Homemade Lactose-Free Yogurt – Instant Pot Method

Scoops of creamy, unsweetened yogurt with a hefty drizzle of honey

We love yogurt.  Sadly, both of us have some stomach issues when we eat regular yogurt from the store.  Apparently that is true of a lot of people.  If you are interested, here is some general information from romper.com about what happens to the body when eating lactose: https://www.romper.com/p/6-things-that-happen-to-your-body-when-you-eat-dairy-lactose-intolerant-not-13021983

And if you’re even more interested than that, here is some pretty science-based information from the Denver Naturopathic Clinic about lactose free yogurt, and lactose in general.  http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/lactosefreeyogurt.html

We have tried some yummy yogurt made out of milk that didn’t come from cows. We’ve tried cashew milk yogurt, almond milk yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, goats milk yogurt, soy milk yogurt, and anything else we have discovered. These were fine. they tasted okay, the texture was okay and our stomachs did not get upset.  Yesss!  But there were two issues with virtually all of these. First,  the texture just wasn’t that great.  While it might have appeared thick and creamy, it tasted just creamy. Not thick and creamy. And yogurt that is thick and creamy is just better. Second, all of these yogurts we tried were expensive. 

 

Cost Per Ounce of Dairy Free Yogurt at 3 Supermarkets

So dairy free yogurt that tasted good but not great and isn’t creamy ranges from 25 cents per ounce (with a brand we were not fans of) to 38 cents per ounce for the brand we liked best.  When we made the yogurt ourselves it was thick, creamy, tasty, lactose free AND cheaper.

To make it, we used Fairlife Ultra-Filtered whole milk, which is lactose free.  It was $4.29 for 52 ounces, or 8.2 cents per ounce.  We also used Horizon Organic  Half and Half, which cost $2.29 for 16 ounces, or 14 cents per ounce, and Lifeway Plain Unsweetened Organic Kefir , which cost $4.29 for 32 ounces, or  13.4 cents per ounce.  Using the recipe below, the whole batch of yogurt cost $5.96, for 64 ounces  ($4.29 milk, $1.40 half and half, $0.27 kefir)…that’s 9.3 cents per ounce! And a bonus that is not to be ignored, it tastes FANTASTIC.

So to make this yogurt lactose free, we started with a lactose free milk.  The Fairlife yogurt is lactose free to start with, and has some other fine qualities too. It comes in fat free and 2% but whole milk is what makes this incredibly yummy, creamy yogurt.  It is 160 calories for a cup (20 calories per ounce) and well worth it. Cut back somewhere else.

Details of Fairlife Yogurt
Fairlife® Ultra-Filtered Milk Whole.
50% Less sugar than regular milk.
High quality 13g protein per serving.
9 Essential nutrients.
From cows not treated with rBST†.
Lactose free.
Ingredients
Ultra-Filtered Milk, Lactase Enzyme, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.

 

If you’re interested in total calories, the half and half is 40 calories per ounce and the kefir is 20 calories per ounce.  So 64 ounces is 1,480 calories total or 23.13 calories per ounce.   A 6 ounce serving (the largest a single serve cup in the supermarket would be) would be less than 140 calories. Yup.  

A view into the instant pot full of yogurt

 Yogurt after it’s come out of the refrigerator and been stirred up. Ready to eat!

 We topped it off with fresh raspberries and diced green apples, along with a healthy drizzle of raw honey and some homemade granola. 

You can also use this plain, unsweetened yogurt as a savory base for recipes. Any place you would use sour cream, in fact, like in dips or cheesecake!

Homemade Lactose Free Yogurt

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

52 ounces of Fairlife Organic Whole Milk Yogurt

1 1/4 cups Organic Half and Half

2 Tablespoons Organic, unsweetened Kefir with life cultures (remember to shake it before pouring)

  1. Ensure your Instant Pot is clean. If you are not sure it is 100% clear and free of soap or food residue, clean it again.
  2. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot.
  3. Add the half and half.
  4. Add the kefir.
  5. Whisk well.
  6. Put the top on the Instant Pot and seal.
  7. Select the “yogurt” setting and set the timer to 12 hours.  You could probably do less time but if you want it creamy and tangy, try 12 hours the first time.
  8. After 12 hours, open the top and remove the pot. WITHOUT DISTURBING the yogurt (meaning do not store, shake etc.) put a cover on it. We use plastic wrap to seal it. Move the covered pot to the refrigerator for four hours.  You can leave it longer than that if you want to but leave it at least that long.
  9. After at least four hours, stir the yogurt and you’re ready to go!  We store it in a covered glass or plastic container and it will keep for 10 days or so, though it doesn’t usually last that long in our house.  As the days pass some of the liquid may begin to separate, which is perfectly normal and happens with store-bought yogurt too.  You can either strain it when that happens or just serve it with a slotted spoon.

We have been living through a kitchen remodel.  We are not complaining about the overall remodel…we feel super fortunate to be able to do it, despite the home equity loan, and will love having a kitchen that is perfect for us once we are done. But for people who are used to cooking from scratch at least twice a day, and frequently 3 times, plus baking treats and desserts, not having a kitchen has been trying.

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Morning of demolition

The primary reason why we undertook the remodel of the kitchen is that Martha has undergone a number of spine surgeries and is now living with a need for physical accommodation and accessibility in order to be able to work alone in the kitchen. She cannot bend, cannot reach up high and cannot lift more than a few pounds. This means she can no longer reach low cabinets, can only reach somewhat higher shelves with a reacher or a stool, cannot lift up things like a mixer or a pot full of water and in what we hope is the unlikely event of Martha being in a wheelchair for any length of time, the kitchen would not be easily navigable for her.   Anyway, the kitchen looked lovely, but was no longer safe or effective for solitary Martha utilization.

Before
Before!

As a general rule, we eat pretty healthy.  We eat tons of vegetables, cook things from scratch, do not eat processed foods usually and enjoy foods that are varied.  In addition, Kevin has to eat gluten free and primarily lactose free. Both of us feel a lot better when we are avoiding refined sugar, wheat, and most dairy and eating legumes only occasionally.  This way of eating is pretty close to a Paleo diet but closer to “Primal” (which is Paleo plus high quality dairy) and we are not zealots about it but have honestly found that we feel better.  So long story shorter, both of us enjoy cooking, both of us feel better when we eat lots of veggies and a variety of other fresh foods, and both of are better off avoiding certain foods.

So, we hoped to be able to stick to a pretty health diet without an actual kitchen. Our initial plan was to set up an outdoor kitchen on our deck and use the grill, a steel table, and our instant pot or slow cooker out there.  The first thing we learned is that the outlets on the deck were turned off when the electricity to the kitchen was turned off. So much for that plan.  What ended up happening is we used a mixture of rooms and spaces.  Microwave in the living room (yup. On the marble topped table from Kevin’s late mother), above the white carpet. Dishes in the laundry room sink, which was okay except the counter in the laundry room is virtually non-existent and there are not enough outlets in there to plug in the appliances we wanted to use, which were the electric kettle, the coffee maker and the blender. Refrigerator in the garage. The grill, which is propane, did work still on the deck but it turned out grilling every day was not as fun as we thought and was not as effective for breakfast.  The Instant Pot idea was still reasonable but to Martha’s distress, the best counter space and outlet turned out to be in the guest bathroom. With contractors in and out of the house every day, shutting down that bathroom was not an option and cooking IN the bathroom made Martha squeamish.

Bacon.
Bacon cooking in the great outdoors. You’re welcome neighbors.
camp kitchen
Camp stove on a piece of plywood on top of a saw horses.

So…how did healthy eating go? Not that well to be honest.  We did a steel cut oatmeal in the instant pot, an Instant Pot chili, and Instant Pot stew, quite a few grilled meats, many smoothies…and a bunch of “rip apart a rotisserie chicken and add some baby carrots” type of meals, and a bunch of take out.  Kevin created a “camp kitchen” in the garage and made a few yummy dinners and some breakfast eggs there but the “counter space” arrangement involved here was not ideal, it was not close to a sink, could not be really left unattended for long for safety reasons, and of course still no oven. We did some healthy takeout, but honestly it got old and expensive very quickly.  Even healthy takeout gets cold, and old quickly.  We had much more food that we would usually avoid as the kitchen renovation timeline went on. And we really missed our oven, and our counter space, and our sink with disposal.  These are “first world problems” to be sure and we totally understand that we are lucky to have these problems to complain about.  But boy, we are looking forward to “after!”

Guest bathroom Instant Pot
Guest bathroom Instant Pot…the only time Martha could stand doing this.
Kitchen demolished
Kitchen interrupted