A yogurt maker is an appliance that keeps milk at a constant temperature so it can ferment into yogurt. Yogurt is a great source of protein and many other nutrients, especially if you use plain yogurt with added flavorings like fruit, honey or maple syrup, or a scraped vanilla bean. It also contains live cultures, which can aid in digestion and improve gut health.
There are a few different types of yogurt makers. One is a jug-type model that has a single container where you pour inoculated milk and then let it sit for several hours to create the yogurt. Another option is a multi-cooker like the Instant Pot that has a special “yogurt” setting that maintains a specific temperature for several hours. Then there’s a more traditional electric version that comes with a lidded pot with multiple glass or plastic jars for making individual servings of yogurt. Lastly, some models have an automatic timer that turns off the heat and then allows you to set the number of hours you’d like the yogurt to incubate for.
Regardless of which type of yogurt maker you choose, you’ll need a quality cooking thermometer to ensure the milk stays at a steady temperature while it’s sitting in the yogurt maker. You’ll also need a starter culture, which you can buy as powdered yogurt or as store-bought yogurt that’s been opened and then stored in the fridge. Adding the starter culture at the beginning of the incubation process helps the yogurt to ferment into its final texture.
Before buying a yogurt maker, think about how much yogurt your family goes through and how much counter and storage space you have to spare. This will help you decide which size yogurt maker to purchase. If you don’t have much room, consider a jug-type model with a single large container or the Kilner Yogurt Making Set with its seven individual jars. This model takes up minimal space and is ideal for small kitchens.
Once you’ve bought your new yogurt maker, it will be important to clean it after every use. Depending on the model, you may need to remove the containers from the device and wash them separately. You’ll need to read the user manual for your yogurt maker to find out exactly how to do this. In most cases, the containers can be washed in your dishwasher, but you’ll need to remove and replace any lids or other removable parts before washing them. It’s also a good idea to wash the outer container of your yogurt maker periodically to make sure no milk residue remains.