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homemade yogurt on spoon over bowl of yogurt
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Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Smooth and tangy yogurt made in your Instant Pot with just two ingredients. Yum! I prefer to start it in the evening, let if ferment overnight and strain it in the morning.
Prep Time20 mins
Hands-Off Time14 hrs
Total Time14 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 2 quarts, maybe a little more

Equipment

  • Instant Pot with Yogurt Feature
  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Colander lined with a thin woven towel (not terrycloth) set over a large bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk (Pasteurized NOT Ultra Pasteurized
  • ½ cup plain yogurt with live & active cultures

Instructions

  • Pour milk into your Instant Pot. Plug it in and close the lid. No need to set the pressure valve since no pressure will be used.
  • Press the Yogurt button until BOIL shows on the screen. This setting will automatically heat the milk to scalding, about 175-180°. This will take approximately one hour for a gallon of milk.
  • When the indicator beeps, remove the lid and don't let it drip back into the pot. Remove the stainless inner liner of milk and set it into a large pot or bowl of ice water to cool to about 110°, stirring the milk occasionally. I find that this takes about 20 minutes. Without the ice bath it will take at least an hour to cool.
  • When the milk cools to 110°, stir in your yogurt. Place the pot of milk back into the Instant Pot and return the lid as before. (If the temperature is higher than 115°, you will likely kill off the live culture. No worries if the temperature goes below 110°.)
  • Press the Yogurt button on the Instant Pot until the YOGT setting shows. Set the timer for 9-12 hours. I prefer 12 hours. This setting will gently heat your milk and hold it at the proper temperature for the desired length of time. The time shown will count up.
  • At the end of the timed fermentation cycle, set a colander in a large bowl. Be sure that there are several inches of clearance so the whey will drain away from the yogurt. Line a large colander with a squeaky clean thin cotton tea towel or clean piece of muslin cloth. Pour or ladle your newly made yogurt into the lined colander carefully. Let drain for an hour or two, regularly scraping yogurt from the towel so the excess water continues to drain. About every 15 minutes, I go around it with a rubber spatula, scraping from the top rim to the center, as if I was loosening slices of pie.
  • When the yogurt is a little thinner than you'd like your finished yogurt to be, remove the colander and pour off the whey from the bowl. (This is acid whey and doesn't have as many uses as sweet whey.) The yogurt will thicken as it chills.
  • Pour the yogurt into the bowl by collecting the corners of the towel and deftly dumping it out, leaving room to pour and the towel in it as little as possible. Slowly raise the top edge of the towel, scraping the yogurt into the bowl. (Place the towel in the sink and give it a thorough rinsing before laundering.)
  • Whisk your yogurt thoroughly for a minute or so and it will become smooth and shiny. Portion it into containers and refrigerate.
  • Your yogurt will keep 10 days to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • I often get 2 1/2 quarts of yogurt from 1 gallon of milk.  It depends how long you strain it and how thick you want it to be.  I like mine in between the texture of regular yogurt and extremely thick Greek yogurt. Like sour cream.
  • The recipe is easily halved.  "Boiling" and cooling times will halve, approximately, but fermentation time will remain the same.
  • Be sure to use an Instant Pot gasket that has not been used for spicy food or your yogurt will taste like the gasket smells.  I keep a separate gasket for this purpose.
  • The longer you ferment your yogurt, the tangier it will be.  I prefer 12 hours.
  • Each batch will turn out a little differently.  When you find a starter yogurt and brand of milk you like together, make a note so you can replicate it.
  • I generally use commercial yogurt for the culture, but if you want to try using your own, separate some into its own container and label it for that purpose so the culture doesn't get contaminated with spoons and such. I've read recommendations of only using homemade yogurt 6 or so times, then start again with commercial yogurt. 
  • I understand that the concept of straining through a towel might seem off-putting if you've never done that kind of thing before.  I wash them thoroughly in hot water, only dish towels together and use no fabric softener.  I find it cleaner, less fuzzy and much simpler than using multiple layers of cheesecloth. I have one particular towel that I use for this purpose and nothing else.