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● UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT TODAY ●
Is the Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt Maker.
● READ ALL ABOUT IT ●
You get an outer unit – base with power unit and domed lid - that does the making of the yoghurt. You get an inner unit – bowl and domed lid - that does the holding of the yoghurt. You get a rather useless spoon thing. It is all very easy really, the Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt Maker. You take a pint and a half of milk, a tablespoon of yoghurt and you mix it together in the inner bowl. You put the inner unit into the outer unit. You plug in the outer unit. You look at the fiddly ticker thingy on the top and decide not to bother with it. You wish it were a proper timer or not there at all. You go away for between six and ten hours – eight is good, but timing is not crucial. You return. You switch off the machine. And hey presto! You have yoghurt. It ain't 'ard.
Of course, there are caveats. If you use UHT milk, you can put it straight into the yoghurt maker. If you use ordinary milk, you may need to boil it first. If you like thin, runny yoghurt, you use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. If you like thick yoghurt, you use full fat milk. If you like Greek-style yoghurt that is "set", you add a tablespoon or two of powdered milk and if you can be bothered, you strain it once it is made. You err towards a longer fermentation time if you like thick yoghurt and a shorter one if you like runny yoghurt.
After you have made your yoghurt, you decide whether to eat it plain or flavoured. You can flavour it with chopped fruit or fruit puree if you want sweet, or with herbs if you want savoury. You store your yoghurt, plain or flavoured, in the fridge for up to five days.
It is all there in the instructions. It is all very easy.
● SUPER DUPER THINGS ●
Fresh yoghurt tastes so nice! Even the freshest of yoghurts from the supermarket are days old. Yoghurt made that day and then chilled is lovely. It is sweeter, almost tasting as though it has sugar added. Eat it once, and the nicest Yeo Valley or Rachel's yoghurt from the supermarket just will not taste the same. What you make will keep for five days and will stay that sweet for two or three. After that, it develops the trademark "tang" of shop bought yoghurt.
It saves money! A 500g pot of plain yoghurt costs at least a pound, more if it is organic. My rough but reasonably accurate calculations put the cost of 500g of homemade yoghurt at around 40p – and this takes into account using organic milk, milk powder to thicken the yoghurt AND the cost of the electricity. Use UHT milk, and the cost goes down to under 35p.
We are eating more healthily! Greedy Jillory uses far too much fat in her cooking. However, when the yoghurt maker is on the go, she uses much less. She makes coleslaw with a yoghurt dressing instead of mayonnaise with olive oil and eggs. She makes frozen yoghurt desserts in place of ice cream made with double cream. She finishes soups and casseroles with yoghurt instead of that same double cream.
It is easy to look after! Really, it is. The only real washing up to do is the inner bowl. The outer unit just needs wiping thoroughly. It is not like many kitchen gadgets that have many parts that all need washing and are all fiddly. However, do be aware that hygiene is very important. You must clean a unit that heats milk gently for hours properly or you will run the risk of unpleasant, not pleasant, bacteria. Moreover, you cannot put the bowl in your dishwasher, so do be careful – there are internal ridges that could harbour traces of old yoghurt. Still, the yoghurt maker is refreshingly faff-free.
Not only is the yoghurt cheap to make, the yoghurt maker is cheap to run! It is a very low wattage unit, using less electricity than a slow cooker and a similar amount as a light bulb. Although I do love bread from my bread maker, I admit that it is not really an economical item. The bread may well be nicer, but it is not really cheaper.
You can make such a variety of dishes from a plentiful supply of fresh yoghurt. We eat it as a dessert, either with fruit or fruit puree mixed, or in place of cream over pies and crumbles. We make frozen yoghurt in our ice cream maker. We mix it with fruit juice for a yoghurt drink. We add it to soups and curries. We add mint or chives and use it as a dip for our Kettle Chips. We use it as salad dressing. The list is endless.
● ANNOYING THINGS ●
Once your yoghurt is ready, you need to store it in the fridge. Clearly, the easiest, most hygienic way to do this is simply to lift the inner unit from the outer one and put the covered bowl straight into the fridge. However, the unit is BIG. It occupies almost half the top shelf in my fridge and it is so tall that it will not fit into any other shelf. This can be annoying. I tend to transfer the yoghurt into a Tupperware box with a flat lid and this is much more suitable. It is irritating to need to mess about like this, not to mention less hygienic.
The instruction booklet is clear and contains all the information necessary. However, necessary is the operative word. After reading it, you will know how to make yoghurt. You will know which type of milk will produce what results. Your results will be accurate. You will know how to maintain and care for your sexy gadget. However, you will not have any real ideas what to do with your yoghurt once it is there. A litre of yoghurt is quite a lot of yoghurt. I have found many uses for the yumptious stuff, but Lakeland really did leave me to experiment alone. I would have liked a recipe section included. It had taken me upwards of six months to practise, research, experiment and build up a large repertoire of possibilities.
If you do not keep up a production line of yoghurt, you will need to buy a new – albeit small – pot of live yoghurt each time you begin again. The unit is most efficient when you are using the last spoonful of yoghurt from one batch to begin the next batch. This is not a fault of the machine, but it does rather defeat the object, and with the best will in the world, you will not always need a continuous supply of fresh yoghurt. You can buy starter sachets from the EasiYo range at Lakeland – but these are expensive at £7.50 for six. Therefore, there is no "store cupboard" way to keep the makings at home. You will need some yoghurt to begin.
The electrical lead is a real fiddle. It is long enough – about three feet – but it does not curl easily under the base, where it is designed to curl. Petty, maybe, but it is forever getting in my way!
● JILLORY'S TIPS ●
If you are dieting but love the taste of full fat, creamy yoghurt and its thicker texture, use Cravendale milk. You will need to boil the milk first and the yoghurt will still be runny, but it will TASTE just as creamy as yoghurt made with full fat milk. For the dieters amongst you, Cravendale milk rocks!
Watch the freshness of the yoghurt you buy to begin your yoghurt making. Buy it with the longest date possible. Older yoghurt may no longer be "live" and your milk may fail to ferment. There is nothing worse than throwing it all away. I have found Yeo Valley to be the most reliable.
If you are trying to improve your children's diet by buying a yoghurt maker, then good for you! Lose those additives and preservatives! Nevertheless, try to make things fun. Plain yoghurt looks boring to a child. There is so much more to it all than plain yoghurt. Be creative. For instance, we spent the fortnight after going to see Shrek 2 drinking bright green shakes made with the yoghurt and kiwi fruit blended together. Know your market, parents.
Remember that the yoghurt is at its sweetest for the first day or two. Use it then to make desserts, drinks and shakes. The third day it makes excellent dips and salad dressings. After that, it may be too "tangy", so if you have some left, use it in soups, curries or casseroles. Be organised about it all and make food that suits the age of the yoghurt best.
● BORING BITS ●
You can buy the yoghurt maker at www.lakeland.co.uk or from any of Lakeland's shops. The shops, though, do not stock the entire Lakeland range, so ring ahead if you are going with the intention to buy.
It will set you back the princely sum of nineteen English pounds less five English pence. That is less than twenty quid. If you used the yoghurt maker twice a week, it would take you around five months to be seeing a saving. I think that is good going, considering the excellent quality of the product, which is far better and fresher than anything you will buy in the supermarket.
Do I recommend it? What do you think? Despite the minor quibbles, yes. Resoundingly, yes. With the Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt maker you will improve your own diet, motivate your children to eat more healthily and save money to boot. What more could you want?
(A tidy flex and a fridge friendly bowl would be good!)
never realised it was so simple to make yogurt, this is a must have for 2007.
mark-southside 11.08.2006 13:00
Hi Jill I almost bought one of these as I like Yoghurt too. However at £20 a pop and having to buy a yoghurt anyway to start it off, I thought the economics didn't stack up. However, I know what you mean about taste, I make bread which is at least twice the cost of shop stuff, but smells and tastes lovely!!! Mark
waterbaby999 01.06.2006 23:01
Brillian review, full of informative information and personalised hints and tips. Great help for people considering buying one of these!