I have to admit, when I first heard about yogurt making I shunned the idea. Why would I spend 16 hours creating yogurt at home when I can easily purchase it at the store? Then one day, I just decided to go for it. I had read many people’s experiences in various forums and decided I needed to give it a try, even if I didn’t know if it would turn out. I went with the cold start yogurt method because it seemed the least painful. To my surprise – it did work! And it was creamy and delicious and a FRACTION of the calories and sugar store bought yogurt has.
Cold Start Yogurt Making
There are a few things you will need for this method:
- Ultra Pasteurized Milk
- Live Cultures
- Sweetener (Optional)
- And Instant Pot with a yogurt setting
The first is an ultra-pasteurized milk. The reason for this is simple – using regular pasteurized milk can result in lots of yucky bacteria building up. So go for the ultra pasteurized versions to make your cold start yogurt. If you want to use a regular milk you will need to do a boil start method for yogurt making.
Some ultra-pasteurized milks you may find at your grocery store are:
- Fairlife – which is what I use. It was the first brand I tried. It worked. Why fix something that isn’t broken? I’m sticking with Fairlife.
- Organic Valley
- Certain Varieties of Kirkland Brand Milk – be sure to read the label
To get your yogurt started you need to add live cultures. The easiest way to do this is to use yogurt. It is the same idea as a sourdough bread starter. It may sound counter intuitive, but you need those cultures to make your own cold start yogurt.
Once you’ve made your first batch of yogurt you can use your homemade yogurt as your starter. You can use your own yogurt as a start – freeze some yogurt in an ice cube tray, and then use a few thawed cubes in your next batch.
Yogurt Starters With Live Cultures
Some brands of yogurt that contain live cultures are:
The next ingredient for your cold start yogurt is a milk based sweetener. This is completely optional, but let me tell you why I add it. Sugar acts as a preservative, and when you are adding a small amount of sweetener to a gallon of milk, the amount per serving is very small. I’ve included the nutritional information below to include my sweetener of choice (sweetened condensed milk.). I also don’t care for plain yogurt. If you like plain yogurt, then simply omit the sweetener.
You can also add sweetener in after you have incubated your yogurt. Or you can sweeten with toppings like berries, honey, or granola. If you want to add sweetener before you incubate, chose one of the following:
- sweetened condensed milk
- Natural Bliss Sweetener
The Proper Instant Pot Model
The last and most important item you need is an Instant Pot with a yogurt setting. Not all models have this setting, and you can not complete this method without it. There are other methods of making yogurt without a yogurt settings, but they are much more complicated. Below are some models that have the yogurt setting. I also included the glass lid I use while making yogurt.
- 1 gallon ultra pasteurized milk like Fairlife brand
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt with live cultures like Fage brand
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk optional
In a 6qt Instant Pot, combine all ingredients. Whisk until well combined. Cover with glass lid.
Using the yogurt setting, incubate for 8 hours.
Without stirring, transfer inner pot with lid to a refrigerator and chill for 8 hours.
Serve your cold start yogurt plain or with desired toppings. Will keep in refrigerator for 7 days.