Makin' It: Milk and Yogurt

I just finished some homemade yogurt with homegrown strawberry jam mixed in for breakfast.  Mmmmmmm!!!  It was so good!

I make plain yogurt and then just gussy it up with jams and jellies, fresh fruit, cocoa, etc.  This one has some of that great strawberry jam.

This reminded me that I'd been meaning to rave about about my pleasure and success at making soymilk and soy yogurt from scratch.  But first, I want to back up a beat and talk about the "why" of the endeavor.  

See, one of my goals for this year is to get a better handle on my arthritis flares.  I'm trying a multifaceted approach, one prong of which is to improve my gut flora/microbiome.  There is a growing body of evidence linking high levels of bad gut bacteria to increased levels of joint pain/damage in AS.  I really don't eat a lot of probiotic foods and, even if it didn't help with my pain management, I fail to see how balancing my microbiota could be a bad thing.  

Yogurt seemed like an incredibly easy probiotic food to add to my life.   I could eat it for breakfast.  I could use it in curry feasts.  Matt could add it to smoothies.  It can satisfy a craving for something sweet.  

Plain yogurt

But I hate all the single-use containers involved in store-bought yogurt.  Plus, non-dairy yogurts can be pricey at the grocery store.  Most commercial non-dairy milks have emulsifiers and binders that prevent them from being effectively used in yogurt making.

So, I wondered:  "Could I buy plain ol' dry soybeans...and make my own soymilk...and then turn that into yogurt?  How hard would that be?"

Soymilk, in process.  This is right before I close the lid on the InstantPot and bring it all up to pressure.

As I told my BobLobLaw friends this spring, I think this is one of the cleverest things I've ever done.  

I had forgotten how much I like yogurt, I guess, and I love having it around again.  The milk has met with complete satisfaction in every application*.  The whole thing is so cheap and simple that I feel sort of like an evil genius.  "Why didn't I start doing this years ago?!?!"

My first few batches of milk I put in growlers, because it was so charming.  The narrow neck made it harder to clean though so I've switched to wide-mouth quart jars.  It doesn't look as charming, but I'm more committed to ease than to charm.  :)

Things I particularly love about making my own soymilk and yogurt:

  • There are no milk cartons and yogurt cups to throw away or recycle.  Instead, we re-use glass jars every week--quart jars for the milk and 1/2 pints for the yogurt.  Currently our soybeans come in a plastic bag**, but that is just one single plastic bag for 50+ gallons of soymilk.  Its a vast reduction in waste.  
      • This makes me happy since we go through quite a bit of milk with all the cooking and baking from scratch.  Plus, we start most days with a green smoothie.
  • Soybeans are grown in the USA and even the organic ones are spectacularly affordable in bulk quantities.  They are also nutritiously dense and arguably more sustainable to cultivate on a mass scale than almonds or coconuts or cows.  Not to mention very cost-effective.  
  • My homemade milk is less processed than store-bought versions.  I know exactly what is in there and how it was made and I can tweak it to my liking.  
  • The process is done in a few small steps done over two days--one day for soaking beans and one day for cooking and straining them.  That makes it feel super easy.  I make a batch once or twice a week now, largely depending on how much yogurt I'm eating.
  • We can now enjoy a whole new swath of recipes from our favorite Indian cookbook.  Yogurt is more common in recipes from northern Indian, I guess, whereas in southern India they use more coconut milk.
Soybean skins and a few naked, freshly peeled beans.  
I read a bajillion recipes before making soymilk and ultimately found this site to be the most useful.  I appreciate their scientific approach to perfecting their recipe.  I ended up doing a hybrid of their #2 recipe and their #4 recipe.  As always, it is about adjusting the recipe until it suits the personal tastes of your own household.  For example, those milk makers wanted a stronger bean taste.  Matt and I were looking to avoid that.  More beany-ness might be more authentic, but it isn't what we were shooting for.
Soymilk, in process.  Once again this is right before I close the lid on the InstantPot and bring it all up to pressure.

Beth's InstantPot Soymilk


  • 1.5 C dry soybeans
  • 9 C water + more for soaking overnight


  • 5-6 cups finished soymilk


  • Soak 1.5 cups dry soybeans in a large bowl filled with water for 18-24 hours.  
  • Remove as many bean skins as possible/desired.
    • Squeeze/rub/pinch the soaked beans to remove the thin, semi-translucent skin of the soybean.  If they're properly soaked they just pop right off.  You certainly don't have to remove all of them, but try to get a lot of the beans stripped.  The skins float to the top of the soaking water when removed.  As they rise to the surface of the water, try to skim off and remove as many as possible.  I use a small wire mesh strainer for this.  
      • Removing the skins is really the only "fussy" step to making milk.  With practice I'm quite speedy at it now.
  • Blend the beans along with 3 cups of water in a high powered blender, like a Vitamix.
  • Put 6 cups of water into the InstantPot bowl.
  • Place a wire mesh steamer basket into the InstantPot bowl.
  • Pour the soybean puree from the blender into the wire mesh basket in the InstantPot.  
    • This seems like crazy talk, like all the soybean puree will just flow right out of the basket into the water, but trust me here.  It'll work.  
  • Secure the lid and pressure valve and set the InstantPot to pressure cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
  • After the one minute cook cycle has passed, allow the InstantPot to remain at pressure for 25 more minutes, then open the valve and quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Using heat protection, lift up the mesh steamer basket and allow the liquid to flow down into the InstantPot bowl. 
    • Inside the steamer basket is all the pulpy fibrous bits of the soybean puree.  In the InstantPot bowl is the fresh soymilk!
  • Discard the soybean pulp--we compost ours--and promptly rinse the mesh strainer basket.  It is easy to clean when everything is still warm and moist so I highly recommend doing it pretty much straight away.
  • Pour the contents of the InstantPot bowl into a large glass jar or other vessel, straining through a nutmilk bag (i.e. a fine mesh bag) to catch any remaining sediment that passed through the steamer basket.  I imagine layers of cheese cloth would also work for this purpose, but the nutmilk bag was super cheap and can be reused ad infinitum.
  • Refrigerate the milk and enjoy.  

Beth's InstantPot Soy Yogurt

  • Take 32 ounces of fresh soymilk and thoroughly combine with the contents of 2 probiotic capsules.
  • Divide the milk mixture into five wide-mouth half-pint jars and place them, uncovered, into the InstantPot.  
  • Set the pot to the Yogurt Function for 13 hours and wait until the cycle finishes. 
  • Remove the jars from the InstantPot and put on lids.
  • Refrigerate, and enjoy!
    • A few notes:  
      • In both the milk and the yogurt I have played around with adding a pinch or two of salt and/or sugar, but didn't find either necessary.
      • I use the PB8 brand of probiotics.

Next up on the agenda:  Homemade Tofu!  Matt has made two batches so far from the fresh soymilk and they've both turned out fantastic!  

Matt bought a pair of small tofu molds.  They can make anything from soft to extra firm tofu.  The milk and yogurt are "old hat" at this point.  I don't even need to use a recipe card to make them anymore.  The tofu is an exciting new culinary project though.

*Though, to be fair, we don't drink glasses of milk.  I never have been a milk-drinker and Matt grew out of it as he went vegan so...we literally haven't tested it that way.  Update 2/11/22:  Matt says it is terrible in coffee.  It ruined his cuppa, which tasted far too beany for his enjoyment.  I am surprised since coffee has such a strong smell of its own, but that's Matt's review.

**We might be able to bring in our own container again someday, but in the interest of increased COVID hygiene a lot of shops don't allow folks to bring in a reusable bulk container to fill anymore. 


  1. Hi Beth,
    ...your soymilk and vegan yogurt look awesome...I have an old (very old) Deva yogurt maker that I still use...
    ~Have a lovely day!


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