Electric yogurt makers? Help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh loves yogurt and eats a lot of it. But, he's concerned about all those plastic containers and the costs associated with them. He likes variety, and buys several different flavors at a time.

So, I was thinking about buying him an electric yogurt maker. There are several listed on Amazon. One, the Donvier makes 8 individual cups at a time (which would be nice for dh to take each day to work) that sounds good.

I know you can make it without a special machine, but it sounds like it would be more convenient (for both of us!) to have an automatic maker.

I like knowing there are no more little plastic cups in the landfill, cutting-out the middle men in the stores, eliminating the transportation costs involved, and I love the idea of knowing we are using organic milk/cream and our own organic fruits. With fresh fruit season around the corner (our orchard is in various stages of blooms, and huckleberries are to be found in August!), it's lovely to think we could pick and create so easily!

I have a couple of questions:

Can you make yogurt with only whole milk or cream? We don't do non- or low-fat milk, and even I like the whole milk Greek-style yogurt, available at Safeway (but, at $2.95 for one cup, is excessively priced!). Maybe I would start eating the stuff if it was richer-tasting!

Must you always have to bring the milk to a boil before putting it into a machine? I know it's not a big deal, just wondering!

Is there a yogurt cookbook anyone would recommend, or is this a pretty basic product, just varying the fruit ingredients?

Will I need to purchase a lot of yogurt starter, or can you make a starter (like with sourdough)?

So, any suggestions as to brands?

Cost isn't a factor.

Thanks, in advance!
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#2 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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My mom used to make our yogourt when I was young and I have a 2L yogourt maker that I found used a few years ago... we love it...

Yes, you can use whole milk and it even works best with whole milk...I buy Organic 3.8%.... if you use a lighter fat content then you will get a runny yogourt (some will add gelatin to low fat milk but that grosses me out)..

and yes you need to boil the milk before, or really bring it to 180.

You can either use starter or use a bit of yogourt (with live bacteria) as a starter.

As for recipes... I don't know of any... I do stain my yoguort sometimes and make yogourt cheese or sometimes just for a little while to make a thicker yogourt for Tzatziki... I always make plain yogourt and we add fruit or maple syrup in our bowls.

I do like the idea of having a multi container maker but I also like having only one container to clean and because we are 4 people in the family that eat yogourt it would mean that we would only have 2 servings each instead of the 3-4 servings each that we get with the big container... I already make most of our food from scratch so it would be a hassle to have to make it more often...

 
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#3 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 01:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
Can you make yogurt with only whole milk or cream? We don't do non- or low-fat milk, and even I like the whole milk Greek-style yogurt, available at Safeway (but, at $2.95 for one cup, is excessively priced!). Maybe I would start eating the stuff if it was richer-tasting!
I haven't tried using cream. We pretty much use non-homogenized whole milk. It is so good! I ma have to try using some extra cream, just for fun.

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Must you always have to bring the milk to a boil before putting it into a machine? I know it's not a big deal, just wondering!
I always bring the milk to a boil because I find that if I do not the yogurt is thinner and runnier. I have a pretty easy process for doing this. I bring my milk to a boil in a saucepan, then put it in a sink of cold water. I have an "instant read" thermometer that I can set to beep when the temperature reaches 115 degrees. Then the milk is ready to add starter and place in the yogurt maker.

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Is there a yogurt cookbook anyone would recommend, or is this a pretty basic product, just varying the fruit ingredients?
I really don't think you need a cookbook. When you incubate the yogurt it needs to be plain: just milk and starter. After it is all done is when you add ingredients. Just use your imagination and add anything that sounds good.

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Will I need to purchase a lot of yogurt starter, or can you make a starter (like with sourdough)?
There are various kinds of yogurt starter. Some you can buy are self perpetuating, and you can use the over and over and over, saving a bit from each batch to make the next. Some starters you can buy (powdered or a container of plain yogurt) are only supposed to last a few times before they start to get more and more tart. I usually get a small cup of Brown Cow plain yogurt, save a bit from each batch until I don't like the flavor, and then get another one. I would love to buy one of the "forever" starters online, but the shipping is expensive (over $5 usually) in addition to the $12 starter, and I am afraid I would go on vacation or quit making yogurt for a few months and waste all that money. Not good! If I could find someone local that would share the starter I would certainly go with the Greek yogurt starter.

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So, any suggestions as to brands?
I LOVE my Salton quart-sized yogurt maker.
http://www.amazon.com/Salton-YM9-1-Q...1455051&sr=8-1
You mentioned getting a maker with the little cups. I really wouldn't get that kind of yogurt maker! My first yogurt maker used the little cups to incubate in. I thought it would be convienent for single servings, to take to work and class.
It was such a pain in the butt! They were annoying to clean, the cups didn't hold enough yogurt, I couldn't make enough yogurt at once, and I found that it was tricky to add the flavoring.
I got the Salton quart sized yogurt maker because I wanted to make a bunch at once. Then I can add the finished yogurt and flavoring to half-pint mason jars for taking to work and such.

I also like the Salton because you can incubate in glass. You can throw out the plastic tub it comes with and use a quart sized glass mason jar instead. It fits perfectly! None of the other bulk yogurt makers can be used with glass to my knowledge: they all have plastic incubation tubs. Yuck.
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#4 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 04:55 PM
 
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We once had one of those electric yogurt machines but it got donated last time we moved cross-country.

My stay-at-home dad (yes, I had one back in the 1980s) incubates his yogurt in a glass jar in the oven. He would turn on the oven just for a minute to keep it around 115. I do not possess that kind of intuition about my oven yet.

Also, if you already have a dehydrator, you can make it in there.

I use any kind of milk, but I always heat it to 180 degrees (I have a candy thermometer to test it), and it doesn't boil. When I forget and boil it, it gets "skin" and sticks to the bottom of the pot. Then I let it cool back down to 115, mix in 2 TBSP of yogurt per 1/2 gallon milk (or so), and pour it into the pyrex bowl and stick it in the dehydrator at 115 for 12 hours. We have one of those excalibur dehydrators with the trays that slide in. I just remove the trays when I make yogurt. *Important, let the yogurt come up to room temperature before mixing it in.

Tip: If you like really thick Greek style yogurt, you can strain it after you make it. I line a strainer with a thin towel and pour the yogurt through, the liquid drips through, and you can whip what is left with sugar or flavoring.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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My SIL makes yogurt in a lidded glass tub with the oven at a low temperature - no yogurt machine required! There should be instructions *somewhere* on the web.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-04-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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The higher the fat content of the milk, the thicker the end product. Half and half or heavy cream turn out a lovely product.

You don't have to heat it up first, in fact I never do. If the milk is already pasteurized, then it's already been heated. If it's raw, then you don't want to heat it.

Also, letting it ferment for longer will also give you a thicker product - I go for 24 hours.

You don't need a cookbook.

As for a starter, just buy a small cup of plain yogurt with live cultures and use that. Save a bit of the first batch to make the next batch, and so on. So long as you make yogurt regularly, you can keep it going indefinitely.

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#7 of 12 Old 05-05-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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I make my yogurt with raw whole milk. I only heat it to 110-115 degrees so that it remains raw. I ferment my yogurt in a cooler (the kind that you take on a picnic). I place my glass jars of yogurt in the cooler and then pour in 120degree water to the bottom of the jars' lids. My yogurt is a little bit runny but I add granola and fruit so it doesn't bother me. If you are interested and want a few more details, feel free to PM me.

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#8 of 12 Old 05-05-2009, 11:18 PM
 
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Here's something to check out. I'm going to start making yogurt without a machine and it has lots of tips. Also has yummy recipes. Good luck!

http://www.chetday.com/howtomakeyogurt.htm
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#9 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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alton brown did a yogurt episode, and he used a heating pad.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/good-eats...bad/index.html

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#10 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 12:28 PM
 
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My low-tech, low-energy yoghurt maker (patent pending ) - glass jar, coolbox, hot water bottle, old sleeping bag.....you can work out the rest. Makes perfect yoghurt everytime. The fact that you can buy something that uses (fossil fuel generated) electricity, that time and latent heat will do instead is just symptomatic of a culture that's intent on frying it's own a$$ needlessly.

For greek-style yoghurt bring your milk to the boil, reduce to low-simmer and reduce in volume by 1/3 to 1/2, then add some cream before letting it cool to baby bath temperature, then add your starter and put in the warm place you
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#11 of 12 Old 05-06-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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I'd love it if you shared a step by step process on how you make it! I would definitely give it a try.
Shellie


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My low-tech, low-energy yoghurt maker (patent pending ) - glass jar, coolbox, hot water bottle, old sleeping bag.....you can work out the rest. Makes perfect yoghurt everytime. The fact that you can buy something that uses (fossil fuel generated) electricity, that time and latent heat will do instead is just symptomatic of a culture that's intent on frying it's own a$$ needlessly.

For greek-style yoghurt bring your milk to the boil, reduce to low-simmer and reduce in volume by 1/3 to 1/2, then add some cream before letting it cool to baby bath temperature, then add your starter and put in the warm place you
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#12 of 12 Old 05-07-2009, 08:54 AM
 
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I used those things because it's what I had lying around, the principle is just to keep the yoghurt super-insulated so that it retains the heat long enough for the bacteria to grow.

In my case I have quite a large cool box (if you don't have one then perhaps any box lined with polystyrene - for instance left over packaging), one that will take a whole sleeping bag stuffed inside! So I half stuff the sleeping bag (which could equally be substituted with a sheepskin, polystyrene off-cuts etc) in the coolbox, put the hot water bottle in next, then put the jar of yoghurt mix on top and then stuff in the remainder of the sleeping bag and pop the lid on, usually do it overnight. I also use this method for slow cooking when there isn't enough sun for the solar oven and the woodburner isn't lit.
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