Breakfast / Cultured food / Dairy / Snacks / Using an electric pressure cooker

Homemade Yogurt {using an electric pressure}cooker}

img_4628One of my favorite Christmas presents of all time was one that I received a couple of years ago…an electric pressure cooker.  I use it all-of-the-time, no joke. It has been a constant and reliable friend, prominently holding a solid piece of counter space 24/7.

The pressure cooker that I originally had on my wish list was an 8 quart GoWise USA brand electric pressure cooker.  I wanted a larger size than the standard 6 quart size to accomodate cooking for our large family, and I loved that this brand had a stainless steel inner pot, as opposed to a non-stick pot that many brands carry.  It was also about half of the price of another name brand electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot.

When I first received it, I had so much fun experimenting with it and making a myriad of different foods, one of which I am sharing with you today…homemade yogurt.

I am suprised that I had never thought about making yogurt before I received my GoWise because honestly, it really isn’t that difficult to make.  A few years ago I was on the homemade Kefir bandwagon {which is a probiotic rich sort of cousin to yogurt}, so I haven’t been totally ignorant of homemade cultured foods, espcially in the dairy department.  So, when I realized there was a “setting” for making yogurt on the pressure cooker, I was all about trying it out!

Here’s the thing though: you don’t even need the special equipment of an electric pressure cooker to culture yogurt.   All it really requires is milk being heated to 180 degrees, cooled to 110 degrees, then mixing in a couple of tablespoons of yogurt that has live active cultures and then just keeping that mixture at a steady warm temperature of about 110-115 degrees over an extended period {8-10 hours} of time to allow the live active cultures to do their thing.  Using the electric pressure cooker as the incubatur, per say, just makes it easy because you don’t have to babysit it to make sure the temperature is steady. Honestly, if my oven was able to be set to that low of a temperature, it would be just as easy to stick a bowl of warm, yogurt-infused milk in there…but it doesn’t so using my GoWise USA electric pressure cooker makes it a simple process for me!

Once the milk has turned to yogurt at the end of the 8 hours or so, you can either leave it as is and stick it in the refrigerator and stir it when you are ready to eat, or you can strain the whey {the liquid byproduct that results from the culturing process} from the yogurt and the result is a thick and creamy Greek yogurt. Either way is fine, it is just personal preference.

When the yogurt is finished culturing you can either flavor it right away with something like a flavored simple syrup or flavor it when you go to eat it. I like eating mine with something like Tart Cherry Pie Jam and vanilla simple syrup mixed in. Mmmm.  The possibilities really are endless though as far as flavor combinations go!

Save a couple of tablespoons of the unflavored freshly made yogurt as the live yogurt culture starter for your next batch of homemade yogurt, which can be frozen if you aren’t going to use it to make another yogurt batch within a few days.

I hope this post inspires you go ahead and save yourselves some money by making your own yogurt.  You may never want to buy store-bought again! -Shelley.

Homemade Yogurt:

To start the process, make sure you have a washed and sterilized inner pot for your electric pressure cooker. You can do this by starting with a clean inner pot and then place 1 cup of water in the pot and and then run the pressure cooker on the steam function – high for 5 minutes.  Use the quick release method to de-pressurize the pressure cooker and then take the inner pot out {be careful- it’s hot} and allow it to cool before continuing to the next step.

Once the inner pot has cooled, add cold milk {whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, or skim milk all work fine. The higher the fat content of the milk used will result in a creamier yogurt}.  I used a whole gallon of milk, but if you don’t want to make that much, a 1/2 gallon of milk can be used. So far I have made yogurt using both whole and 2 percent milk and both turned out great!

Place the inner pot in the pressure cooker and then place the lid on the pressure cooker, and align the pressure dot on the regulator knob with the dot on the lid.


Next, on the GoWise USA brand electric pressure cooker, press the “yogurt” button until the word “boil” appears on the screen.


Allow the pressure cooker to do it’s boil setting and when it beeps, take the lid off and whisk it to avoid any hot or cool spots    .

Immediately take the temperature. Your target temperature to attain is between 180-185 degrees. Using an instant read thermometer works great for taking the temperature.

If your milk hasn’t reached the 180 degree mark yet, go ahead and replace the lid and repeat the same “boil” setting using the yogurt button. You can take the lid off and whisk it half way through the second round to take the temperature {it is safe to take the lid off during this yogurt process because it is slowly warming the milk, it is not cooking anything at high pressure, the lid has not locked, and there is no pressure built up.

FYI for your safety: Never try to take the lid off while there is pressure built up in the pressure cooker! 

For a gallon of milk to heat up in the 8 quart pot, it took me 2 full rounds to reach the 180 degree mark.

As a side note: the inner pot is pretty much a big, stainless steel stockpot without handles, so you can always do the heating up of the milk over medium heat on the stovetop. Just whisk it occasionally to keep the milk from scortching or a film from forming. Again, using the pressure cooker on the yogurt-boil setting just helps by not having to babysit it the whole time. 

Once the milk has reached the target 180-185 degrees, immediately remove it from the heat source and allow it to cool, whisking occasionally, until it reaches 115 degrees.

Take 2 Tablespoons of plain unflavored yogurt that has live active cultures {per gallon of milk} and add about 1 cup of the warm milk to the yogurt and mix well.

Take that milk-yogurt mixture and add it to the rest of the warm milk in the pot and whisk to combine. You want the milk to be in between 110-115 degrees when you add the yogurt to it.

Immediately take the pot and place it back into the electric pressure cooker. Replace the lid to its former position and hit the yogurt button for either the 8 hour setting, or 10 hour setting. This works great for making yogurt overnight while you sleep! 

FYIThe longer you let the yogurt culture, the tangier it will be.

This is whole milk yogurt after about 10 hours of culturing

At this point you can either mix this up and transfer to smaller containers and will have a runnier yogurt, or you can strain the whey from the yogurt using a fine mesh strainer {or a strainer with cheese cloth over it if your mesh is not small enough to keep the yogurt particles from straining through}. The latter will result in a thicker Greek yogurt.

This is yogurt that has not been strained from the whey
Gently spoon the yogurt into the fine mesh strainer
Notice the whey that has separated and strained from the yogurt.

There is no set amount of time for this straining process. It all depends on how you like your yogurt. You can strain it for as little as one hour, or overnight.
Transfer yogurt to clean containers {mason jars work great}, refrigerate and enjoy!

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Mixed Fruit Kefir Smoothie

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