Consumed by humans for hundreds of years, yogurt has numerous health benefits. Not only is it capable of reducing the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease, but it can also be used for things such as weight management. Loaded with vitamins and other nutrients, the all-natural product offers both, high-quality protein, and calcium. An all-star food, it has also been found to boost one’s immune health.
What is Yogurt, Really?
One of the oldest fermented foods in the world, yogurt by definition, is a semi-solid food prepared from fermented milk, with the addition of bacteria cultures. Don’t let the word bacteria scare you however- the ones added to the dairy product- probiotics, are beneficial to the human body. To be more specifically, your is typically produced by using cultures of Streptococcus Thermophilus and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus.
The History of Yogurt
As mentioned earlier, yogurt has been around for many years. In fact, it can be traced back to 6000 B.C., when herdsmen in Central Asia first began to practice milking their animals. Until the 1900’s, the dairy product was a staple food product in many parts of the world including South Eastern Europe, India, and Western Asia. Ultimately, it wasn’t until the first decade of the 20th century, that yogurt was introduced to the United States (though it was initially available as a tablet or enema).
The Different Benefits of Yogurt
We’ve mentioned a few benefits earlier- let’s take a closer look to see what beneficial effects yogurt has on the human body.
The Active Cultures of Yogurt Can Help to Improve Gastrointestinal Health
According to studies done at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Centre, yogurt can help with several GI conditions including diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, and lactose intolerance. Though more research is needed, there’s even some evidence that it may play a role in preventing colon cancer.
Yogurt Can Help to Boost the Body’s Immune System
The immune system is the body’s main line of defence against harmful agents, such as bacteria and viruses. Believe it or not, each of us are exposed to countless “germs” on a daily basis. Ultimately, it’s thanks to the immune system that we’re able to remain healthy.
Though more studies are needed, there’s preliminary evidence that probiotics (such as those in yogurt) may have the ability to enhance recovery from and resistance to infection. For instance in one particular study, a 20% reduction in the length of GI and respiratory infections were reported in those that consumed probiotic products.
The two beneficial bacteria in yogurt, primarily Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, are also found to help with H. pylori infections (a condition in which a bacteria causes infection in the small intestine and stomach).
Yogurt Contains Numerous Essential Vitamins and Minerals
To put it simply, yogurt contains nearly very nutrient, that is your body needs. Not only does it contain a healthy amount of calcium, a mineral that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones, but it also contains high levels of B vitamins- namely riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin B12. Both of these vitamins play a part in protecting the body against heart disease.
In addition to calcium, one cup of yogurt also supplies your body with healthy amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Essential for numerous processes in the body, these minerals help to regular numerous things such as bone health, metabolism, and blood pressure.
Nowadays, yogurt is typically also fortified with vitamin D- something that is crucial for both immune system and bone health. In some instances, it may even help to prevent the risk of conditions such as depression and heart disease.
Yogurt Contains is a Great Source of High Quality Protein
Aside from vitamins and minerals, the dairy product is also a fantastic source of protein. For every 200 grams of yogurt, there’s approximately 12 grams of protein. From a health perspective, protein has been shown to support various aspects of metabolism such as energy and calorie expenditure. In some cases, protein can also be beneficial for regulating appetite, as it alerts your body that you’re “full” after a meal, by increasing the production of a certain protein.
Yogurt can be Beneficial in Heart Health
Eating yogurt on a regular basis has been linked to healthier blood pressure and chloesterol levels. According to one particular study, those who consumed yogurt seemed to have lower BMI, better metabolic profile, blood pressure, and higher HDL, than their non-eating counterparts.
Yogurt can be Beneficial in Weight Management
Eating yogurt can be effective in weight management. First off, it’s high in protein, which as mentioned above, can work to increase levels of various appetite-reducing hormones. Adding to that, there have been a few studies that have shown that consuming yogurt is associated with lower body fat percentage, body weight, and waist circumference.
How is Yogurt Made?
Now that we’ve gone over some of its benefits, let’s take a look at how yogurt is made.
A dairy product, yogurt is produced when milk or cream is fermented with the help of lactic bacteria (i.e. Lactobacillus and Streptococcus) aka “cultures.” The way it works is that these bacteria are able of fermenting lactose, the primary sugar found in milk.
Through this process, lactic acid is produced. This causes the proteins in the milk to curdle- that is, it thickens the liquid to give it its unique texture and flavour.
While yogurt by itself is nutritious however, many brands of commercial yogurt contain added ingredients such as artificial flavours and sugars. Taking that into consideration, wouldn’t it be better if we could make home-made yogurt?
How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot
Interested in easy-to-make, home-made yogurt? If you own an Instant Pot, then you’re probably already aware of its yogurt-making functionalities. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, we’re saying it now- many models of the small cooker is capable of preparing home-made yogurt.
Below, we’ll be outlining the instructions on how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot.
1.) To begin the process, we want to milk (~a gallon or so works well) into the inner pot. Next, we’ll want to heat it to approximately 180F; you can do this by pressing the “Yogurt” button, and adjusting the screen so that it says “boil”. Close the lid afterward, and wait for it to be done (it typically takes around an hour or so).
2.) Once your Instant Pot has beeped to alert you know that the boiling is done, use a food thermometer to ensure that the milk inside has reached a temperature of 180F. To prevent a false reading, it may be a good idea to mix the pot gently before hand.
3.) Once you’ve confirmed that the milk has reached 180F, you want to allow it too cool again, to 110F. To do this, simple place the inner pot on a cooling rack- easy.
If you’re in a rush, you can place the inner pot into a cold water bath in the sink. To facilitate the cooling process, you can also stir the pot.
4.) Once the yogurt has cooled to 110F, we can add the yogurt cultures. For this, you can use any plain yogurt with active cultures- three tablespoons is all you need! After it has been added to the milk, whisk and mix well.
Tip: Using a plastic whisk (as opposed to a metal whisk) can prevent the lingering taste of metal in the yogurt
5.) With all that done, pop the inner pot back into the cooker. Next, you’ll want to press the “Yogurt” button again, so that you can set the timer to 8 hours using the (+) key. Close the lid and relax for the next 8 hours while the Instant Pot prepares your yogurt.
Tip: If you prefer a tangier yogurt, you can choose to input more time (e.g. 10 hours)
6.) In 8 hours time, the yogurt will be ready; your Instant Pot will read “Yogt” on the front. Pour the yogurt into clean containers and refridgerate for a few hours before consuming.
How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot Without the “Yogurt” Setting
Sure, it may be more “straight forward” to make yogurt if your Instant Pot has the “Yogurt-making function”, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it without the setting. That’s right, you can still prepare your own home-made yogurt with an Instant Pot Lux.
1.) Depending on how much yogurt you want to make, add half to one gallon of milk to the pot. Using the “Keep Warm” function, warm the milk up gradually. Once that’s complete, press the “Saute” button to further heat it to 180F.
Tip: Check the temperature of your milk by using a food thermometer
2.) Once you’ve confirmed that it’s at 180F, remove the inner pot, and allow it to cool on a cooling rack until it’s 110F. Once again, you’ll want to check the temperature with your food thermometer.
3.) As soon as it’s done cooling, you can add your yogurt cultures. To do this, simply add two tablespoons of plain yogurt to your milk.
4.) Once you’ve added the cultures to the liquid, place the pot back into the cooker. Seal the lid and close the vent.
5.) With the power turned off, wrap the entire Instant Pot with a towel. After that, you’ll want to let it sit for eight hours.
Tip: If you prefer tangier yogurt, you can allow it to sit for a longer period
6.) After waiting 8 hours, the yogurt will be complete. Remove the inner pot from the cooker, and transfer the yogurt into a container. Before consuming the dairy product, you’ll want to let it cool inside the refridgerator for a few hours.
How To Make Yogurt in An Instant Pot – FAQ’s
What Kind of Milk Should I Use?
Generally speaking, you can use anything from skim to full-fat milk for your yogurt. The only difference is that using whole milk would produce a yogurt with a “thicker” consistency. If you want to be extra healthy, be sure to go for organic milk!
Depending on your preference, you may even use cream, or a mixture of cream and milk for the yogurt.
How long does it take to make yogurt with an Instant Pot?
It’s going to take some time- don’t expect to be able to eat it within a couple of hours. If anything, it’ll take at least half a day; this is due to the fact that eight hours is necessary for the bacteria cultures to ferment the milk.
Why is my yogurt still a liquid?
There are a few factors behind “liquid-y” yogurt:
1.) The type of milk used- the lower the fact content in the milk, the thinner your yogurt will be. If you want to achieve the creamy, thick texture, you may wish to try using whole milk.
2.) The amount of bacteria culture added to the milk- you can increase the amount of culture if you wish to create a thicker yogurt
3.) The temperature in which fermentation occurs- if you let it ferment over 125F, the high heat will kill most of the good bacteria
4.) The length of fermentation- typically, a fermentation period of eight hours is recommended. If you want your yogurt to be more thicker, you can increase the amount of time
Adding a non-fat dry milk powder may also help to thicken the yogurt.
Why is the milk is taking forever to heat up to 180F?
During the boil phase, you can whisk the milk periodically inside the pot- this can help the temperature to come up faster. Otherwise, you may have to repeat the the boil phase a second time to get it to climb up to 180F.
How much yogurt yields from using one gallon of milk?
Assuming that you don’t strain the yogurt afterwards, you will yield the same amount of yogurt as the amount of milk used. If you decide to strain the yogurt, you could lose some whey, which would lead to a smaller yield volume. Typically with one gallon of milk, you’ll end up with 2.5 quart of strained yogurt.