Nonfat Yogurt

Nonfat Yogurt with fresh blueberries.
Nonfat Yogurt with fresh blueberries.

I’m a big yogurt fan. I eat this cultured milk concoction pretty much every day. Did you know that cultured foods made from milk date back to 10,000 B.C.? While it’s unlikely people understood that probiotics played a role in this food way back then, I bet they understood how good the food made them feel. After all, many cultures believed food was, in essence, medicine.  

For years, I picked up yogurt without giving a thought to how it was made or what made it ”good medicine.” One element is fermentation. If you read my blog, you know I’m into fermented ingredients. If it’s really true that ”you are what you eat” then I’m definitely fermented—one or more ingredients among yogurt, buttermilk, soy sauce, vinegar, wine and yeast are part of my daily diet.

I’ve considered purchasing yogurt makers over the years, but I’m very rarely swayed to buy specialized appliances … it seemed such a maker would take up space rather than be frequently used. So when I discovered an Instant Pot with multiple settings, including yogurt, I had to buy one. It was a worthwhile purchase, and I foresee it being used frequently. One of those frequent uses will be making my own yogurt.

I don’t buy dairy milk, so I wanted to test nonfat dry milk just to see how the yoI don’t keep dairy milk on hand, so I wanted to test nonfat dry milk just to see how the yogurt would turn out. It turns out that nonfat dry milk is not only an inexpensive way to store milk product for a long time  …  but it also makes tasty yogurt! For my yogurt starter I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt (I recommend plain), but you can use any kind so long as it has live and active cultures.  I froze some of my first yogurt batch in ice cubes to use as starters for future yogurt. They will last about three months. The yogurt itself lasts about 10 to 14 days. I have not tested this beyond 10 days because it generally doesn’t last much more than a week in our house.

Making the yogurt takes time … but most of it is cook time. With only two ingredients, it’s super simple to prep! Once it’s done, you can add sweetener and fruit or other ingredients or enjoy its naturally creamy, tangy goodness. You can strain it through a cheesecloth to make your own Greek style yogurt. Save the whey you strain out for cereals and such. 

Yogurt is a versatile, gluten-free dairy food. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have an open challenge to make what I call simple foods … those with four or fewer ingredients. This may be my lowest ingredient number yet for a recipe! My two favorite uses for this yogurt (so far) are in smoothies and homemade frozen yogurt. In Indian cuisine, I sometimes top my dal with it, and at some point I’ll use it for a raita. Both dear sweet, husband and I add it to our cereal and oatmeal breakfasts, too. It was a great topping on a quinoa breakfast I recently tested as well. However you use it, enjoy this tangy, fermented food!

“Hey yogurt, if you’re so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?”

— Stephen Colbert 

Ingredients

8 C nonfat milk (made from non-fat dry milk)

2 TBSP yogurt – must have live and active cultures

Prep time: about 10 minutes, about 9-10 hours total time

Yields: about 8 cups

Directions

Before making yogurt, sterilize your pot. Add water to inner pot, close lid and select Sterilize function. 

When complete, let inner pot cool then remove and discard water.

You can make the instant milk the night before or while inner pot is cooling down following sterilization. Follow directions for a half-gallon. The mix I use requires 2 and 2/3 C dry milk for 8 cups of milk. I add water and whisk until fully mixed together.

Add milk to inner pot and return to Instant Pot. Select yogurt and push twice to get boil function. This segment will take about an hour. When the pot beeps, ensure the temperature is about 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees C). 

Allow inner pot to cool a few minutes, then remove. 

Cool down to between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees C). For faster cool down, place pot in an ice bath. If needed, skim skin off of milk. Stir or whisk in yogurt ”starter”. Be sure to dry the inner pot before returning to the Instant Pot.

TIP: If using ice cubes of yogurt, remove them ahead of time to melt. One ice cube equals one tablespoon. At 105 degrees, the boiled milk will melt down the cube if it’s partially softened. 

Place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot. Select yogurt. Use +/- to adjust time to 8 hours and ensure that pressure is normal. When the yogurt beeps complete, remove inner pot and let it cool down. You can cover the pot with plastic wrap and let sit overnight or carefully transfer it to an 8-cup measuring cup that has a lid for the cool down. Ready to serve or store in other containers after it refrigerates for at least 8 hours. 

Yogurt should store for 10-14 days in refrigerator.

Pour some in ice cube trays for future starter if desired. Ice cubes should store for up to 3 months.

TIP: Instant Pot suggests using a separate seal ring for sweet and savory dishes.   

Nonfat Yogurt at a glance.
Nonfat Yogurt at a glance.

Serving Suggestions

Serve as part of a healthy, nutritious breakfast, in smoothies, raitas, topping for various dishes or use in recipes. 

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