Instant Pot Yogurt, Greek Yogurt and, finally, Labneh
I can't believe it has taken me this long to make yogurt in my Instant Pot but better late than never., right?
I used this recipe from Tid Bits , which appears to be the standard recipe that everyone uses so I suggest you follow that link and use their recipe too. No need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel works like a charm.
Because I was going to turn it into labneh, which is a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese, I omitted the vanilla. Labneh is like greek yogurt on steroids that has been drained to the point where it's so thick that you can roll it into balls if you want. Click here to see a great slide show with all kinds of amazing ways to use this stuff
|here it is at the Greek yogurt stage|
You need an Instant Pot Duo or the Smart version
To make a full batch of yogurt, you use a gallon or 3.7 litres of milk (in Canada, that equals three bags of milk. Yes, we have bagged milk in Canada and you should too world)
3 tbls of powdered milk (you can leave that out but it does help it come out a bit thicker)
1/2 cup of yogurt with active cultures
Obviously, you can make a smaller batch so adjust your other additives accordingly. When you follow the Tid Bits recipe, you will end up with a giant batch of creamy, thinner yogurt. If you strain it for a few hours and up to overnight, you will end up with Greek yogurt and if you strain for two days, until there is no more moisture draining from the yogurt, you will finally end up with labneh.
The actual yogurt making process takes about 12 hours from start to finish so most people do it before bedtime. To bring the yogurt to temperature and then cool it down to 115F takes a good hour or two, depending on whether you use an ice bath to bring the temperature down or let it sit on the counter, so figure that in. Once it reaches 115F and you stir in the yogurt starter, it will take a full 8 hours or more to produce yogurt. I let mine incubate for 10 hours, which meant I had to adjust the time on the Instant Pot after I pressed the yogurt button as the default time is 8 hours. The longer you incubate, the more tart the yogurt will be so 10 hours works better for my taste buds but if you like it milder and blander, stick to the 8 hours.
After making the yogurt, it was still pretty runny so I transferred it into a container and put it in the fridge for the day until it thickened up a bit. That night, I lined a strainer in a few layers of cheesecloth, I stirred about 1 tsp of kosher salt into the yogurt and then poured into the strainer, put that over a big bowl, covered the whole thing in a clean kitchen cloth and put it in the fridge. If you are NOT making labneh and want to make Greek yogurt, skip the salt and just pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth lined strainer.
*a tip for making yogurt in the stainless steel Instant Pot liner is to avoid using a metal spoon or whisk because metal on metal can change the flavour of the yogurt, leaving it with a tinny taste so only use a wooden spoon or silicone - a silicone whisk is perfect.
In the morning I woke up and removed it from the fridge and it was the consistency of a nice Greek yogurt so I threw out the whey that had drained off into the bowl (I KNOW< I KNOW BUT I HAD NO USE FOR THE WHEY) and put it back in the fridge. I checked it again at bedtime, drained off the whey and put it back in until the next morning. By that time, there was very little whey in the bowl and the yogurt was now transformed into labneh. A word of warning, you are NOT going to end up with anything even close to a gallon of labneh at the end of this process but you will end up with at least 3+ cups (750ml) I can't commit to an actual set amount because it depends on how much liquid you strain out of it.
Once your cheese has thickened to this point, you can do a few things with it. You can eat it as is, spread on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh herbs, a bit of scallion, some chili flakes, maybe some crushed, toasted nuts and eat along with dips like hummus as part of a mezes platter. Some people like to stir fresh herbs or finely minced radish right into the labneh at this point, but I prefer to top the cheese with all that stuff so that I can use it with different flavouring over the course of a couple meals. Store it in the fridge with plastic wrap sitting on the surface of the labneh for up to 4 days.
|labneh with olive oil, chili and parsely goes great with my spicy beet dip (made with golden beets for a change), olives and pita|
You can also roll the labneh into small balls, put them in a clean, wide mouthed jar and cover them in olive oil with some fresh thyme, rosemary, chili pepper or coriander seeds and let them sit in the fridge for another day and serve them like that. In oil, the cheese will last for a week or two and can be served on a cheese plate, with bread or crackers.