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Yogurt maker(read: Greek). Good investment?

zatoichison Dec 3, 2008 10:33 AM

Hi guys. Quick question. I am soon to move in with my girlfriend and our kitchen and budget shall marry (ahead of us) but the point is, we are adicts to greek yogurt. Particularly FAGE Greek Total style. Too much of our grocery budget is eaten by tubs of this stuff.

Now, if I buy a machine can I recreate this tast/texture? Is it a solid investment? Will I save money? I tried to reach out to "chicgail " because she said her husband had attempted this but there is no e-mail on chowhound. Apparetly, I need a "starter" for this and I thought using the same style/brand would work right?

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  1. alanbarnes Dec 3, 2008 11:00 AM

    Making yogurt is stupid easy. I'll never understand the concept of a yogurt machine; all you need is a saucepan and a thermometer. And your "starter" is already in the fridge in that carton with the "Fage" label. Here's what I do for one quart:

    Put a scant quart of milk in a saucepan and heat to 170F, then allow to cool to 120F. Whisk in a tablespoon or two of active-culture yogurt. Cover and let stand in a warm (~110F) place for 12 hours or so. Voila, yogurt. If you want Greek-style, strain it through a tea towel laid in a colander or a strainer.

    Edited to add: Yes, you'll save a ton of money.

    4 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes
      scubadoo97 Dec 4, 2008 06:06 PM

      and you will save cabinet space as well. Who needs more uni-task appliances.

      1. re: alanbarnes
        j
        Jack_ Dec 4, 2008 06:35 PM

        My problem would be finding the ~110 degree place to set it for 12 hours

        1. re: Jack_
          alanbarnes Dec 4, 2008 07:46 PM

          If you have a pilot light, the back of the stove works. If not, just stick it in the oven and turn the burner on for a minute or two every couple of hours. Other options include sitting on top of a radiator, water heater, or electric heating pad, or in a cooler with a warm brick. Another alternative is just to put the warm milk into a wide-mouthed thermos; it will stay warm enough long enough.

          1. re: Jack_
            scubadoo97 Dec 7, 2008 05:04 AM

            In my electric ovens, just turning on the light produces a fair amount of heat and this is where I park my yogurt

        2. Sam Fujisaka Dec 3, 2008 12:28 PM

          I make five liters of yogurt at a time as thick as greek, but very inexpensively using three liters of whole milk, a packet of whole milk powder, bit of water, starter (any plain yogurt to start with followed by about half a liter of the ccurrent batch), bit of brown sugar (for the culture to feed on), and plenty of time sitting in a microwave kept warm with periodic heating.Thickness comes from a high concentration of milk, the bit of sugar, and long time in the MW. Delicious, tart. And no boliling or pre-heating, just whisking and then bringing up and keeping the mix at a bit above body temp.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
            alanbarnes Dec 3, 2008 12:50 PM

            Sam, your'e right about pre-heating. Assuming the OP is using pasteurized milk, an additional round of pasteurization is not necessary. On the other hand, it does guard against the off chance that wild bacteria and yeast might colonize the yogurt and make off flavors.

            Per your suggestion I tried using some dry milk to thicken things up, but wasn't happy with the flavor. The yogurt ended up having that powdered-milk smell I detested as a kid. Any thoughts on whether that's avoidable?

            1. re: alanbarnes
              Sam Fujisaka Dec 3, 2008 01:12 PM

              Really good initial whisk work is needed. If you see any undissolved milk, keep going. I tried a stick blender with teh hypoothesis that it would be more thorough - but the large hand whisk works best. Also I have everything in a clean plastc bowl wth sloping sides that conform a bit to the whisk shape. Think it helps.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                zatoichison Dec 3, 2008 04:31 PM

                I found something great today. No machine. Yogurt by way of crock pot. I haven't tried this but it sounds like the way to go, especially considering I like my food in bulk. The problem is setting up a large scale cheesecloth strainer. I'd like to rig something I can re-use again and again.

                http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/...

                1. re: zatoichison
                  v
                  Val Dec 3, 2008 04:39 PM

                  yep, I also saw this on her blog...am dying to try it out!!!!

                  1. re: Val
                    e
                    etoiles Dec 6, 2008 08:13 PM

                    I have made this multiple times. It turns out wonderfully! Not as thick as greek yogurt but I'm sure if you would strain it in a cheesecloth overnight that would do the trick. So much cheaper than regular yogurt too!

                  2. re: zatoichison
                    k
                    Karen_Schaffer Dec 6, 2008 10:59 PM

                    This sounds cool, though I'd be inclined to do what another poster said, to heat the milk in a pan, then transfer to the warm crockpot, rather than spending that initial time warming the milk.

                    Here's what you need for reusable straining: a jelly bag.
                    http://www.canningpantry.com/jellystr...

                    I've used mine stretched over a sieve rather than the stand, so I could put the bowl & sieve into the refrigerator to drain. Much better than using and throwing away cheesecloth each time.

            2. JungMann Dec 4, 2008 06:53 AM

              If the Greeks, Arabs, Indians inter alia have been able to make yogurt without the help of overpriced doo-dads for hundreds of years, I think you can easily make your own thick yogurt without the machine. Sam's microwave version sounds interesting, though the way I know is to keep the pot of cultured milk warm in the oven.

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