The ability to pasteurize milk can be incredibly convenient and financially helpful for those who have access to raw milk.
However the process can be complicated and time consuming if you are doing it at home.
Having a product that can simplify complicated processes is always desirable. Larger home pasteurizers can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars.
If you have the desire to pasteurize your own milk, but its not reasonable for you to spend a larger sum of money on a dedicated milk pasteurizer, you still have options.
Why not pasteurize milk with an appliance you already have, or one you can get for a much more reasonable price. The solution to this problem can be to use your electric pressure cooker.
Some of the newer pressure cookers have dedicated functions for pasteurizing milk, and others have the function but it isn't readily apparent.
This article will be explaining a few methods that allow you to pasteurize milk, and focusing on how to do so using several different Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.
Pasteurization: What is it and why do we do it?
The purpose of pasteurization is to make foods safer for consumption. The most popular food you probably consume that is pasteurized is milk, although juices and canned foods are pasteurized as well.
It is important to pasteurize milk because some of the most harmful pathogens are commonly found in around animals that we get milk from, like cows, sheep and goats. Pasteurization kills bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. You can find a full explanation of the health risks associated with raw milk on the FDA's website.
When a food product is pasteurized, it is heated to a high temperature to kill pathogens and microorganisms. It's different from sterilization, because it doesn't actually kill all dangerous microbes in the food.
Pasteurization just kills enough so that the number of microorganisms is so low, that its unlikely to cause diseases. Because not all microbes are killed, you must follow certain direction like safe storage temperatures and expiration dates to ensure you do not get sick from consuming the food.
Pasteurization is the preferred method for making foods safe as opposed to sterilization because the temperature is enough to kill most harmful microbes, but not high enough to have adverse affects on the taste or quality of the food.
Another added bonus to pasteurizing milk is that the high heat breaks down some of the proteins in the milk. This takes out some of the more harder to digest materials, making milk drinking easier on the stomach.
Can you pasteurize milk with an Instant Pot?
While it might not be readily apparent, certain Instant Pot electric pressure cookers do have the ability to pasteurize milk.
The easiest way to know if your Instant Pot can pasteurize milk is to see whether or not it has a yogurt function. This would include the Instant Pot IP-Smart and IP-DUO models; the IP-LUX models do not have this function.
Also, if you have an Instant Pot with a sterilize function, which would be the IP-DUO Plus60 and the Instant Pot Ultra, you will also be able to pasteurize milk.
All of the Instant Pot pressure cookers that pasteurize milk, do so at the lowest recommended temperature for pasteurization which is 161°F.
How to pasteurize milk with an Instant Pot
The method for pasteurizing milk in an Instant Pot is slightly different for the older models when compared to the newer models.
In the manual for your IP-DUO you will find two methods for pasteurizing your milk; one using just the inner pot, the other using bottles.
Inner Pot Method:
- Add your raw milk to the inner cooking pot.
- Select Yogurt.
- Select Adjust.
- Select More.
- After the pot beeps and displays "yogt", end the program.
- Add one cup of water to your inner pot.
- Place steaming rack inside the pot.
- Place bottles containing milk onto the rack.
- Select the steam function, and set for 1 minute.
- Allow the steam to release naturally.
With the two newer models, the IP-DUO Plus and the Instant Pot Ultra, you would use the sterilize function and select Less. This will heat the milk to the required temperature.
Once your milk has been pasteurized you must cool it to the proper temperature, about 40°F. The most common method of cooling home pasteurized milk is the cold bath method.
This method can be easily done in your kitchen sink. With this method you place your milk in containers and place these in a cold water and ice bath. Once the bath is warm or at you replace the water with more cool water and ice until the milk has reached the appropriate temperature.
The faster the milk cools the better. If the milk is at a warmer temperature for an extended period of time the flavor can be altered to the extent that makes it unpleasant to drink. Also slow cooling can allow for bacteria to build up quickly.
Things to remember when pasteurizing milk with an Instant Pot
- It's always safer to pasteurize milk, rather than drinking it raw.
- Pasteurizing doesn't lower the nutritional value of the milk.
- Pasteurizing milk can only be done with Instant Pots that have either a yogurt function or a sterilize function.
- It is important to cool your pasteurized milk as quickly as possible.
- Always follow safe storage suggestions with dairy products.
Pasteurizing milk may be something you won't find yourself doing often, but it can be a helpful feature for those who farm their own milk. You may also have the opportunity to use this feature if you acquire raw milk from a friend or from a farmers market.
The bottom line is, it is possible to pasteurize milk using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. When doing so you should always follow the all directions in your manual to ensure you safely pasteurize your milk Also be sure to cool your milk in a timely manner.