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My hubby and I get through an enormous amount of natural yoghurt every week (both on diets...!) I spotted this amazing gadget in the Lakeland catalogue and sent off for one. At £18.95 it was reasonably priced and has paid for itself many times over. I make about 3-4 litres of yoghurt a week using it. This would have cost me £6-8 if I had still been buying from Sainsbury's as they charge 99p for 500ml. Now a litre of natural yoghurt costs about 60p to make myself.
The kit consists of the youghurt maker itself and a container and lid which go inside. You can buy additional containers from Lakeland priced at £3.95 - highly recommended! You can also buy strainers from Lakeland if you like Greek style yoghurt.
All you need is one litre of milk, preferably long life and about a tablespoon of live natural youghurt to start it off. You can also add 2-3 tablespoons of powdered skimmed milk to the mixture if you want thicker youghurt. (Sainsbury's own brand is good as it dissolves well, Tescos, Safeways and Waitrose all need more mixing to get the lumps out!) You can use skimmed, semi-skimmed or whole milk. Whole milk gives a richer creamier result. I sometimes use 500 ml semmi-skimmed plus 500ml whole milk - creamy enough yoghurt but slightly less fat.
It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare the ingredients. Mix the milk and milk poweder (if used) together in the inner container. Add the yoghurt and stir gently then put the lid on. Put the inner container inside the youghurt maker and switch it on. The machine is powered by mains electricity. Switch off after 8 hours, let the yoghurt cool for a while and put in the fridge for about another 6-8 hours. You can eat it straight away while it is warm but the taste and texture improve greatly when it is chilled. I make a new batch when we are half way down the current one, hence the recommendation to have an extra inner container.
A word of warning - do not believe the labels on commercial natural youghurt! Many say they are LIVE but they aren't! You can only tell this when you try to use them as starter cultures for your yoghurt maker. If the culture is dead you wont get yoghurt after 8 hours - just warm milk. I have had trouble with all the supermarket brands, Yeo Valley (sometimes works) and Onken Biopot. I have never had a problem with Danone bio active so thats the one I use if I need a new culture. Generally though, if you make a new batch every 4-5 days you are better off using some of the previous batch as you know it is live. Its something to think about though - how many people are buying what they think is live yoghurt for its beneficial properties and are being ripped off because you cant tell its dead as a dodo!?? (unless you try to make yoghurt from it of course ...)
I like the 1 litre container rather than the lots of little pots that other yoghurt makers have. Its much less fiddly and you can use as much as you want.
The machine does not have a built in timer which is my only gripe. However I use a timer socket - the kind you use to control the lights when you are away. I guess if they made it with a timer it would be more expensive and this works just as well!
This is a wonderful gadget and I wouldn't be without it!
Thanks for your review! I was unsure which kind of yogurt maker to buy and your review convinced me. We went to Lakeland this weekend and bought this, with the extra bowl as you recommened! I expect to begin yogurting tomorrow!
SueMagee 24.08.2003 16:04
I think the design could be improved, but it does make marvellous yoghurt.
thecatsmother 01.06.2003 01:34
I don't eat enough yoghurt to justify buying one of these, but it sounds really good for families. Aren't Lakeland wonderful!