0 EASY Cold Start Yogurt™ (No Boil) Method - Fairlife & Ultra Pasteurized Milks

Cold Start™ Yogurt - Lucille F.
For those of you who are making yogurt, or are intimidated by the process of making yogurt, there is another, simpler method. What can be easier than mixing two ingredients and pushing a button?

Many are calling it the "No Boil" yogurt method, but I call it the Cold Start™ Method, as you put two cold ingredients, Milk & yogurt starter, in your pot, and start your yogurt.

Fairlife milk is in the picture below, but you can use any ultra pasteurized, flash pasteurized, gentle pasteurized, shelf stable or powdered milk with this method. More info about milks can be found further in this article.

For best results and for food safety, do not use regular pasteurized or raw milk with this method.

You can make this yogurt directly in your pot, and if you find that you like the thickness of your yogurt without straining, you can mix your milk + starter together, and pour them into individual jars. See the FAQs section below for more information.

Fairlife 2% milk
Fage 0%
Incubated for 9 hours
Video courtesy of Aiman Kassam-Daudaly


For regular pasteurized milks, you will need to use the Traditional method of heating/cooling your milk. 
For a full explanation as to why, see the FAQ near the end of this post. 

NEW! Pressure Luck Video on the Cold Start™ method of making yogurt is HERE! Thank you, Pressure Luck!

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Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt™
1 carton (52 oz) of Fairlife milk (whole, 2%, skim) or 1/2 gallon any brand Ultra Pasteurized milk*
1- 2 Tablespoons of fresh, plain yogurt (click HERE for info on choosing a starter)

  You can add ONE of these Optional Ingredients to your milk. 
  If you add any of the following, use the MAX of 2 Tablespoons yogurt starter.
Yogurt must contain live/active cultures (listed in the ingredients or on the label)
This recipe will fit in the 3 qt Mini and can be doubled to fit in the 6 or 8 quart.  Keep the incubation time the same.
You can double the recipe, (up to 1 gallon of milk) but do not triple or make a larger batch.
The Canadian equivalent to Fairlife milk is Natrel Lactose Free milk.

Instructions - Make sure your Instant Pot and utensils are very clean and free of soap residue. Sterilizing is not necessary.
1.  Pour the carton of cold Fairlife milk into the Instant Pot insert. Mix in Sweetened Condensed Milk, if you are using it and mix it well. If you are using ultra pasteurized heavy whipping cream, or Natural Bliss cream, mix that in as well.

2.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of FRESH plain yogurt that has live/active cultures into the milk.

3.  Cover the Instant Pot with the lid in the locked position, seal, & pressure valve closed (sealing). If you have a smelly seal, you can remove it.. OR use any lid from your pots/pans, glass pie plate or even a flat silicone suction lid. No pressure is used for making yogurt.

4.  Push the Yogurt button, then quickly push the Adjust button,  and keep pushing the Adjust button until you see 8:00/Normal. The ULTRA yogurt setting is MEDIUM.

** You will need to incubate your yogurt on the NORMAL setting. If it is on the LESS setting, the temp is too low to culture your yogurt properly, and you will have runny yogurt.

(See below for other IP models or to watch a short video to find the correct Yogurt setting)
        You can push the +/- button to increase/decrease the 8 hour incubation time.
         The longer you incubate, the more tang your yogurt will develop.
         The shorter you incubate, the more mild you yogurt will be.

Display will read 0:00 and will count UP to the 8:00 hours.
Most yogurt is 'set' or firm by 8 hours. If it doesn't look set, add another hour or two. 

5. When finished, the display will show YOGT and you have a couple of options, A or B...

Do not stir the yogurt until it has been chilled thoroughly.  (You can see a list of straining options in this post)

A.  Chill your yogurt  for at least 4 hours. A larger batch of yogurt will take longer to chill fully.
Put the IP pot liner of yogurt, covered, into the fridge. You can add vanilla, sweetener, or fruit of your choice after it has been chilled.

If you are unsure about straining, choose this option. Once chilled, take a small spoonful of yogurt and stir it into a bowl. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, you will want to strain it. Chilled yogurt can take another 4-8 hours to fully strain.

B.  Chill & Strain your yogurt at the same time, for at least 4 hours.  Slowly pour your warm yogurt into your lined strainer, cover and put into the fridge. You can find LOTS of straining options here!
If your yogurt is too thick, you can whisk some whey back in. Use a hand whisk, as an electric blender or immersion blender will thin out your yogurt too much.

6. Flavor your yogurt. You may want to save some of your yogurt, unflavored, to use as starters for your next batch of yogurt - Check here to find out how!

You can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 2-4 tablespoons of sugar, warmed honey, or choice of sweetener. You can find LOTS of flavoring options here!

Yield and serving size will depend on if you strain your yogurt or not. See further down the post for the yield once strained fully.

To store your yogurt, put yogurt into a glass or plastic container with a well-fitting lid. You can put the yogurt into smaller containers for individual servings, if desired.

Your yogurt will keep well, covered, in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
Enjoy your Cold Start™yogurt!

Here is a video of how to toggle between the 3 yogurt settings and find the NORMAL setting you want for yogurt. Do not incubate your yogurt on the LESS setting; it is too low to culture your yogurt properly.

This short 1 minute video will show you how to get to the normal yogurt setting for the Duo. You need to make sure your display shows NORMAL and YOGURT

If it says LESS, the temp will be too low and you will have thin yogurt. 

Here are the steps to find the NORMAL yogurt setting.


Turn dial to YOGURT
Press to select
Press the dial again to set TIME (5-24 hours, depending on how tart you like your yogurt)
Press the dial to confirm
Turn dial to TEMP (LOW, MED, HIGH, Custom)
Select  MEDIUM (107°F) or CUSTOM (you can choose between 100°F-110°F)

Press dial to confirm
Press the START button.
Incubation will start.
When cycle has ended, the display will show YOGT.

Press +/- to set incubation time
When finished, the IP will beep and display YOGT

I have been making dairy yogurt for a long time, so this method intrigued me. Let's take a look at the method and answer some of the many questions about it.

What is the Cold Start™ method?
What is Fairlife milk?
Myths about Fairlife milk?
Can I use Low Fat or Chocolate Fairlife milk?
Where can I find Fairlife milk?
Can I use other ultra pasteurized milks
I can't find this milk in Canada - what can I use instead?
Why is milk heated to make yogurt?
Does it save any time?
Is it safe to make yogurt with this method?
How does it taste?
Does the texture change with this method?
How much does it cost to make yogurt with Fairlife milk?

What is the Cold Start™ Method?
Yogurt is typically heated to 160°-180°F using the "Boil" setting of the Instant Pot. This is called the Traditional Method, where the milk is heated/cooled/then starter is added/incubated. You can find my post here that demonstrates this method.  The milk is not 'boiled,' but scalded at this temperature. Reasons for heating your milk are listed further in that post.

I call it the Cold Start™ method, as you are putting cold ingredients (milk + starter) and letting the Instant Pot warm up your milk, automatically, to the perfect incubation temperature for your yogurt. No heating your milk, no cooling your milk, and no additional or special equipment is necessary. "No Boil" is not accurate to describe this method, as milk is not boiled to make yogurt, nor is it heated first to make yogurt.

What is Fairlife Milk?
 It is 100% dairy milk that has 50% less sugar, 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and is labeled as lactose free.  Fairlife milk  comes from Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. It is unique that is it ultra filtered, using a process that was inspired by water filteration. Water filtering removes impurities by using sieves, adsorption, ion exchanges and other processes.

It is filtered milk & lactose free. Fairlife doesn't divulge how their milk is filtered, but they do explain that once the individual components of water, butterfat, protein, vitamins/minerals, and lactose are filtered, the milk is put back together with a formula that results in the milk described above. Lactase, is added to the milk, which made me wonder why it was added, if the lactose is removed.

"Those who are lactose intolerant are not allergic to milk, or even to lactose. Instead, they lack the digestive enzyme needed to break down the lactose, or the sugar in milk.
"Lactose-free milks are the same as regular milk, except for the addition of lactase. This neutralizes the lactose and, therefore, eliminates the gastrointestinal trauma. Lactase does make milk taste sweeter. Also, to neutralize the lactase enzyme inactive, manufacturers ultra-pasteurize the milk, a move that extends the shelf life." - Karen Fernau, Food writer 
Here is another explanation of lactose free milk:
"It’s neither practical nor really possible to remove lactose from milk — not only would it be logistically difficult, it’s simply not necessary. Instead, manufacturers react the lactose chemically, altering its composition and converting it into molecules that your digestive system processes easily. To react lactose, manufacturers add small amounts of the enzyme lactase to milk, explains OrganicMeadow.com, a producer of lactose-free milk. The lactase splits lactose into its constituent components, which are two sugars called glucose and galactose." - How is Lactose Free Milk Made?

But wait...don't you need lactose to make yogurt?
There are two things at work when making yogurt with lactose free milk. First, the lactose free milk is treated with the lactase enzyme to break down the lactose into its component molecules, glucose and galactose, which make it easier for the bacteria to ferment. Otherwise, they do this conversion themselves, but the process is a bit slower.

Second, the ultra filtered milk is higher in protein, and the action of the bacterial fermentation creating lactic acid which then acts to coagulate the protein. More protein, easier coagulation. -Kathy Peschell

If you are lactose intolerant, this milk is a good choice for you! You can still use a dairy yogurt as your starter, as there is lactase added to lactose free milks, and this will help you digest any lactose that is found in your starter. If you want to use a dairy free yogurt as your starter, you can use a dairy free yogurt like SoDelicious yogurt or try Yogurmet, a freeze dried powdered starter.

Fairlife Whole Milk
Costco's Kirkland Whole Milk

Fairlife is not organic, which means that the cow must be certified organic, given organic feed, and the cow cannot be given any growth hormones or antibiotics. They do maintain that their milk abides by the highest standards when it comes to milk quality, their farming practices, dedication to animal care and comfort.  They do not use growth hormones. You can read more about their milk and farming practices here. 

Myths about Fairlife milks

MYTH: Fairlife Milk is made by Cocoa-Cola.
It is NOT manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company; it is the distribution partner for Fairlife milk.  Coca-Cola helps Fair Oaks farms distribute (deliver/market) the milk at the right price, with the right packaging and to the right destinations.

MYTH: Fairlife milk is not really milk.
Fairlife is 100% dairy milk. The only added ingredients are lactase enzymes, Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D3. Vitamins can come from animals, plants or be synthetic. These 'added' ingredients are in most dairy milks, including Costco's Kirkland brand milk. You can find lactase added to lactose free milk, such as Lactaid.

MYTH: Fairlife milk is not ultra pasteurized. It is only ultra filtered.
The definition of ultra pasteurization (also known as UHT-ultra high temp) is bringing the milk up to 280°F for a few seconds, and then chilling it rapidly. This process kills 99.9% of the bacteria in the milk, and when packaged in a sterile container, extends the shelf life of the milk to 6-9 months. However, once opened, the milk should be treated like any dairy milk, kept at 40°F or lower for 2 weeks or less.

When you read this statement on their website, it fits the very definition of an ultra pasteurized milk:

I contacted Fairlife, asked if their milk is ultra pasteurized, and their response confirms that Fairlife milks are ultra pasteurized:

Can I use Low Fat or Chocolate Fairlife Milk?

Yes, you can use Fairlife 2% or Fat Free milks for making yogurt with the Cold Start™ method.

Lower fat milks have a higher water content and may yield a more soft-set, pudding like yogurt,**  so you may want to strain your yogurt for a thicker consistency. You can add non fat instant milk powder to your low fat milks for a thicker yogurt.

It is not necessary to use a low fat yogurt starter with these milks - you only want the starter for the live cultures. You can find out more about How to Choose a Starter, here.

Fairlife has two different chocolate milks. 2% Chocolate Fairlife milk contains the following ingredients:
 Reduced Fat Ultra-filtered Milk, Sugar, Alkalized Cocoa, Lactase Enzyme, Dipotassium Phosphate, Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

Fairlife also has a SuperKids Chocolate milk with the following ingredients:

Ultra-filtered milk, cane sugar, alkalized cocoa, natural flavors, DHA omega-3 (algal oil), monk fruit extract, salt, carrageenan, lactase enzyme, vitamin E (tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3
The biggest difference between the two chocolate milks is that the SuperKids Chocolate milk does not contain Sucralose, instead, it uses cane sugar.

**Fairlife Chocolate milk, like any store bought chocolate milk, has too many additives (thickeners, sugars and other ingredients) that inhibit, or slow down the culturing process, making it take much longer than 8 hours to culture or "set" the yogurt. Most people using Fairlife Chocolate milk get a "pudding-like" texture, even with a 9 -10 hour culturing time. You will need at least a 10 hour culturing time, which can also make a tangy or tart yogurt. For most people, this combination of chocolate + tartness is not a pleasant taste. You can try using a mild yogurt starter for a more mild tasting final product. 

If you want a mild tasting chocolate yogurt, make a plain yogurt, by incubating it for less time and strain it. Add chocolate syrup, chocolate drink mix powder, or whey protein powder.

Where Can I find Fairlife Milk or Other Similar Milks?
What if I can't find it where I live?

Fairlife milk is only available in the United States. You can find a list of 74+ retail stores on the Fairlife website here.  

If you live in Canada, you can try Natrel lactose free milk, which is very similar to Fairlife in composition.  It comes in a 2 liter carton (8.45 cups), versus 52oz (6.5 cups) with Fairlife.
Natrel Lactose Free milk

Fairlife vs Natrel 3.25% Lactose free Milk

Kroger CARBmaster milk has a similar composition.
Kroger CARBmaster milk

HEB has a milk, MooTopia that is ultra pasteurized and similar to Fairlife milk.

"Flash Pastuerization," also known as "Gentle Pastuerization, means is the the milk is brought to a high temperature, then is flash frozen. This allows the bad bacteria (microbes) to be destroyed, but allows the milk to keep the good bacteria (enzymes) of the milk. 

Flash Pastuerized or Gentle Pastuerized milks that will work:
Can be found at Target, or use the Oberweis Store Locator search function

Strauss Family Creamery Milk - A Store locator search button is included at the top of the website.

Ultra Pasteurized or Powdered Milks work great!
When using Ultra Pasteurized milk, it will not be as thick as the filtered milks (Fairlife, CarbMaster, MooTopia or Natrel Lactose Free), but you can strain it to your desired consistency.

Not everyone has access to fresh milk, so dry, or powdered milks are perfect for the Cold Start™ method and you can make a concentrated milk by using half the amount of water that the recipe calls for.

Instant powdered milk dissolves readily in cold water, whereas regular dry powdered milk needs heat to dissolve the granules. Here are two examples of instant powdered milk that will work well.

You may live in another country where fresh milk is not available. You may see Ultra Pasteurized, Ultra High Temp, High Temp Short Time or Extended Shelf Life on the package. These milks can also work for the Cold Start™. 
Use the regular, not the iron fortified, for the best taste

Instant powdered milk dissolves well in cold liquid

Amanda Atchley, who lives in Japan, found this ESL milk. It took about 11 hours to set, which can be true of some milks. She also strained it for a thicker texture.

Why is milk heated to make yogurt?

When you make any kind of yogurt that uses a thermophilic culture (most often found in store bought yogurt and requires heat to activate), the milk is heated to at least 100°-110°F, either on the stove top or using a yogurt maker. This ensures that the thermophilic yogurt cultures will begin to actively work at the time they are added.

Milk can also be heated to 180°F which is the temp for denaturing, or changing the proteins in the milk for a firmer set yogurt. Fairlife, and other ultra pasteurized milks have already been heated to a very high temp, 280°F, which is explained a little further down. Why heat milk to 180°F if your milk has already been heated to 280°F?

The Instant Pot method uses a "boil" setting, which really doesn't 'boil' the milk, but it will heat a half gallon of milk within the 160°-180°F temp range. There is another yogurt setting for incubation, the normal setting, which heats the milk and maintains it at a constant 96°-109°F temp range for a specified set time.

Does the Cold Start™ method save any time?

Yes, it can. Heating 52 oz of cold milk to 110° with the IP boil setting only takes about 15 min. If you accidentally heat it higher, you would need to let it cool or set it in an ice water bath, which can add up to another 5 minutes. It does save the step of taking the temp of the cooled milk and straining.

When heating 64 oz (8 cups) of regular pasteurized milk to 180°, it takes 20-25 min, and then 5 minutes to cool in an ice water bath. That's 30 minutes total.

Cold Start™ doesn't take any prep time, but it does take 30-50 minutes to get to the incubation temp zone, which you need to consider when calculating your incubation time.

Is it safe to make yogurt with this method?

First, let's talk about what makes food unsafe. The Unsafe Food Zone is the temp range determined by the USDA:

The Unsafe Food Zone
The unsafe food zone is any food that is left out in the temp range of 40°F-140°F for 2 hours or more. It is perfectly fine for any milk to be in the unsafe food zone as long as the yogurt starter is actively working in the milk. Once the yogurt starter is active (in the 100°-110° range), it begins to produce acidic whey, which continues to ferment and preserve your milk in this temp range. Milk without an active yogurt bacteria present should not be left out at room temperature for 2 hours or more.

UP/UHT (ultra pasteurized/ultra high temp) milk already has 99.9% of the bacteria killed during processing, meaning there is little risk, if any, of any pathogenic (bad) bacteria multiplying during the warming up to the incubation zone, as long as it is less than 2 hours. Once you open UP/UHT (ultra pasteurized/ultra high temp) milks, it needs to be treated like dairy milk. Even though UP/UHT milks are shelf stable in their sterile packaging for 6+ months, once opened, their fridge shelf life is 1-2 weeks and should not be left open at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

You should not try the Cold Start™ method with raw or regular pasteurized milk. See below.

*If you are undecided about the safety of using the Cold Start™ method, you can always warm up your yogurt to 100°-110°F and add your starter. 

Can I use the Cold Start™ method with regular pasteurized milk?
I would not recommend using the Cold Start™ method with regular pasteurized milk. Even though the milk is heated to 160°F for pasteurization, there are still natural bacteria present in the milk. This bacteria can grow/multiply during the 30-40 minutes and can compete with the natural bacteria in the yogurt starter. This competition of bacterial strains may result in either a thin, runny yogurt, lumpy, bitter, stringy or ropey yogurt. You can see the results of what happened with raw milk:

Raw milk used with the Cold Start™ method

For raw and pasteurized milk,  you can find this simple method here for thick, Greek style yogurt.

You can increase the protein/fat content of your dairy milk by adding dry milk powder, heavy cream or half & half milk for a thicker set yogurt. You can also add gelatin to your yogurt, which helps set your yogurt once refrigerated and requires no straining.

Can I use this method with another Ultra Pasteurized milk?
For the most part, yes. Ultra pasteurized milks are hit and miss when making yogurt. I'm seeing more successes than failures. Sometimes the high heat process damages the proteins in the milk to the point that it won't set. Some UP milks take longer to incubate, up to 10 hours or more. Milks that you can try for the Cold Start™method are: Organic milks, Soy milk, canned milks (evaporated or sweetened condensed), heavy cream, half & half, powdered milk (mixed with filtered water), any ultra pasteurized or ultra high temp milks.

You will need to keep in mind that if it does work, it will not be as thick as the Fairlife whole milk yogurt right after incubation. This is because Fairlife milk has added protein. Higher fat and more protein is what makes whole milk yogurt thicker than 1% milk yogurt. If you want a thicker yogurt with another brand of UP milk (not ultra filtered), you will need to strain it, add dry milk powder, heavy cream or half & half. 

How do I flavor the yogurt and when?
If you want a vanilla yogurt, you can add your vanilla extract when your yogurt has chilled and strained. It is believed that the alcohol from the extract can interfere with the culturing process, but you can add vanilla bean paste or scrape a 2"vanilla bean into your milk before starting. If you are straining your yogurt, any flavor or sweetener can go out with the whey.

Sweetener: You can use any sweetener of your choice after your yogurt has chilled and strained. Granulate sugar, powder sugar, maple syrup, or any alternative sweetener can be used. Honey mixes in better if it is warmed first.  If you add sugars to your milk prior to heating, it can inhibit, or slow down the culturing process, adding time to your yogurt to properly set. I prefer to add sweetener after my yogurt has finished.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: You can add a small can of sweetened condensed milk to your Fairlife milk prior to heating. Make sure it is mixed in well and plan to add time if necessary to allow your yogurt to gel, or set. This makes a creamy, slightly sweet vanilla yogurt.

Can I use the Cold Start™ method with the Instant Pot Lux model or other model that does not have a yogurt setting? 
No, you will not be able to use the Cold Start™ method, as you need a yogurt setting to be able to bring the temp to 100°-110° This is the workaround method for making yogurt using the IP Lux, which requires heating your milk first to at least 100°-110°F and then adding your starter. The key to making yogurt work in a LUX , or pressure cooker without a yogurt setting, or crockpot, is to keep the pot in the incubation temp zone for 8 hours, which can be a challenge. Wrap the warm pot in large towels and keep it in your oven with the oven light on.

Can I mix the milk & starter together and pour them into individual jars first?
If you are not straining your yogurt and like the consistency, you can try it. Fairlife and other filtered milks will make a yogurt that has the thickness between Greek and traditional yogurts. Using 8 oz, regular mouth glass canning jars and the plastic lids that come with them seem to work better than using 2 layers of shorter jars. When 2 layers of jars are used, the bottom jars will set while the top layer is still liquid milk. Glass also retains heat and is slower to heat the milk inside the jars, so it may take longer than the 6-8 hours for the yogurt to set - up to 10 hours. You do not need to set the jars on the trivet/metal rack. You can add a couple of inches of water, which seem to help incubate the yogurt, but it not required.

How does Fairlife yogurt taste?
At first, our family thought the yogurt tasted fine. It was creamy, thick, mild, with very little tang. My oldest said that it tasted "watery" or "bland." Many readers that have tried Fairlife mention that it has a "very mild taste," even when incubated for times longer than 8 hours. If you want a tangy Fairlife yogurt, try a starter that is tangy, ie. Greek Gods or Siggis.

When compared to our Costco 2% yogurt, there was a marked difference. The Costco 2% yogurt had "depth, body and flavor."

We enjoyed the Fairlife whole milk yogurt, as it makes a very mild tasting yogurt. If given a choice, we would use the regular pasteurized Costco 2% milk yogurt; not just for the price, but for the taste as well and use the traditional method of making yogurt.

When Fairlife milk is on sale, we definitely buy it for its long shelf life and ease of using it to make yogurt. The Cold Start™ is great for its simplicity and if you are lactose intolerant, making yogurt with Fairlife milk is a great option.

Does the texture change with this method?

No. If you use whole milk, it will taste creamier. You can use 2% or skim, and have it strained nice and thick, but the texture may not be as creamy.

 *The yogurt stuck on the bottom of the pot does have a gritty or grainy texture. Take a look at the photo, below, taken right after incubation and before straining in the fridge. Avoid scraping this into your yogurt. This may be difficult to avoid if you chill your yogurt while in the pot prior to straining. Try slowly pouring your yogurt immediately into another bowl or your lined strainer and chill in the fridge. Don't scrape the yogurt off the bottom.

The yogurt stuck to the bottom of the pot had a grainy, gritty texture.

Here's my experiment!

110° vs Cold Start™ Experiment
I made two separate batches of Fairlife milk yogurt.

Batch #1: Heat to 110°
Milk Temp: 43°
Heated the milk on the boil cycle for 10 min.
The temp was 149°F, ice water bath to 110°.
Stirred in 1 Tablespoon of Walmart GV Light Greek yogurt
8 hours on the yogurt normal setting.
15 min prep.

Batch #2: - Cold Start™
Milk Temp: 44°F
stirred in 1 Tablespoon of Walmart GV Light Greek yogurt
8 hours on the yogurt normal setting.
2 min prep.

Incubation Time to Temperature - 100°-110° optimal incubation zone
Used a Thermapen digital thermometer to accurately test temperature in 3 different spots, not touching the bottom of the pot.
Time elapsed when temperature was measured in fahrenheit.

Batch A continued to increase in temp from 110° till it leveled off to a stable 107° temp at 50 minutes into incubation.
Batch B took 30 minutes to reach the optimal incubation zone for thermophilic yogurt to begin activation and begin fermenting the milk to make yogurt.

How long will it take for 2 cartons of Fairlife milk to reach incubation temp?
I tested 13 cups of 40°F water to see how long it would take for 2 bottles of Fairlife milk to come to temp in the IP Duo.
It took 23 minutes to reach 99°F
40 minutes to reach 107°, where it stayed there for the next 2 hours.

I was very surprised to see that 6.5 cups of 44°F Fairlife only took 40 min to reach 105°F and 13 cups of 40° water took 40 min to reach 107°F!

Let's take a peek!

Traditional method yogurt is typically set at the 5th-6th hour marks, so I checked the yogurt 5 hours later. The video above shows Batch (A)  at 5:15 and Batch (B) at 5:30. You can see a significant difference in firmness. You can also see Batch (A) has bubbles on the surface (from whisking to cool the milk and add the starter), whereas Batch (B) has a smooth, glossy surface.

Cold Start™Fairlife milk yogurt with the Eurocuisine strainer after 8 hours of straining. Using the OXO Good Grips digital scale. 

Strain or No Strain?
Straining your yogurt will give you a thicker, Greek style yogurt. The longer you strain your yogurt, the thicker it will be. Straining is a personal preference. Fairlife milk, when it is not strained, will give you a consistency somewhere between Greek and Traditional (thinner) yogurt. (You can find LOTS of straining options on this post!) I like to use either coffee filters over a mesh strainer, or the Eurocuisine strainer.

See how thick and creamy this yogurt looks while pouring warm into the Eurocuisine strainer!

Fairlife milk has 50% more protein than regular dairy milk. The higher the fat and protein content, the thicker your yogurt will be. Also, if milk is heated to 180°, your yogurt will be more firm. This explains why Fairlife milk looks very set after incubation.

This video shows chilled Fairlife milk yogurt (not strained). It is very thick, but once stirred, it will thin to a consistency between Greek and traditional style yogurt.
Unstrained, chilled Fairlife Yogurt

The video below shows the 3 finished Fairlife milk yogurts.
On the far right, chilled unstrained Cold Start™ yogurt, the middle, Cold Start™ yogurt strained with the Eurocuisine strainer, and on the far left, Heat to 110° yogurt strained with coffee filters. Both yogurts were strained overnight, for 8 hours.
Strained Fairlife Yogurt

Yield - 

Strained in the fridge for 8 hours right after incubation

Summary: Coffee filters were much better at extracting more whey, resulting in a very thick yogurt. EuroCuisine strainer yogurt is not as thick, but acceptable; it kept about 1/2 cup whey into the yogurt. Unstrained yogurt = about 50 oz (there was some yogurt stuck to the bottom, which I chose not to scrape out as it was grainy in texture).

Cost Comparison 
Fairlife Milk = $2.98 + 1 Tablespoon of WM Greek Yogurt = .04 cents 
*Does not include cost of sugar or vanilla extract.

The most expensive yogurt per oz/serving is the Fairlife yogurt that was strained very thick, using coffee filters. It had a creamy texture, and a very mild taste. The coffee filters also produced the clearest whey.

Next was the Cold Start™Fairlife unstrained yogurt, producing a creamy texture with a moderately thick consistency, between Greek and traditional style thickness. It had a very mild taste. When compared to the 2% milk yogurt, it seemed to lack some of the depth of the traditional yogurt in taste, which is really hard to describe. If I had not compared the two yogurts, I wouldn't have noticed a difference.

The least expensive option is the regular pasteurized Costco 2% milk yogurt, using the Traditional Method,  strained with the EuroCuisine strainer, that made a reasonably thick yogurt, which is worth the cost, and 30 minutes waiting for your milk to heat and cool down. Side by side, it also won the taste test over Fairlife milk yogurt, having a slightly better taste, with depth, and flavor.

If you are lactose intolerant, your best option is to use Fairlife milk and make your yogurt, as doing this will still be less expensive than purchasing a specialty yogurt. You can use dairy milk to make a lactose free yogurt by incubating it for 15-24 hours, in which all the lactose is consumed, leaving a very tart, tangy yogurt. Using Fairlife can give you a milder yogurt that is lactose free.

Using the Cold Start™ method with Fairlife milk is a good option for those who don't want to fuss with heating/cooling/temp taking and straining their yogurt. Many moms love the fact that Fairlife milk is good for their kids as it is lower in sugar, has more protein and more calcium, a Win/Win for busy moms!

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