I make mine in my Corsori multi-function pressure cooker. It has a yogurt setting. I believe it would be similar with the Instant Pot or any other multi-function pressure cooker with a yogurt setting. You don’t have to have one. I also have a rather inexpensive yogurt maker. The reason I no longer use it has to do with how much yogurt I make in one batch. The small, inexpensive yogurt maker works for a quart or two. But I make a gallon and a half at a time now. Yogurt will last a very long time in the refrigerator.
So what do you need? Ultimately, what you need is a way to keep the temperature constant between 110 and 115 degrees for anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. That’s why all the fancy equipment is sold. It makes it easy. You don’t have to baby sit it while it ferments. Just set it and walk away.
You can use the pilot light in your oven. Better still would be to preheat your oven to 120 or so, then turn it off. Wrap your milk with its yogurt culture in towels and use the oven’s retained heat to keep the temperature up. Placing a baking stone in there will also help hold the heat.
Using a Thermos
Another method is to use a thermos. Some of the best cost as much or more than a cheap yogurt maker but, of course, the thermos would have more uses. And you may already have one on hand. No need to purchase anything extra. Come to think of it, I have a thermal cup that I bought to keep my tea hot over long periods of time. It’s one of those that you can buy at your local gas/convenience store or truck stop. That cup holds nearly a quart of liquid and will keep it hot, and I mean hot, for hours. That’s modern technology for you. You might have one or two of those on hand and, again, no need to purchase anything extra.
A Warm Corner
The last method I will mention is trying to use a warm part of your kitchen or other place in your house during the summer. This would require experimentation and keeping a consistent temperature would be dicey at best.
Crock pots get too hot. Don’t try that. Even the lowest setting is over 150 degrees. That will kill the yogurt bacteria. I’ve seen people give recipes using a crock pot and maybe they have a special one, but all of mine even on warm are heating way too hot for yogurt culture to survive.
Let’s get on to the basics of making yogurt.
Home Made Yogurt
- Instant Pot or other multi-function pressure cooker
- 2 quarts Full fat milk do no use ultra-pasteurized
- 2 tbsp yogurt with active cultures
- Heat the milk to 180 degrees. This destabilizes the proteins in the milk which makes the yogurt thicken nicely.
- Quickly cool the milk to about 118 degrees.
- Stir in the yogurt with active cultures with a small amount of the milk to make sure it is incorporated well.
- Add the active culture yogurt and milk to the rest of the milk, stir well.
- Set it in your chosen place to keep it warm for 6 to 8 hours.
- If using the multi-function pressure cooker, use the slow cook setting to heat the milk. On my Corsori, I set it to 193 degrees for 1 hour. As soon as the hour is up, I check the temperature which is usually 180 something by then. I immediately take it to the kitchen sink and fill the sink with cold water. It only takes 5 minutes or less to cool it back down. Then once the cultures are stirred in it is a matter of putting the pot back in the device, closing and securing the lid and pressing the “yogurt” button. Mine is automatically set for 8 hours, though I could take it out sooner if desired. It’s so easy.
- Using a saucepan on the stove is also an option for heating the milk. In this case, stay nearby to stir often so the milk does not scorch on the bottom of the pan. This requires a little more attention, but it still quick and easy. Once 180 or more degrees is reached, put in the pot in the kitchen sink with cold water to quickly cool it down. Add the yogurt with active cultures and mix well. Now use your desired device or method.
- The longer your yogurt sits, the sharper it will be. It will also be thicker if it cultures longer.
- For thicker, Greek-style, yogurt strain it through butter muslin. Line a colander with the butter muslin and pour in the yogurt. Tie the ends together and hang your makeshift bag somewhere to drain. This will allow some of the whey to be filtered out and will make a much thicker yogurt. The longer it drains, the thicker it will be.