Author: Maurice Savaryego, M.Sc.Eng. (Learn More)
Comparing Yogurt Makers
Container Sizes: Some yogurt maker come with one or two quart containers which are good if you want make large quantities. Other models come with a number of small jars (usually about 6 or 8) made of glass or BPA-free plastic that are convenient for making smaller portions to be used on different days of the week. While the larger containers are easier to clean, the small jars allow you to better plan the consumption of your yogurt and they are specially convenient for snacks or lunchboxes. Another advantage of the small jars is to allow for different flavors to be made simultaneously, so that everyone in the family can have his or her favorite!
Auto-Shutoff Feature: The auto-shutoff feature is important as it stops the "cooking" process when the yogurt is ready, and you are not around to stop the unit. Note that, yogurt should be refrigerated as soon as it is ready so that it does not get acidic.
Built-in Timer: Yogurt takes several hours to make. This may varies from 5 to 12 hours depending the type of the bacterial culture (i.e. the starter) and the size of containers used. Even though many models are equipped with automatic shut-off when the yogurt is done, some people may like to manually adjust the "cooking" time so that different consistencies and textures are obtained. A built-in timer makes this possible and is available on many models.
Built-in Thermometer-Stirrer: The ideal temperature for making yogurt is above 100°F (37.7°C) and ideally around 110°F (43°C). If the temperature drops below 100°F results will not be satisfactory. A built-in thermometer will make sure that the required temperature is kept throughout the "cooking" process. In some models, these thermometers are also used as stirrers which is a convenient feature to have. Note that this feature is transparent in most models with no explicit thermometer as the unit internally keeps the yogurt at the required temperature.
There are all kinds of yogurt making products on the market, but as long as you are provided with the features described above, there is no need to pay over a hundred dollars to get an expensive unit to make yogurt at home. The products reviewed below are all reasonably priced and provide you with all the features you need.
When you compare the automatic yogurt makers Euro Cuisine YM100 and Aroma AYM-606 described above, it is quite clear that they will both produce worry free, no-guesswork, excellent quality yogurt when instructions are properly followed. However, note the following:
- If you prefer using glass jars rather than plastic, you should choose the Euro Cuisine YM100.
- One other advantage of Euro Cuisine YM100 is that you could also use a larger lidded container which can be placed into the unit, instead of the little jars. This way, you could make larger quantities of yogurt rather than having always to make yogurt in small jars.
The selected Yogurt Makers can be obtained below on Amazon:
Please click the Amazon US link image below for the yogurt maker of your choice to see exact price information or to purchase.
Please Note: For non-US customers, when you click the links below, you will be provided with the Amazon links for your country (such as Canada or UK), if the product is available in your country.
Euro Cuisine YM-100
Appendix: Yogurt Making Basics
Step 1: Heat milk slowly to about 180°F (82°C) without boiling (this "sterilizes" bad bacteria in milk);
Step 2: Cool the milk to about 110°F (43°C);
Step 3: Take a cup of milk and mix it with the source of bacterial culture (such as a small quantity of plain yogurt) and incorporate it into the rest of the milk;
Step 4: Let the milk alone (without stirring) for several hours at a constant temperature of 110°F (43°C) until the yogurt sets;
Step 5: Refrigerate the obtained yogurt. If you do not refrigerate, the yogurt will turn acidic.
These seem like simple steps, but if the temperature related requirements are not properly executed you would not obtain good results. When you compare yogurt makers, you find out that these requirements are best achieved using an electric yogurt maker. When you use an electric yogurt maker, all you have to worry about is mixing the milk with the bacterial culture, pouring it into containers that come with the yogurt maker, turning on the unit, and letting the yogurt maker do its job!
Even though there are other traditional and non-electric ways to make yogurt, they take a lot of time to master until good results are obtained, and they could get messy as well as tricky in terms of satisfying the temperature requirements of the yogurt making process. The fastest and easiest way to produce with consistency delicious yogurt, without the preservatives and other additives, is by using an electric yogurt maker.
Note that the taste of the yogurt produced will depend on various factors such as the types of milk and bacterial culture used, the amount of time that the yogurt is left to set, and the choice of flavoring added, if any.
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