While shopping for a good quality yogurt maker, here are some of the most important factors that you must check for.
Capacity is one of the most significant factors that you should check before buying a yogurt maker. You must select a capacity that will be perfect according to the size of your family as well as the volume of yogurt that you want to make.
If you have a large family, you should prefer buying a yogurt maker with a higher capacity. Or else, if people in your family prefer eating yogurt on a daily basis, you should buy a machine that can make larger batches of yogurt.
However, if the consumption of yogurt by you or your family is not much, making yogurt in large quantities might not be a good choice as it gets spoiled after a while. Thus, you must select the size accordingly.
2. Automation Function:
Most of the yogurt makers are designed in a way that all you have to do is set all the ingredients in the machine and then leave the rest to the machine. The machines are fully automated. Hence, once you turn on the power button, the yogurt maker takes full control of the preparation process.
There are a few models of yogurt makers that are not fully automated. In such cases, you will have to set the timer, temperature, and the power at which you want to make the yogurt.
3. Preparation Time:
Some yogurt makers take around 4 to 5 hours to make a batch of yogurt. There are some other models that take up to 12 hours to do the same. If you don’t want to wait for a long time, you can choose a model that can make the yogurt quickly.
4. Flexible Design:
Some brands focus solely on making a yogurt maker that is flexible. There are some models of yogurt makers that allow you to make small batches of yogurt in the flavors that you prefer. In such machines, you can make yogurt in about 5 to 6 different flavors at a time in small jars.
In some models, you can even prepare both small and bigger batches of yogurt at a time. You can choose a machine depending on how flexible you want it to be in terms of both designs as well as performance.
5. Temperature Settings:
Different types of yogurt require different temperatures that are ideal for the fermentation. There are some advanced yogurt makers available in the market that allows you to select the temperature. Some other models feature only a preset temperature that mostly works for all types of yogurt.
The adjustable temperature feature is not a very common feature in home yogurt makers. You will usually find this feature on commercial models of yogurt makers as professionals know it better how a minor change in temperature can affect the overall fermentation and preparation process.
However, if you want to make yogurt in your preferred way, you must look for a machine with adjustable temperature settings.
6. Ease of Cleaning:
Before buying a yogurt maker, you should even check whether the machine is easy to clean or not. As there are a lot of ingredients required to make yogurt, the chances of these ingredients sticking to the machine or storing cups are very high. Hence, it is very important to buy a machine that will be easy to clean after preparing yogurt.
You can buy a model that comes with removable pots. These pots are dishwasher safe and hence, easy to clean. Most of the yogurt makers and machines come with removable parts such as containers, pots, and jars. You can put them straight away in the dishwasher and clean them conveniently.
Apart from the containers, you should also check whether the base of the machine is easy to wipe after use or not.
Some yogurt makers even feature LCD screens that come with touchpads rather than the standalone buttons for all the settings. This makes it easier to clean the outside surface of the yogurt maker.
As yogurt uses dairy products as well as active enzymes, you must remember to sterilize all the parts regularly. If you don’t do so, you will end up spoiling the future batches of yogurt because of the remaining particles of the older batch of yogurt.
7. Ease of Use:
If you are making yogurt for the first time, it is better to buy a model that can take care of the entire process by itself. But, if you know how to make yogurt, you can always try new recipes and experiment with different ingredients or textures.
Depending on your skills or interest, you should buy a yogurt maker that will meet all your requirements.
8. Container Types and Sizes:
The size of the batch in which you want to make the yogurt will help you in determining what kind of container the yogurt should be stored after finishing the preparation process.
Large batches of yogurt makers usually have bigger and lidded plastic containers that can be used directly to store yogurt in the fridge.
Single serving yogurt makers often have a partitioned glass tray that can be used to make and store the yogurt. However, you might not get a proper lid along with these trays for convenient storage.
9. Type of Yogurt:
While finalizing a yogurt maker, you might have to consider whether you want to buy a machine that can make regular yogurt or Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt usually tastes a bit more sour than regular yogurt. Hence, according to many studies, Greek yogurt is considered as a healthier option.
Some users wish to buy a machine that can be used to make soft cheese as well. While there are a few models of yogurt makers that are very versatile, some other machines function as a standard yogurt maker.
10. Auto Shut Off:
It is very convenient to buy a yogurt maker with an auto shut off feature. Not only they are safe to use but are economical also.
Most of the time, users fail to understand whether yogurt has been prepared completely or not. In such situations, buying a yogurt maker with an automatic shut off feature can be very helpful and handy.
This is essentially important for those who want to make larger batches of yogurt at one go. In a busy schedule, you often forget to keep a track of time and this can have an impact on the preparation process. Thus, automatic shut off is a very convenient feature and you must prefer buying a machine that has this feature.
If you want to make a fresh batch of yogurt in the morning, you can turn on the machine and go to work. Once the yogurt is prepared, the machine will shut off automatically. This is helpful even if you prepare the yogurt in the evening and let it ferment overnight.
11. Automatic Chiller:
The taste and the texture of the yogurt are the best when you keep it for chilling immediately after the fermentation process is finished. In some high-end models, the fermenting mode switches to chilling mode automatically. It can keep your yogurt cool for up to half a day. This feature is ideal for overnight yogurt making or in scenarios when you are not sure whether you will be available at home after fermenting is done.
While fermenting the yogurt, you should be very careful regarding the proportion of the ingredients that you are going to use in the container. Hence, the quality of the thermostat is very important in any yogurt maker.
To confirm this, you can check the reviews or ratings of the users and determine the accuracy of the temperature control. This will ensure that you are investing in a quality product.
13. See-through Lid:
Some models of yogurt makers feature a see-through lid. It allows you to monitor the cooking process without even opening the lid. If you keep opening the lid, the temperature inside the chamber will decrease. Also, by exposing the yogurt to air, you can ruin the quality of yogurt.
With the help of jars, you can divide the batches of yogurt into single portions. However, make sure that the jars offered by the brand are either made using glass or BPA-free plastic.
The materials used to make the yogurt maker decides the overall durability of the machine. Yogurt makers made using plastic tend to degrade quickly and might crack over time. Comparatively, machines made using stainless steel are tough, durable, and resistant to wear and tear.
16. Additional Features and Add-Ons:
Some additional features like timer display, indicator lights, etc. can make it convenient to use the machine. These features make the machine functional and easy to use. Some manufacturers even offer extra containers, recipe books, and extra bonuses so that the users have a fun experience while using the machine.
The price of the yogurt maker varies depending on the brand and the functionalities that it offers. You can buy a good quality yogurt maker within a price range of Rs. 700 – Rs. 3,000.
Any electronic gadget can face issues and hence, a warranty is a must. Most of the yogurt makers come with a warranty of 1 year. Some manufacturers even offer a long-term warranty period.
Advantages of Having Your Own Yogurt Maker
There are many advantages of having your own yogurt maker at your home. Some of them are as follows:
- Fresh and home-made yogurt contains more probiotics.
- You can avoid adding harmful ingredients like fat, sugar, or stabilizers.
- Yogurts that are made at home have a fresh taste. You can also have control over the sourness.
- You can save a lot of money. All you need is a few basic ingredients such as milk, fillings, and starter. Making yogurt at home is almost two times cheaper than buying it from a store. The price of the machine pays off in the long run.
- It can be helpful in improving your kitchen and culinary skills.
How to Make Yogurt at Home?
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you learn how to make yogurt using a yogurt maker in the easiest way possible.
Step 1: Select the milk (as per your preference). You can choose any milk that you like: organic, full-fat, or skim milk. One thing that you must remember is milk types with higher fat content produce yogurt with a thicker consistency and milder taste.
Step 2: Heat the milk. You can start by heating the milk in a pan. However, if you have a yogurt maker that can boil milk as well, you can jump to step 5.
Step 3: Let the milk cool down. After boiling the milk, remove it from heat and keep it aside for some time so that it cools down.
Step 4: Pour milk in the bowl or glass jars. Once the milk is at room temperature, you can start transferring it to the maker’s bowl or jars.
Step 5: Put the “starters” and stir. The starter contains live bacteria that helps in converting milk into yogurt. Some commonly available starters are store-bought yogurt or a starter powder (special powder). You can get them online too.
Step 6: Set the timer and turn on the machine. You can put the jars or bowl to the maker’s chamber and then close the lid. Turn on the machine. If you have a high-tech machine, you can even set the timer and the temperature according to a particular recipe. It might take around 12 hours to finish the process. Hence, many people prefer making yogurt at night.
Step 7: Refrigerate the yogurt. Once the fermentation process is over, remove the bowl or jars from the chamber and keep them in the fridge. You can even add fruits or nuts as per your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
A yogurt maker functions by letting the mixture of yogurt starter and milk heated at a constant temperature. This ferments the milk into yogurt. The major difference between yogurt makers is the configuration of each container.
While some yogurt makers have around 6 to 8 jars or cups that are of the same size as that of store-bought yogurt packs, others feature a large tub. Most of the high-end or premium models allow you to adjust the temperature or come with a timer so that the machine stops automatically after the yogurt is ready.
There are two types of yogurt makers, depending on the source of power used.
The first type of yogurt maker is non-electric. It uses hot water instead of electricity. There is a large insulated container where the hot water is poured. Along with this, there is a small container to add milk. This small container is lowered in the larger container.
The electric machines feature a timer and a see-through lid. As soon as the yogurt is prepared, the timer turns off the power. You can monitor the fermentation process via the see-through lid.
While some machines allow you to make only yogurt, other machines let you make sorbet, ice cream, or even sour cream.
Even though the plastic container is considered as more durable, plastic can leave behind a taste in the yogurt. Plastic absorbs odor very easily and it can even transfer the odor to the next batch of the yogurt.
Glass containers can break easily. However, they don’t absorb or transfer odor. Storing food in a glass container is healthier than storing in plastic containers.
While some manufacturers suggest heating the milk to 180 degrees while making yogurt, others say it’s not important. From the health point of view, it is okay if you don’t heat pasteurized milk.
However, if you heat the milk, the texture of the yogurt is going to be creamy and firm. If you want the texture of the yogurt to be firm, heal the milk up to 180 degrees and then let it cool down till 110 degrees. Heating milk can help you in making yogurt successfully.
If you want to make Greek yogurt, you will need an extra tool i.e. a strainer. Some manufacturers provide a strainer along with the machine so that you can make Greek yogurt.
If the machine that you have bought doesn’t have a strainer, you can buy one separately. Straining the yogurt gives it a thicker texture.
It is advisable to use lukewarm milk to produce thick, set yogurt.
The ultra pasteurised milk was sterile for the fermentation process. One should allow the bacterial culture to activate and work through the process. Probably your boiled and ultra-pasteurized milk lacked the nourishment required for the starter culture.
It is always recommended to culture upto 1 litre of yogurt. Larger the quantity, the harder it is to maintain the temperature evenly throughout.
New yogurt makers and the ones that have hardly been used do need a temperature check before placing it in the field.
Your yogurt is natural, fresh and free of preservatives. Store-bought ones use thickeners and artificial additives.
All the plastic parts in yogurt makers are FDA certified and BPA free.
In order to maintain the weight and balance of the maker, fill the rest of the jars with water.