Yogurt (In an Instant Pot)
back on some quarantine sh*t
things you’ll need: whole milk (although 2% or half and half will work), a good yogurt with live cultures (read labels and go for one with the most cultures and fewest ingredients), a reasonably accurate thermometer, an instant pot, and time.
if you have an instant pot, the “Yogurt” button does 95% of the work. I did a lot of research, but every site pretty much said the same thing. I tend to find Kitchn articles helpful, so I followed their advice.
for non-dairy, I found Becky Striepe’s Soy Yogurt to be sound and it seems like you can use the dairy technique on almond milk with almond yogurt as well, but you may need a thickening agent like agar agar or tapioca starch.
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If you haven’t gotten it already, you know a lot of people who have. As of late, everyone has it. You aren’t sure if this is a good or a bad thing. Not that it could ever be good but some people say things like “herd immunity” and “less deadly” and part of your brain nods along. Then words like “eugenics” and “Medical Inequity” follow the narrative thread along to the same conclusion: this is (still) fucking awful (again).
You try your best to stop going places again which means that you have returned to your (unfortunately) well-cultivated hermit habits. Maybe this self-imposed semi-lockdown is also an opportunity, or at least that’s what you are determined to believe right now lest you lose your mind (some more).
If you have an instant pot and haven’t tried to make your own yogurt, you might as well. It’s delicious and will occupy the background noise of an entire day. That means you have something to focus on besides existential dread, the erosion of our democracy, and trudging your way through another day.
Make sure your instant pot and lid are very clean, then start with a half-gallon of whole milk. Dump it all in the instant pot and lock the lid with the pressure valve open. Hit the “Yogurt” button until it says “boil”. Now, walk away and go take a bath or clean the kitchen or comfort watch an episode of NCIS, Great British Bake Off, The Golden Girls, or whatever brings you solace (aka 50-60 minutes of disassociated bliss).
When the machine says that it is done, take out the inner pot and grab a reasonably accurate thermometer. Over the course of an hour (or another episode), occasionally take the milk’s temperature until it drops to 110-115 degrees. Take a little bit of the milk out and mix it with 2 Tablespoons of any plain yogurt (with Live Cultures and no superfluous ingredients). Pour the mixture back into the vat of warm milk and give it a gentle whisk to distribute the cultures.
Put the inner pot back into the machine, lock the lid, press the “Yogurt” button again until it reads “Normal” and set the timer for 8-12 hours depending on how late you plan to stay up and how thick and tart you like your yogurt. Go about your day with as much enthusiasm as you can muster.
When the machine says that it’s done, stick a spoon in it. If the spoon stands up on its own then everything worked as it should, which is its own kind of comfort. Remove the inner pot, throw some plastic wrap on the top, and put it in the fridge. Go to bed. Try to go to sleep. Eventually, succeed.
In the morning, very little will have changed, except you now have a half-gallon of fresh yogurt to enjoy. Divide most of the yogurt into clean jars or other containers and make yourself a bowl. Add a dollop of homemade jam that was made by someone else from summer fruits picked when it was hot outside, the sun didn’t set until 8pm, and everything felt like it was maybe on its way to being ok. Top with granola.
Check your temperature. Check-in with the people in your life who have tested positive. Be glad that they are ok. Be glad that they’ve all believed in science and have all been vaccinated and mostly boosted, but worry all the same.
As always, thank you for reading!
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