- Close the lid and turn the instant pot back on. Now click on the yogurt button; if the screen still shows boil, then click the adjust button. You should now be able to see digits flash on the screen, these digits signify hours. The digits might start out with 24:00. Adjust the hours by clicking “+” or “-“. Start out with 8 hours and adjust as you make more batches. *
- 8 hours (or more) later, you’re left with curdled milk aka yogurt. You are now ready to stick it in the fridge.*
- Why instant pot? Yogurt can be made without an instant pot too. I prefer instant pot because I do not have to watch over the milk while it’s boiling, I don’t have to scrub the bottom of the vessel if the milk is even a tiny bit burned and Instant pot acts as an incubator and boost fermentation. If you do not own one, no worries! Yogurt can be made by boiling milk in a pot on a stove top and left in the oven (oven turned off!!) overnight.
- It is essential to boil the milk and bringing it to a lukewarm temperature prior to adding yogurt to the milk.
- a) The reason being, milk contains a variety of bacteria. We need certain kind and we want to get rid of any other harmful microbial organisms. However, our friendly bacteria here is a little shy and we it needs to be “activated”. Similar to Yeast, if the water is too hot, you’d end up killing the yeast and if it’s too cold, you’d fail to wake up/activate the yeast. Similarly, you need to boil the milk to “activate” the bacteria.
- b) Boiling milk will help us achieve the rich, thick and creamy texture that we look for in yogurt.
- Straining yogurt: Once the milk is curdled and the yogurt is made, a lot people prefer straining that yogurt. This is just another technique and optional. I like the thick and creamy yogurt.
- Red chili: Red chili is a good source of heat! While growing up, my mom always had a chili or two on hand to put them in the milk during the winter months. It helped curdled the milk very well.
- Hours: You can adjust the hours as you make more batches. 8 Hours is a good start as we are adding a red chili so I believe you wouldn’t need to incubate it for more hours.
- Once the yogurt is ready, do not be me (a lazy bum!) and let it sit out. Pop it immediately into the fridge. The longer you let it sit, the sour your yogurt can go. Don’t worry it’s not spoiled! it’s just a little too sour.