Yogurt maker recommendations?
We go through so much plain yogurt every week that I've decided it would be better to make my own at home. Unfortunately, I'm not skilled enough to do it without a yogurt maker, so I've been looking to buy one. There are so many, though, and I'm not sure which is the best.
My main concern is that I want to make a lot, so a maker that has only 6-8 small glass jars won't work well for me -- I'd prefer a machine where I can just make a big bowl of yogurt... but I haven't been able to find any at my local stores. I've seen one called a "Eurocuisine" but even with that, there seem to be many makes/styles. Any recommendations?
** Apologies if this has already been covered -- I searched in past threads, but the last ones I found were a few years old, and I figured perhaps newer models of makers have come out since then. Thanks!
I make yogurt on a weekly basis by heating a 1 quart Pyrex glass measuring cup with milk du jour (whole, 2%, 1%) in my microwave til it reaches 180° (7-8 minutes in my 1110 watt MW, I temp it at around the 7 minute mark) let it cool down to 110-115°, temper in (1 cup milk from the quart + 1/4 cup yogurt, whisked together gently) active cultures yogurt, mostly Stoneyfield, cover the milk with a small towel, pop it into a well preheated 170° (lowest setting) oven, wrapped in a folded bath towel, shut the oven off, set the timer for three hours. At that time I reheat the oven to 170° for 10 minutes, shut the oven off, set the timer for 3 hours, as which time the yogurt is done. Sometimes I let it go for another hour in the oven, without further heating. I don't open the oven door during this process, or try not too. I chill the yogurt thoroughly and pack it into a 1 quart yogurt container. If I want Greek style, I drain the yogurt through cheesecloth overnight, in the frig. I don't jiggle or stir the yogurt while it's culturing.
I usually start the yogurt process in the early evening, so by bedtime the yogurt's in the frig chilling.
I seriously considered buying a yogurt maker until I tried this method (found on web) and it works so consistently, week after week, that the yogurt maker has come off my wish list.
I was having the same problem--I go through at least a quart of organic a week, so those small portion makers just weren't going to work for me.
You don't need any particular skill to make it yourself with no special equipment. It's just heating the milk, cooling to 110F, inoculating and then incubating. There are lots of sites with instructions on the net. I used to incubate in my oven with the light on, which just happened to maintain the perfect temp if I put a pie plate over the bulb. I would at least try the manual method--it's not hard, just a bit of messing around.
Anyway, to answer your question, the only "makers" I ever found that did a larger amount at a time were basically just giant styrofoam vessels which only help in the incubate phase--you still have to heat and cool yourself. Lame.
My guy is an engineer and I got him to make me an Arduino controller/temperature probe that I use with my crock pot. Some basic instructions for one are here:
And because he is an overachiever, he tidied the whole thing up into a plastic box with a nifty display that tells me the stage of the process, elapsed time, and time till completion, plus it beeps when I need to inoculate.
Now I just put the milk in a jar in the crock pot water bath and just wait for it to tell me when to innoculate--no other effort required on my part and no screwing around with pots of scalding milk. Kisses for Boy!
I have the Salton Yogurt maker that makes one quart. A google search tells me that it's discontinued, but I did find one place that says they still have them in stock. It might be worth a try if you are interested.
One nice thing is that the Fage quart size containers fit perfectly in this maker so I make several at once over the course of a couple of days.
+1 on this model. I use it regularly when the weather gets colder, as i keep my home rather cool. This way I'm not tying up the oven. In the summer, I just put everything into a bowl (glass, plastic, whatever), cover, and place in the garage (temps are warm enough in the summer that the yogurt sets up nicely after about 8 or so hours).