How do I make Greek yogurt with my Instant Pot?
January 12, 2019 8:08 AM   Subscribe

I know this can be done, but the Google results I get when I try to research a recipe are causing me to pressure cook my own brain with rage. Can you outline the process for me, or link me to a recipe that isn't an incoherent soup of SEO garbage?

I don't have the patience to tease a recipe out of seventy-three paragraphs of stilted, repetitive, keyword-laden prose about the history of Greek yogurt, the wonders of the Instant Pot, and a dissertation about how some food blogger is morally superior to me because they own a vintage stand mixer. I just want a nice tight SOP with an equipment list, an ingredient list, and a clear set of steps to follow.

I eat a lot of Greek yogurt and would like to explore making it myself rather than buying multiple huge tubs of it every week. Can you tell me how to do it, or link me to someone who will tell me how in a clear and concise way and without ramming their entire lifestyle down my throat in a desperate quest for advertising dollars? Ta.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I think Greek yogurt is just regular yogurt that's had the liquid strained out of it. So follow the instructions to make regular yogurt in your Instant Pot, then line a strainer with cheese cloth, put it over a bowl, and stick the yogurt in the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Stick that in the fridge for three or four hours. Throw out the liquid in the bowl, and what you have in the strainer is Greek yogurt.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:20 AM on January 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I can help you with the making yogurt part. The Greek-ifying of the yogurt is another issue...

-Buy a gallon of milk. My professional yogurt-making friend insists that non-organic works better than organic, but who knows. Also buy a tub of yogurt -- but make sure it has live active cultures (the cheapest yogurts won't).
-Pour the gallon of milk into the Instant Pot, put the lid on, and press the "yogurt" button until you get the "boil" setting.
-I've also read that doing the boil cycle 2x makes for thicker yogurt, so I always repeat the previous step.
-Remove the pot w/ milk, give it a good quick stir, then put it in the fridge. You want it to cool to some particular temperature -- if it's too hot, the cultures you introduce will be damaged or something -- but I've done this enough that I don't bother with a thermometer anymore; I just wait until the yogurt is cool to the touch. (erring on the cooler side is better.) Maybe this takes an hour?
-Give the milk another good stir to make sure the temp is even throughout.
-Remove 1/2 cup of yogurt from your store-bought tub. (I used to think that adding more yogurt at this step would make the final product thicker -- apparently that's not so.) Remove a cup or so of the milk. Whisk them together. Then pour that yogurty-milk back in with the rest of the milk. Stir again.
-Put the pot back in the IP, hit the "yogurt" button again until you get the time setting. I usually let mine run for 9-10 hours (overnight, if I time it right).
-Once the cycle is done, place the pot of yogurt in the fridge, where it will thicken up.

To make it Greek yogurt, you will have to then strain it using cheesecloth or something similar..... that always seems like too much work to me, so I haven't done that in a long time. I'm sure other folks have techniques.
posted by attentionplease at 8:22 AM on January 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Greek yogurt is wildly overpriced, but it's simply yogurt with the whey pressed out of it (some commercially-produced "Greek yogurt" uses thickeners instead, so it's not the same).

The process:

1.) Buy plain, regular yogurt (2% or 3% would be best because of the fattier richness, but you could do it with 0% if you want) when it goes on sale somewhere. Or make your own - there are plenty of no-bullshit plain yogurt recipes out there. I don't own an Instant Pot, but this seems pretty straightforward.

2.) Suspend a colander over a bowl, line colander with cheese cloth, dump yogurt in colander.

3.) Place a layer of plastic wrap over the yogurt in the colander and put something very heavy and flat on top of the plastic-covered yogurt.

4.) Put this in the fridge for 12-24 hours - the weight will press the whey out of the yogurt.

5.) Enjoy your Greek yogurt.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:23 AM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 1. Pour half a gallon of milk into the Instant Pot
2. Press Yogurt, then press adjust -- the display should read "boil"
3. Wait roughly half an hour until it beeps.
4. Remove lid, set it to boil again and wait 5 minutes (this step isn't crucial, but I think it makes the yogurt creamier)
5. remove pot and wait for it to cool to 115 but not below 110 (I do this in an ice bath to speed it up, but you can just wait if you don't want to do that)
6. In a separate bowl, mix 2-4 T of plain yogurt with about half a cup of your warmed milk. Whisk, then pour it back into the Instant Pot and whisk again.
7. return pot to base, seal lid, press Yogurt, then Adjust, which should give you a timer. Anything more than 8 hours will work -- I do 12.

When it's done, it's just regular plain yogurt. The way to make it thick Greek yogurt is to strain it. You can do this by putting a clean dish cloth, or cheesecloth, over a strainer, putting the yogurt in the strainer and resting it over something to catch the liquid (I do it right over the Instant Pot, but any large bowl will do) and refrigerate. A couple hours makes it thick enough for me, but overnight will give you very thick yogurt. Or, instead of using a dish cloth, you can scoop the yogurt into a nut milk bag, place it in a strainer, etc...

I do this weekly, the yogurt is great and I am so happy not to be using so much plastic! You can use your yogurt as a starter for your next batch -- every once in a while a batch will taste not great, and I buy a new container of plain yogurt to start the process over.
posted by tangosnail at 8:25 AM on January 12, 2019 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you thank you thank you, you have not only taught me what I needed to know but also restored my faith in humanity in the process.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:34 AM on January 12, 2019 [10 favorites]

I like This Old Gal's yogurt process a lot. You can scroll to the bottom of the post for the basics.
posted by k8t at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2019

Secret to my success: restaurant-size coffee filters. I have a nice deep bowl and a colander that sits nicely and securely well above the high tide line, into which a large coffee filter fits pretty much perfectly. Because I tried using muslin and it turns out, yeah, I'm not washing and reusing it, it's too much work, and cheesecloth doesn't come in wide enough widths to really nicely fold up into a thick enough surface that still covers the whole colander.

They're also (the filters) really useful as separators on stacked kitchen items, or to protect a nonstick pan from the pan stacked into it, or if you need a lint-free cloth for cleaning glass or mirrors. I store them in my stand mixer bowl.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:45 AM on January 12, 2019 [8 favorites]

You can use a paint can strainer (looks like a conical net held on a wire frame?) from a hardware store. It’s the exact same thing as a jelly bag from a cooking store but 10 times cheaper.

If you stir in to the milk a cup of dry milk powder, it adds extra lactose and makes the result thicker before straining, but for Greek yogurt you’d still have to strain.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:56 AM on January 12, 2019

+1 the giant coffee filters. Specifically, they're called 10-gallon coffee urn filters, and you can get a 250-pack online for $25. Put them in a colander for support.

I drain my yogurt at room temperature because I find it goes a lot faster that way. The acidity of the yogurt makes it safe to exceed the usual "4 hours between 40F and 140F" rule. (The previous statement has not been evaluated by the USDA.)
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:34 AM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also use coffee filters in a mesh strainer instead of cheesecloth to make Greek yogurt from regular yogurt. I strain in the fridge overnight.
posted by sockermom at 10:35 AM on January 12, 2019

Extraneous comment: I find the pasteurization (the first boiling step) easier and faster to do on the stove instead. The Instantpot isn't doing any magic there, it's just guessing how long it will take your milk to reach 180F. For best flavor, you don't want your milk to ACTUALLY boil, and you do want it to reach 180. If you don't really care, the Instantpot works, and you can leave the room while it's going. But you can do the same thing on the stovetop in much less time, and if you DO care, you can use a dairy thermometer to get it right. The thermometer is also useful to figure out when it's the right temperature to be cultured.

In theory, you can skip this step if you're using pasteurized milk and just heat the milk to 115ish and culture. Especially if you're using milk originally pasteurized under high temperatures. Mine has not, because I get it from the hippies down the road, so bringing it to 180 kills more stuff and makes my yogurt last longer.

After that, I culture the yogurt in a cooler on top of my radiator, though the Instantpot could give more consistent temperatures. I like to pour it into storage jars before culturing because transferring liquid is cleaner than transferring yogurt, but if you want to strain it to make Greek yogurt you won't want to do that.

Tl;dr: the Instantpot has been promoted as being awesome for yogurt making and it does work fine but it is not uniquely good at it.
posted by metasarah at 10:38 AM on January 12, 2019

I’ve had good luck using plain chobani as the culture when making it in a crock pot.
posted by brilliantine at 11:20 AM on January 12, 2019

I’ve used an individual sized fage plain yogurt as starter and the “nicer” grocery store milk (the brand around here is Dairy Pure, it’s not the fancy organic stuff just a bit better than the store brand - and fat wise I’ve used 2% I think?) when making yogurt (in our sous vide) and had wild success both times.

Love the idea of straining with coffee filters because doing it with cheesecloth has been messy and annoying for me.
posted by kellygrape at 11:28 AM on January 12, 2019

If you're really lazy, you can add dehydrated vegetables (the kind you get in soup mix, but without the salt) to your yogurt instead of straining it. You can achieve a cream-cheese-like texture this way.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:43 AM on January 12, 2019

I also find yogurt making on the stove top to be so easy to manage that faffing about with the instant pot seems like more trouble than it's worth. Bring milk up to 180F, let it cool to 110F, stir in 1/2c. yogurt, put the lid on and then wrap the pot in a couple bath towels to keep it warm while it incubates. In 8 hours, you'll have yogurt.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:23 PM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Fage and Chobani are exceptions to this, but most commercial yogurt cultures will not stably reproduce themselves from generation to generation; the individual strains they are composed of are cultured separately and mixed together at packaging because some would outcompete others if they were all mixed together and added to fresh milk -- which is exactly what you will be doing.

The result in my experience has been semi ok yogurt the first batch then thin and sour yogurt thereafter. If you don't want to try getting in touch with local hobbyists to get a stable culture or mail-ordering one, it might be fun to go to a farmers market and ask local producers how they do it, tasting their yogurt, and using one of those. And I've heard, but I don't know this to be true from my own experience, that milk from antibiotic-free diary operations gives better results.

And thank you Lyn Never, meaty shoe puppet, and sockermom for the giant coffee filter tip.
posted by jamjam at 12:33 PM on January 12, 2019

Here is a super specific, clear, detailed recipe. Heat the milk to 195°F to get thick yogurt even without straining. You can get away without the sterilization step. You do not need to use their specific brands of milk and yogurt unless you want to. But do use whole milk. I use Fage yogurt as a starter and have had great success.
posted by snowmentality at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older From beard to no beard and newly discovered skin...   |   Why doesn't Canada have government shutdowns? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.