Or – What not to do.
I can’t remember where or when I discovered that you can make yogurt in an instant pot. I didn’t even know what an instant pot was a month ago! As soon as I knew it was possible I could not stop thinking about making my own vegan no sugar added yogurt. When you are lactose intolerant and watching out for FODMAPs, store bought yogurt is pretty much off limits. SO after thinking about it for a bit I bought an amazon warehouse deal crockpot brand slow cooker/pressure cooker for $50, some vegan yogurt starter, and after having read several yogurt making blogs and recipes – both vegan and non vegan, I was sure that it was going to be easy! All it took was time.
The first thing I noticed was that unlike the Instant Pot brand pots, when I hit “yogurt” and then “temperature” as the recipe instructed, it did not say BOIL on the display. It was at that point that I read the completely useless directions that came with the crock pot that said yes, you can adjust the temperature on the yogurt setting but nothing about boiling. I did not have a food thermometer, something I would come to regret, so I decided to just hit the yogurt button and hope for the best.
8 hours later I had some very yummy smelling lukewarm almond milk. I decided it must have been the not boiling that did it so I set out the next day to get a digital thermometer with a cord so that I could set it to let me know when it hit 180 degrees. I also bought the recommended silicon whisk and two more containers of almond milk. I was certain that it would work the second time.
After heating my milk to 180 degrees and adding the yogurt starter with the silicon whisk, just as the instructions said, I placed my almond milk mixture back in the crock pot and hit yogurt. 4 hours later, I really wanted to see what it was looking like in there so I opened it up – again it was full of very good smelling almond milk that was no thicker than when I poured it into the bowl. It was at that point, more closely reading the instructions that came with the Cultures for Health vegan yogurt starter that I saw the sentence “You can make yogurt most nut milks except commercial almond milk.” Noooooooooo! I decided to finish the 8 hours after I stirred in some flax meal to hopefully thicken it, as some blogs suggested. 4 hours later all I had was a bowl full of almond milk with 4 tables of flax meal at the bottom of it.
This time I saved the now-fermented almond milk with probiotics to use for smoothies.
However I have now determined that I MUST make vegan yogurt. I can’t not. I have now put 16 hours, a $50 crock pot, a $9 yogurt starter, 4 containers of almond milk at around $4 each, a $15 digital thermometer plus my order of new yogurt starter, a nut milk bag, and pectin from Amazon. I will make vegan yogurt, no matter how long it takes! Stay tuned.