If you love yogurt, you might want to try making your own at home. It’s actually very easy, and you can control the ingredients and the flavors. The only required ingredients are milk and a yogurt starter. Dried starters are available in packets, or you can use a plain commercial yogurt as a starter, as long as it has active cultures. When making yogurt, some instructions suggest mixing the starter and cold milk, while others suggest heating the milk first to a higher temperature, then letting... it cool to fermenting temperature before adding the yogurt and allowing it to ferment. Make sure you follow the instructions for your starter and for your particular machine.
When making yogurt at home, it’s usually best to make a plain yogurt, then mix in additional flavors, fruits, sweeteners, chocolate, or anything else you like after it has fermented. Thick Greek-style yogurt can be made by simply straining the yogurt though a fine-mesh strainer, or through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove some of the whey. If you continue straining, you can make yogurt cheese, which is thick and spreadable, like cream cheese.
When you’re choosing a yogurt maker, one thing to consider is whether you prefer to make the yogurt in a large batch or in individual jars. If you plan on straining the yogurt, the large batches make sense; the individual jars are convenient for ready-to-eat servings. Once you’ve chosen your style, here are the best machines on the market now.
01 of 09
Yogourmet is one of the companies that sells dried yogurt starters, so they certainly know what it takes to successfully make yogurt. This 2-quart electric yogurt maker uses a water bath to keep the yogurt container at a consistent temperature, with no hot or cool spots, throughout the entire fermenting time. The inner container has a tight-fitting lid, so it can go right from the yogurt maker to the refrigerator. This includes a thermometer to check the milk temperature after preheating. For... making Greek-style yogurt or yogurt cheese, this includes a cloth bag with drawstring that can be used for staining the yogurt, and the bag can be hung by the drawstring to drain.
02 of 09
If thick Greek-style yogurt is your favorite, this machine is designed with that style of yogurt in mind. The yogurt maker includes two 1½-quart containers for fermenting and straining the yogurt, a strainer that fits into the containers to make a thick Greek-style yogurt, and a lid so you can refrigerate the yogurt during straining, or for storage. If you want a standard yogurt, you don’t need to strain, just ferment the yogurt and refrigerate to chill. This yogurt maker has an adjustable... digital timer so you can adjust it in 30-minutes increments based on the recipe you’re using, and it has an auto-shutoff when the time is up. This does not have adjustable temperature gauge.
03 of 09
This budget-priced yogurt maker comes with seven 6-ounce glass containers for making individual servings of yogurt. The jars have lids for storage and both jars and lids are dishwasher safe. Numbers on the side of the unit light up to show the progress of the yogurt making. This operates with a simple on/off switch and has a light that indicates that it’s on. There is no auto-shutoff, so you’ll need to be nearby to turn it off when fermenting is done.
04 of 09
Not only does this machine keep a constant temperature for fermenting the yogurt, it automatically switches to a cooling mode when the time is up, so you don’t have to be present to turn the machine off, and since it starts cooling, there’s less chance it will become overly-tart from longer cooking. Operation is simple—just add the yogurt and starter and set the fermenting time. Then remove the container any time after the fermenting is done, and refrigerate it. This holds up to 50 ounces of... yogurt in one large batch.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
If you want to try your hand at making yogurt, but you also want a device that can do other things, the Instant Pot is a good choice. It has a yogurt-making function, but it is also a fully-functional pressure cooker and slow cooker. You can scald the milk in this cooker, then let it cool before adding the starter and setting it to ferment. The time is adjustable for different yogurt preferences and the stainless steel cooking pot is dishwasher safe. Compared to stand-alone yogurt makers this is... expensive, so if your only intended use is yogurt, it’s not very budget-friendly.
06 of 09
This yogurt maker can handle up to two quarts of yogurt and cooks it in a removable lead-free clay cooking liner with a glass lid. This gadget also functions as a slow cooker for making soups, stews, and other foods. It has three temperature settings: low, high, and yogurt. The clay liner takes a little more care than metal, plastic, or glass, but it’s the ideal cooking material for folks who prefer more natural materials.
07 of 09
If you love yogurt, making it yourself can be the next step in the quest to find the absolutely perfect version – just let it ferment longer if you prefer a more tart yogurt. This will make up to a quart of yogurt in each batch.
The container is freezer safe, if you want to freeze your finished yogurt. Cleanup is easy – the container and lid should be simply hand washed. For storage, the cord fits into the bottom of the base and the machine itself is light weight, so you won’t need to do any... heavy lifting to put it away. While this comes with a container for making yogurt, you can also use your own standard canning jar, if you prefer.
This doesn’t have a lot of options, but it’s a solid performer that consistently makes good yogurt.
08 of 09
This yogurt maker takes all the technology out of the process, using an insulated container and hot water to keep the yogurt warm during the fermenting time. First, you add hot water to the insulated container, then you mix the yogurt starter and milk (slightly less than a quart) in the yogurt jar, put a lid on the jar, and place that in the container with hot water. Put the lid on the container, and let it rest for 8-12 hours before removing the jar and refrigerating it. While this holds the... temperature fairly well, it will cool over time, and it will cool off faster in a cool room.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Once you’ve made your own yogurt, you might want to strain it to thicken it to a Greek yogurt consistency, or even make yogurt cheese. Yogurt cheese can be as thick as cream cheese and can be used in the same way. This strainer makes it easy to strain your yogurt to any consistency you like. It includes a plastic container to contain the whey, a fine mesh stainless steel strainer, and a lid.
This will turn 3 cups of yogurt into 1 cup of yogurt cheese and 2 cups of whey in up to 24 hours,... depending on the yogurt. For a Greek style yogurt, you simply stop the straining process when there’s about 1 1/2 cups each of whey and yogurt.
The container seals securely, so it won’t absorb refrigerator odors during straining. All parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
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