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What Should I Consider When Buying a Home Yogurt Maker?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A home yogurt maker can be a great appliance, or another thing rattling around in the back of the cupboards taking up space. It's important to find a yogurt maker which works well for a household, and to confirm that a yogurt maker is needed in the first place, to ensure that a yogurt maker will see years of steady use.

For people who enjoy yogurt, especially plain yogurt, there are some definite advantages to getting a yogurt maker. Making your own yogurt is much cheaper than buying commercial versions, and it allows for greater control over the ingredients and consistency of the end product. It is possible to make yogurt at home without a special machine, as the key to making yogurt is heating milk, inoculating it with starters, and then incubating it for several hours while yogurt forms, but using a yogurt maker is a lot easier.

People who do not use yogurt very much may find that a yogurt maker is a wasted purchase. Good yogurt makers can get expensive, and they don't do much good sitting in the back of a cupboard unused. For households which prefer flavored yogurt, making yogurt at home can be time consuming, as the yogurt needs to be made and then flavored, and this can require a lot of effort.

Once one has determined that a yogurt maker is genuinely desired, there are a number of things to think about when making the purchase. The first is capacity. If a household regularly goes through a couple of big tubs of yogurt every week, a large yogurt maker is going to be needed. Yogurt makers also come in two different configurations which should be considered. In the first, the yogurt is made in little serving-sized cups, while in the other, the yogurt is made in a large central vat.

Ease of cleaning is something else to think about. Ideally, a yogurt maker should be dishwasher safe so that all of the cups can be regularly sterilized, and the base should be easy to wipe down. Milk can get icky when it sits around for awhile at room temperature, and an appliance with cracks or textured surfaces is going to trap milk and create some very unpleasant smells.

Some yogurt makers come with an automatic shutoff or timer which alerts people to the time when the yogurt should be done. However, different bacteria ferment at a different rate, and subtle variations can change the amount of time it takes for yogurt to ferment. If the yogurt is underfermented, it will be thin and watery, while overfermented yogurt will be thick, which may be a desirable trait. If a device does have a timer or automatic shutoff, cooks should confirm that they can change the settings to reach their ideal fermentation time.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon151697 — On Feb 11, 2011

Can anyone tell me if you can make goats or soya yogurt at home and if so, where can i find out the recipe. Thanks.

By chrisinbama — On Sep 30, 2010

@dega2010: Starter yogurt is yogurt that is made with active live cultures. Those are the friendly bacteria that turn your milk into yogurt.

You can buy a container of yogurt at the grocery store to use for this. Make sure that it says “made with live cultures”. You need to buy plain yogurt, not flavored.

Every time you make yogurt, you need a starter. You can use your own starter but, after a while, it loses its potency and your yogurt will not turn out right.

By dega2010 — On Sep 30, 2010

@boathugger: what is starter yogurt?

By BoatHugger — On Sep 30, 2010

@oceanswimmer: Yogurt is much easier to make with a yogurt maker. To make yogurt at home, you need ½ cup starter yogurt, 8 cups of milk, 1/3 cup powdered milk, and ¼ cup pure maple syrup.

You need to have 2 qt. size canning jars washed and ready with lids. Pour the milk into a large boiler. Heat to 185 degrees. Allow it to cool down to 110. That can take a while. You can speed the process up by filling your sink with cold water and place the hot milk in there.

After you get to 110 degrees, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is dissolved. Pour the mixture into your jars. Put the lids on and them and put them into whatever you are going to culture them in. Leave for about 12 hours. Don’t move the jars too much. When the yogurt is firm, remove it and put it in the fridge. Leave about 24 hours. You can add fresh fruit or jam when you serve your yogurt.

By OceanSwimmer — On Sep 30, 2010

What are the ingredients to make yogurt at home?

By GardenTurtle — On Sep 30, 2010

I didn't even know you could make yogurt at home.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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