KEFIR INSTANT POT RECIPE
Instructions for making homemade Kefir in the Instant Pot
Kefir instant pot recipe from milk and a starter culture. Making it in an Instant Pot makes it even easier. It is a cultured milk product, similar to yogurt. It is mesophilic, which means it is cultured at a lower temperature. The mild, flavor makes it ideal for breakfast, a snack or as a dessert. We usually add fruits or nuts, and honey.
We like to make homemade kefir, so that we know exactly what is in it. The kefir is just high quality milk with a starter culture – no sugar or additives. Making it at home can be a little tricky, because you need control the temperature for a number of hours. Also, you may want to boil the milk before culturing to make the finished product thicker, and this requires a specific temperature.
THE SCIENCE PART OF MAKING KEFIR
There are a variety of different milk cultures. They can be grouped into two categories – mesophilic and thermophilic. It is important to know which category your starter culture is in, because cultures thrive at different temperatures. Kefir is mesophilic. Most yogurt cultures are thermophilic.
- Mesophilic, which translates to “medium-loving”, indicates that it thrives at medium temperatures (around 68-100 degrees F) and is destroyed at a higher temperature (around 113 degrees F).
- Thermophilic, which translates to “heat-loving”, indicates that it thrives at higher temperatures (around 105-115 degrees F) and is destroyed at a higher temperature (around 130 degrees F).
MAKING KEFIR IN AN INSTANT POT
An Instant Pot is perfect for culturing milk products. It has a special yogurt setting that scalds the milk, and then another setting that allows you to select the temperature and it will hold it there for hours. The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to low, where it will maintain a constant temperature of 90 degrees, which will usually work for culturing a mesophilic culture. The medium setting will culture a thermophilic culture.
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. Thoroughly wash the inner pot and the lid with very hot water and put the sealing ring back on.
For kefir, boiling the milk is not required, but will produce a thicker product. If you decide to boil the milk, use the boil setting on the yogurt setting to bring the temperature of the milk above 180 degrees F and then let it cool to below 70 degrees F before adding the kefir starter culture. This will kill any unwanted bacteria, and also help thicken the kefir.
The milk and starter culture must be kept at a constant temperature where the culture will thrive. Kefir is a mesophilic variety, so it needs to be kept between 68 and 100 degrees F. The low setting on the Instant Pot is 90 degrees F, so this setting will work. The longer it is cultured, the thicker and more tart it becomes.
It is possible to make successive batches of kefir 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. The starter culture comes in powdered form in tiny packets and conveniently stores for months in the refrigerator. We get starter culture from Cultures for Health.
HOW MAKING INSTANT POT KEFIR FITS INTO OUR PLAN TO EAT BETTER
We have listed the brands for some of the ingredients because ingredients are everything. We have found that these brands give superior results. And by using brands like Horizon dairy products and Wholesome sugar we cut our carbon footprint in half and are helping to control climate change.
We use produce from the farmer’s market or a local farm stand. Locally grown fruit makes all the difference. Farmers who sell locally choose which variety to grow based on flavor instead of how well it survives transport and storage. It is picked when ripe, often just the day before, or the day of the market, so it tastes incredible. Buying local also creates a smaller carbon footprint in transportation, and it helps our local economy, giving jobs to people in our community.
Also, making it in an Instant Pot is easier, and a great way to use less energy. We use an Instant Pot Ultra, that has a special yogurt setting. This creates incredible kefir, allowing us to eat less meat, and also saves money.
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- Remove the sealing ring and thoroughly wash the sealing ring, inner pot and the lid with very hot water, and put the sealing ring back on. This is a cultured product so it is important that everything is clean.
- Add 1-4 quarts of milk to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
- If you have decided to boil the milk first, place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. Check that the valve is in the sealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting and adjust it to “high” where the display reads "Boil". When the program has finished press cancel until it reads off.
- Release the valve, open the pot and remove the inner pot.
- Cover the pot with plastic wrap and allow the temperature of the milk to drop. Allow the temperature to drop to 70 degrees F before adding the starter culture. This could take a while, but you could place the bowl on ice to speed it up.
- Remove the plastic wrap, add the starter culture and whisk it in for a few seconds.
- Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. The valve can be in either the sealed or unsealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting. The kefir starter culture is mesophilic, so change the setting to “low” and the time to 24 hours and push start.
- Check the thickness of the kefir a few hours before the time when it’s supposed to be ready, since the time required can vary. When it has thickened and pulls away from the side of the bowl, transfer it to a glass container and store it in the refrigerator. It can be stored for 2-3 weeks.
- The kefir can also be strained using a fine mesh strainer to remove some of the water (whey) which will make it thicker.