Thursday, March 9, 2017

How to Make DIY "Go-Gurt" Pouches with Your Instant Pot

There's no hiding how in love I am with my Instant Pot.  I promise this blog isn't going to turn into all Instant Pot recipes, but for right now, I'm loving the chance to discover everything it can do!

When I first purchased my Instant Pot, I debated whether or not to get the LUX model vs. the DUO model.  The thing that finally swayed me towards getting the DUO is the ability to make yogurt at home.  I could see this as a huge money-saver...to make your own yogurt, you only need two ingredients!  Plus, I love the ability to make our foods from scratch.

I've tried yogurt a few times now and, while it is pretty time-consuming, it is incredibly easy.  I'd recommend doing this overnight...the incubation is the longest part, but it's so easy to get this going before you go to bed and wake up to freshly-made yogurt.

And once you make yogurt?  The possibilities are endless.  You can use it in place of sour cream, milk in smoothies, have a nutritious snack, or make a fun treat for kids!

How to make homemade DIY Go-Gurt pouches with your Instant Pot || yogurt sticks || kids snack recipes || snacks || ideas || gelatin || Jello || frozen || pressure cooking


Here's the method to how I make DIY Go-Gurt Pouches!  (My method is adapted from this post at This Old Gal.)

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Ingredients Needed:

Half gallon milk (any kind can be used, I use whole)
1 tbsp yogurt starter (This is available at most grocery stores - you just need non-flavored, non-sweetened yogurt that lists on the back of the package that it contains live active cultures.)
Box(es) of flavored gelatin

Supplies Needed:

Instant Pot Duo (Lux model does not have the yogurt feature)
Digital Food Thermometer (You need fairly accurate temperature readings, so the digital one is necessary.)
Greek Yogurt Maker (Not 100% necessary, but will help ensure you have thick yogurt.)
Set of funnels
Gogurt-Style Zip-Top Bags
Instant Pot Glass Lid (You can use the regular sealing lid if you'd like, though sealing isn't necessary to create yogurt.  I like this lid because it's less bulky and you can see what's going on with your yogurt!)

Directions:


Into your (clean, cool) Instant Pot insert, pour half a gallon of milk.  Some people like to sanitize their insert before doing this by doing a steam cycle on the pot, but I had just gotten mine out of the dishwasher, so I knew it was clean.



On your Instant Pot, press the "yogurt" button, then press "adjust" until the screen says "boil."  The goal with this step is to get your milk to at least (maybe slightly over) 180 degrees.



It helps to whisk your milk while it's doing the boil cycle.  Having Thing 2 whisk for you is completely optional. 😉


Once your boil cycle is over, stir your milk then take the temperature in the center of the liquid using your digital thermometer.  It should be right at (or just above) 180 degrees...no more than 5-10 degrees higher.  If it isn't at 180 degrees yet, do another boil cycle.



If you reached 180 degrees, set your inner pot out to cool.  You can also put it in an ice bath to cool quicker.

IMPORTANT: From here, your milk needs to get down to between 100-110 degrees.  DO NOT go on to the next step until your milk is below 110 degrees!  You'll kill the active cultures in your starter.

Now it's time to add the starter!  Take about a cup of your cooled milk out into a bowl.  Put in about a tablespoon of yogurt and stir well.  Slowly pour this back into the big pot and stir.



Now, let's incubate your yogurt!  Set your inner pot back in the Instant Pot. I set mine for 8 hours by pushing the "yogurt" button on the Instant Pot once.  Once you set it, you can push the +/- buttons to adjust the time up to 10 hours and get a more sour-tasting yogurt.

And that's it for now!  This is what I normally do before bed.

Once that cycle is over, I put it in the fridge to cool and continue to incubate for 6-8 hours.  Then...



I like to strain my yogurt to get it really good and thick by using this strainer.  I usually do this in the fridge for about 8 hours (although this last batch was there for like 2 days because I didn't have a chance to finish the pouches!).

Now's the fun part!



My secret to flavoring (and coloring) the yogurt is powdered (not prepared) Jello mix.  I find the amount of water recommended to prepare the Jello on the box and double that amount to determine how much yogurt I need...so, if the box tells you you'll need 4 total cups of water, use 8 cups of yogurt (or roughly how much yogurt a half gallon of milk yields), and you should get a sweet (but not over-powering) flavor.

In other words, you can use 1 big box or 2 smaller boxes of Jello to sweeten a half-gallon batch of yogurt.

Of course, pureed fresh fruit is a much healthier option if you want to go that route.  I've read mixed reviews on whether or not it mixed well into the yogurt, and to be honest...Emmie is used to the sweetness of Go-Gurt, so I knew that idea wouldn't fly around here.  I'm planning on slowly phasing out the Jello flavoring and putting in more fruit in future batches though!



You guys know I'm a huge believer in getting kids involved in the kitchen, and this is a great opportunity...Emmie loves stirring in the flavors!



Now it's time to prepare your pouches.  I used this simple funnel set and these nifty little zip-top bags I found on Amazon.  Again, this is another great chance to get your kids involved in the mess fun!

Each one of these bags takes about 2/3 cup of yogurt.  That's the perfect amount to ensure you don't over-fill your pouches.



Lay your pouches flat in the freezer for 2-3 hours, and they're ready for lunch boxes!  I get 14-15 pouches out of this half-gallon recipe.



And, just FYI, you don't have to buy starter yogurts every time you make a batch.  I freeze a little bit of (unsweetened, unflavored) yogurt in cubes to use as starters for my next recipes.  I use this tray (left over from making baby food!) and use one of these cubes per half gallon of milk I'm making into yogurt.  Just put in a bowl and thaw an hour or so before you need your starter.

One more note - if your yogurt comes out a little thinner than expected, don't worry, you can still use it!  You can really use thick or thin yogurt in these pouches (sometimes thinner is easier to eat).  Emmie has eaten the thinner batches with a straw, almost like a smoothie.

How to make homemade DIY Go-Gurt pouches with your Instant Pot || yogurt sticks || kids snack recipes || snacks || ideas || gelatin || Jello || frozen || pressure cooking

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And there you have it...we have DIY Go-Gurt pouches at a fraction of the cost!  I'm really excited with how this little experiment turned out, and Emmie is too...she loved helping and has requested one of these every time she takes her lunch box.

Have fun creating, Instant Potters!  If you liked this idea, check out my other Instant Pot posts!




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