This Yogurt recipe or Yoghurt, is easy to make in an Instant Pot, you just need to know if it is mesophilic or thermophilic
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We wanted to make real yogurt (or yoghurt as it is spelled in Europe) so that we could choose exactly what was in it. The yogurt would be made from high quality milk with a yogurt starter culture – that’s it, no sugar or additives. But making yogurt at home can be a bit tricky. With some yogurt, you need to scald the milk. Also, there are many different kinds of yogurt. To culture it, the temperature needs to remain constant for a number of hours. This temperature varies for different kinds of yogurts. Cultures fall into two categories, mesophilic and thermophilic, based on the different temperature requirements. Making yogurt in an Instant Pot is perfect for this. It has a special yogurt setting that easily scalds the milk. There is another setting that allows you to select the temperature and it will hold it there for hours.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING YOGURT
We use Horizon milk because of the high quality and also because they have made changes to become carbon positive.
We get starter culture from Cultures for Health. Most of the varieties they carry are thermophilic cultures, but they also have some mesophilic cultures from Scandinavia (Viili, Filmjolk, Matsoni and Piima). The starter culture comes in powdered form in tiny packets and conveniently stores for months in the refrigerator.
It is possible to make successive batches of yogurt from a few tablespoons of a previous batch, but we usually start with fresh starter culture to make sure the culture is strong and the milk is kept clean.
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MESOPHILIC YOGURT VS. THERMOPHILIC YOGURT
There are a variety of different yogurt cultures. They can be grouped into two categories – mesophilic and thermophilic. It is important to know what category your yogurt starter is in because they thrive at different temperatures.
- Mesophilic, which translates to “medium-loving”. This indicates that it thrives at medium temperatures (around 68-100 degrees F) and is destroyed at a higher temperature (around 113 degrees F). The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to low, where it will maintain a constant temperature of 91 degrees. This will usually work for culturing a mesophilic culture.
- Thermophilic, which translates to “heat-loving”. This indicates that it thrives at higher temperatures (around 105-115 degrees F) and is destroyed at a higher temperature (around 130 degrees F). The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to medium. The medium setting will maintain a constant temperature of 115 degrees F, which will culture a thermophilic culture. Most yogurt cultures are thermophilic.
NOTES ON MAKING YOGURT (YOGHURT) IN AN INSTANT POT
Because this is a cultured product, it is important that everything is clean. Start with milk that is not near its expiration date. Remove the sealing ring on the Instant Pot lid and thoroughly wash the inner pot, the lid and the ring with very hot water.
Scalding the milk, by bringing the temperature on the milk to 181 degrees F, will kill any unwanted bacteria, and also help produce a thicker yogurt. The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to high. The high setting will scald the milk long enough to kill unwanted bacteria and produce a thicker yogurt. The milk must then be cooled to below 91 degrees F before adding the starter culture for a mesophilic yogurt and below 107 degrees F before adding the yogurt starter culture for a thermophilic yogurt.
The milk and starter is kept at a constant temperature where the culture will thrive. The longer it is cultured the thicker and more tart it becomes. The thickness and texture can vary greatly, depending on the yogurt culture used, the culturing temperature and time, and the type of milk used.
Helpful tip: Before starting to make a batch, figure out what time it will be ready, so it isn’t ready at an inconvenient time – and remember to add the time it will take to scald and cool the milk.
Also, making it in an Instant Pot is not just easier, it is a great way to use less energy. This helps us eat less meat, and also saves money.
Straining the yogurt through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth will give you a product that is similar to cream cheese. It can be substituted for cream cheese on bagels and sandwiches.
Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography