Everything you need to know to make yogurt

If you are going to make yogurt at home, I should introduced you to the Yogourmet yogurt maker.

Straight from the harsh winters and glorious summers (and, yes, those wacky Canadians don’t have winter all year long although they like to pretend so in front of hapless foreigners) of deepest, darkest Quebec, home of poutine and the best bagels in the world which I crave daily and cannot get, we find, of all things, a yogurt maker.

This puppy makes 2 quarts of yogurt. And the way it works could not be easier.

How to make yogurt
First, you heat up some milk. This unit tells you how much milk and to what temperature. It also includes an easy-to-read thermometer to help with the temperature part.

Then you cool the milk. Again, it tells you to what temperature. And, damn, if that thermometer isn’t dual purpose, allowing you to read the lower temperature as easily as it did the higher one.

When the milk has cooled, you pour it into an included inner container. You add some water to the outer container, place the inner container inside the unit, put the lid on, and plug it in.

Then you wait. According to the instructions, we were supposed to wait four to four and a half hours.

Fast forward four and a half hours later. We pop the lip of the yogurt maker and, ta da, milk! That's not right. So we closed her up again and waited some more.

It took another hour, five and a half hours total, but, finally, ta da, yogurt!

Yogourmet: The good, the bad, and the ugly
Although it is one of the more expensive units on the market, it is also one of the lightest. If that is important to you (and it was to me) than the extra $10 or so is worth it.

It does have a indicator light to tell you when the power is on, but there is no countdown timer or automatic shut off or sound indicator when the yogurt is done. Any would be very handy to have.

But it is incredibly easy to use.

Yes, but what is more expensive, homemade yogurt or store bought yogurt?
One quart of store bought yogurt is $2.49. One quart of milk ($1.79) + yogurt starter ($1.33) = $3.12.

So store bought yogurt is cheaper by .63.

Of course, I have read that you can start a new batch of yogurt by mixing in some existing yogurt, thus eliminating the need for a starter. This would make the homemade yogurt cheaper by .70.

And, alas, this does not factor in the cost of the Yogourmet yogurt maker. It costs about $40. If you make two batches of yogurt a month, for 3 years, that’s 78 uses. Which means it costs .51 per use. If you use your own yogurt as starter, it is still cheaper to make your own.

But what about the cost of electricity to heat the yogurt maker and gas to warm the milk and your time and effort in making the yogurt?

Argh! I give up. There is no way I can calculate this. So, oh, is that chocolate over there?

Homemade yogurt wins, hands up
Forget the cost. The real value of the yogurt is what is not in it. Namely chemicals. And preservatives. There is no sugar. No (the horror) gelatin. In fact, outside of milk and the culture, it only has what you add to it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Vegetarian yogurt recipe
So now that you have all that glorious yogurt, what are you going to do with it?

My first choice is always the one place I always put yogurt: my ‘nanner. Or you could try it in my low-calorie homemade popsicles, perfect for the dog days of summer. Or you could use it to make the delicious Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffles with Blueberries.

Or, you can make this recipe from Saveur.

Vegetarian recipe for Cardamom Lassi
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cardamom

Put yogurt, sugar, and cardamom into a blender and purée until well combined. Divide lassi between 2 glasses and chill for 30 minutes, until cold, or serve at once.