Most Indians make fresh yogurt every night to be eaten the next day. We eat plain yogurt with our meals or have it as a lassi which is just a watered down yogurt which is whisked and drunk with a meal. A small cup of yogurt is always saved to use as a starter for the next batch of yogurt. Any left over yogurt is allowed to get sour and used for making adding to a dough or used for making kadhi or dhoklas. When we have made extra yogurt, we use it to make shrikand which is a sweet dish. Actually the list of recipes using yogurt goes on and it’s never wasted.
I have always made yogurt the traditional way and the recipe/instructions are here. Since buying the Instant Pot, I am using it to make yogurt too. The Instant Pot (IP) is a pressure cooker but can also be used as a slow cooker. rice cooker, sauté/browning, yoghurt maker and steamer. So let’s see why I think making yogurt in the IP is worth the effort.
To make yogurt in the Instant Pot my way:
- 1 pint full cream organic milk (or you can use any milk. The thicker the milk – the better the yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons of good quality yogurt with live cultures ( I used Greek style Yeo Valley thick and creamy organic yogurt with live cultures)
- You will also need a thermometer
1. First – heat the milk until it’s boiling. The booklet that comes with the IP suggests heating the milk to 180°F/83°C but I prefer to heat it until it boils.
- The IP booklet’s instructions are to boil the milk in the inner pot. To do this wash the inner pot and pour in the milk. Press YOGURT on your IP, then press the ADJUST Button until you see BOIL on the display panel. Lock the lid to steam. When the milk has boiled you will hear a beep and your IP will display Yogt. Now open the lid as it is not under pressure, stir the milk and take the temperature. It should be 180°F or 83°C or higher. If it isn’t, switch on the SAUTE button and allow the milk to heat for a couple of minutes. It’s better to have the milk hotter than 180°F/83°C
- As this process is fiddly, I tend to boil my milk in a saucepan on the cooker and allow it to boil .
- Tip : To boil milk in the IP or a saucepan, always rinse the bowl in cold water and leave a tablespoon of cold water in the bowl before adding the milk. This way the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Once boiled, stir it. The temperature of milk is usually over 200°F/93°C
2. You need to allow the milk to cool to 115°F/46°C. Once you get the right temperature, you need to add your starter yogurt.
- Tip: if you are in a hurry, you can keep your hot yogurt saucepan inside a bowl of cold water which will help cool down the milk.
3. For one pint milk – use 2 tablespoon of the starter yogurt. Best way to mix the milk and yogurt is to remove a cup of the warm milk in a mixing jug and adding the yogurt starter to it and mixing well using a hand whisk. Then transfer this mixture back to the rest of the milk and stir again using a whisk.
4. If you are using the IP’s inner pot to make your yogurt – just transfer the mixture to the IP, close the lid and press the yogurt button. It usually takes 8 hours for the yogurt to set. I mixed my milk and starter yogurt in a saucepan with a lid and keep it inside the inner pot of the IP and close the lid and press the yogurt button. The time for the yogurt to set is 8 hours.
5. As an experiment. I used the same batch of milk to make yogurt the way I have always made by keeping it in an insulated container. This way, I was able to compare the two ways of making yogurt and see which one tasted better.
6. After 8 hours, I checked and both the sets of the yogurt had set nicely (both in my IP and the one I had made using an insulated container).
This is the yogurt I made by leaving it in an insulated container:
This is the yogurt made by leaving the saucepan in the IP:
7. Once the yogurt is ready, check that there is no whey showing. If there is- try to remove it without messing up the set yogurt. The best way to remove it is by tipping the container slightly and using a small spoon to scoop it out. Transfer the yogurt to the fridge and kept it there for 8-10 hours. Now taste and see if it’s as nice as the store bought one. I got my husband to taste the yogurt made in the IP against my usual home made one. My usual home made style was good but the one made in the IP was even better. It was thicker and tasted great. So as I said before, making yogurt in the IP is really worth the effort.
Tip: Before you start eating your yogurt, save half a cup as a starter for your next batch of yogurt.
Useless information/superstition: In certain cultures, borrowing yogurt (merwan) from a neighbour to start a batch of your own yogurt is considered bad luck. Apparently – it could bring a ‘sourness’ to your relationship.
Tip : Once you start eating the home made yogurt, try not to stir it too much when taking it from the saucepan and don’t leave the spoon in the pot for too long. Every time after you use it, check that there is no whey in there. If there is, remove it and keep it in the fridge. This way. your yogurt will remain fresh tasting and remain nice and thick.
Useless information: In certain cultures yogurt and sugar is given to any family member going on their travels, or for first day at school, work etc. (I think it is actually meant to help settle your nervous stomach!)
9. The method of making yogurt in the IP is lengthy but it’s worth it. If you have only one inner pot, you can try and use it to make the yogurt over night so that you have the IP free for cooking during the day.
So How do you make your yogurt?