In the past decade or so, the yogurt section of most grocery stores has doubled, even tripled. Yogurt has come to be recognized as a superfood by many, valued for its myriad health and nutritional benefits. Loaded with healthy protein and live probiotic cultures, yogurt is a snack that is both good and good for you. If you find that you and your family eat a lot of yogurt, you may want to think about making your own yogurt at home. It can save you a lot of money and it gives you control over the quality, taste, and texture of your yogurt. Plus, it can be a lot of fun!
The Benefits of Homemade Yogurt
One of the main benefits associated with yogurt is the fact that it contains live probiotic cultures – beneficial microorganisms that can help improve and regulate your digestion. In order for these probiotics to do their job, however, they need to be kept alive and that means that the yogurt needs to be fresh. Store-bought yogurt doesn’t always contain live cultures, however. Making your own yogurt at home means that your yogurt will be fresh and that it will contain live cultures. Not only do you have control over what goes into your yogurt when you make it yourself, but you also have control over what is NOT in your yogurt. You can make homemade yogurt without any sugar or artificial flavorings, plus you can control the fat content by being selective about the type of milk you use. If you want to flavor your yogurt, you can use natural flavors like fresh fruit or honey to keep your homemade yogurt healthy and all-natural.
What Features Should You Look for in a Yogurt Maker?
When it comes to shopping for a yogurt maker, there are many things you need to consider. While it may be tempting to shop by price alone, this is generally not the best strategy if you want to come home with a high-quality device that will last for more than a few batches. When you are ready to start shopping for a yogurt maker, consider these features:
- Electronic vs. Non-Electronic – Electronic yogurt makers are great because they keep your yogurt at a steady temperature throughout the cooking process but they do consume electricity. If you are concerned about that, a non-electronic version might work for you.
- Automatic Timer/Shutoff – If you choose to go with an electronic yogurt maker, you should consider a model that offers an automatic timer and shut-off feature. To maintain the quality and safety of your yogurt, it needs to be cooked at a stable temperature – a yogurt maker with an automatic timer will keep the temperature steady for the desired period of time then shut off automatically to avoid overcooking.
- Size/Capacity – Yogurt makers usually come in two types for making a single type of yogurt or multiple types in one batch. Single-bowl yogurt makers generally have a capacity up to 2 quarts (some may have more) and multiple batch yogurt makers usually have up to 7 containers, each with a 6- or 7-ounce capacity.
- Ease of Use – Most yogurt makers are very easy to use but you should look for certain features like push-button controls, an LCD display, hidden cord storage, and dishwasher-safe components to ensure that making homemade yogurt is as easy as possible.
Yogurt makers come in all shapes and sizes with a wide variety of different benefits. When you are ready to start shopping, consider the factors reviewed above to help guide your decision.
Other Factors to Consider
While it is generally best to shop for yogurt makers based on the features they offer, there are some other factors you may want to consider. One of the biggest factors for many people is price – yogurt makers range in price from under $20 to over $100. You should not shop by price alone, but think about what your budget is before you start shopping. It is also a good idea to select a model that offers a satisfaction guarantee or some kind of manufacturer warranty. Finally, take the time to read some customer reviews for the model you are considering to see what other people have to say about it – this could save you the hassle of buying a model that will stop working after a few uses or of spending too much on yogurt maker that doesn’t deliver in terms of quality.
With so many different models out there, it can be difficult to choose a yogurt maker. The best thing you can do is learn about the different options available and then think about which features are most important to you. Do you value size over price? Do you want to make multiple flavors in one batch? Answering these questions and more will help you narrow down your options in your search for the perfect yogurt maker.