Our “MiC” yogurt maker died last year, of unknown causes. Probably just as well, as the alternative was probably that it would catch fire or be found to contain arsenic.
It turns out that yogurt makers are not very popular items these days. Don’t know why. But you can’t just walk into Sears or most of the big box stores and buy one. I have located some on ‘the miracle that is the internet,’ but I also found this story:
I was going to buy this yogurt maker, but after I read a review that said there was no thermostat in this machine, despite what the manufacturer claims (someone actually took it apart and looked!) – I decided to do further research. What I found was that I already had everything I needed to make my own yogurt – my oven. My oven has better temperature control and it doesn’t take up counter space.
Making yogurt basically involves mixing milk with a “starter” (usually plain, unpasteurized yogurt) and keeping it at a temperature where the “good” bacteria will multiply and turn the rest of the milk into yogurt. Everything needs to be really clean so you don’t introduce “bad” bacteria into the mix. Other methods I had heard about involved scalding the milk and sterilizing the containers and everything else — sounded like a pain. But I found a method that works really well for lazy people like me, with no scalding and no sterilization, and no special equipment:
Get a quart-size carton of milk and some yogurt, both at room temperature. Open the milk carton, pour some out to make room in the carton, and add 1/2 c. of plain yogurt with live cultures (like Straus Creamery or Dannon plain yogurt). Close up the carton again, clip shut, and shake it gently to mix up the milk and yogurt. As for the milk you poured out (you saved it right?), that’s going to be your starter for the next batch, so add a couple teaspoons of yogurt to that, give it a good stir, and cover tightly. Get an old (but clean!) bath towel and wrap both in it. Place on a cookie sheet and place in 110 degree F oven. “Bake” at 110 degrees overnight – around 12 hours – remove from oven and refrigerate. Perfect European-style yogurt! (For the thicker American style, add powdered milk along with your yogurt “starter.”) Best of all, there’s no need to pre-heat/scald the milk (not necessary if you use pasteurized milk) and no cleaning (since you make the yogurt right in the paper milk carton straight from the store). Any size milk carton will work — just adjust the amount of starter accordingly.
We go through 4 quarts of yogurt a week, so I make 2 big milk cartons’ worth each time. If I used the Salton, I would have to run it four times to get the same amount of yogurt.
I’m on board !! Let’s see how well this works!
Update: this method is not without problems:
our oven won’t go this low, and certainly the control isn’t accurate; putting a paper carton and a towel in the oven???.
getting the ingredients to mix is not that simple.
how do you get solid yogurt out of the milk carton?