This review excites me as much as the day I got this Lakeland Yoghurt maker.
If you don't know I'm expecting and have gone off chocolate which as a total chocoholic it comes hard. It took me about 3 days to realise that my craving had become yoghurt I was getting through a few pots a day and if none were in the fridge it was a trip to the shop. I even paid 79p for a small pot of strawberry yoghurt at a service station on a long journey home one day. I thought this is getting expensive. I looked at yoghurt makers in the local shops but they worked out pricey as you had to buy different sachets all the time for making the yoghurt.
So jokingly I put a message on my Facebook saying I need a yoghurt maker and hey presto a friend sent a message saying she had one that had been brought and never used!!! Fantastic, I collected it the very next day and excitedly went to the shop to buy milk on the way home.
This particular product is from Lakeland which is a good quality kitchen shop on line or in store. www.lakeland.co.uk. The cost of this yoghurt maker is £19.99.
Now it comes in a small compact box and has Yogurt maker written on the front and on the side says Yoghurt maker, Yes one with the H and one without. I have always spelt it with H so think the company are keeping their options open as to how it is correctly spelt.
I have not yet stored this as it has been constantly used since receiving it. I will store it in the box though as will keep it all together and tidy.
The yoghurt maker itself is a white base unit which has an electric cable and plug attached to it. A plastic inner container which holds the mixture of 1 1/2 pints of milk. A plastic lid that fits onto the inner container and a further lid that fits onto the top of unit once inner container is inserted. The top lid has a dial on it with 12 numbers, This is for setting the time the yoghurt will be ready, i.e 4 o'clock.
There is also a small plastic shovel type spoon that comes with the product which to be honest don't see what it's use is for as won't hold much yoghurt but may be for scraping out when emptying container.
The leaflet that came in the box is quite small and basic. It says how to make the yoghurt and trouble shooting part and basically that's it. No recipes or ideas to help you along.
The making is much easier then I had expected. You can use any type of milk but with pasteurised milks they have only briefly been heated so some bacteria may still remain so you need to heat the milk (1 1/2pints) to boiling point and allow to cool down to below 50 oc before using.
Then when it is ready put 2 teaspoons of natural yoghurt into the base of inner container, This should be as fresh as possible as should the milk. Pour the milk in on top of the yoghurt stirring gently and place the lid over container then the top lid over unit remembering to set the dial to the time you require which will be 8 hours later. Turn the unit on and check it is working by the orange light that will come on at base of unit. The unit warms up just very slightly to let the milk do it's stuff.
Now you leave it totally untouched for 8 hours. Believe me 8 hours are a long long time when you are craving the yoghurt it is making lol. I find the best time to make it is in the morning so it is ready for evening or before bedtime so it is ready when you wake up. My first attempt was overnight so I was so excited on waking up and going straight downstairs
to find I had lovely smooth thick yoghurt. It had worked I'd made my own yoghurt.
Once unit is turned off leave to cool before adding to yoghurt if that's what you wish to do.
I choose to blend up some strawberries to go into my batch. I left some plain as we use yoghurt in cooking and serving with some meals. Once cool and finished off you can out the whole container with lid into fridge if big enough or transfer to a smaller container.
This will keep for about 5 days if it's allowed to.
This is a great way of getting children to have more calcium in their diet and also my son likes to get involved by helping to add the fruit at the end.
The taste test was to follow. Remember this is just milk and strawberries so no additives or artificial flavours. It had a very slight sharp taste to it so I added a small amount of sugar and it was perfect...
I've since been doing banana flavour too and tonight I plan to add apricots (full of iron). If I had paid for this I would certainly have gained back the cost of it already.
It costs approx £1.50 for 4 pints of milk which would make 2 batches of 1 litre yoghurt. So 75p per batch plus cost of fruit or whatever you wish to add to it.
You can have it plain with fruit which can be whole mashed or puree or even as savoury by adding mint, parsley or curry powder. The choice is yours for the making.
The wait for the first batch to make wasn't too bad as I slept through the wait but once you have some made you can have a constant supply in your fridge. You can also use some of your own plain yoghurt to use in the making of the next batch.
The container and lid is easy to clean after use ready for the next batch. Make sure it is cleaned in hot water though as it is a magnet to bacteria.
Would I recommend this yoghurt maker? Well I certainly would
Would I buy it at the price of £19.99? Hell yes I would, I'm tempted to buy another so can make twice as much.
I hope I have written this review so you can understand clearly just how easy it is to use this yoghurt maker and make your very own yoghurt.
Just had another idea and that is Frozen yoghurt when the weather warms up a bit.
I bought one of these to see if I could reduce my food bills by making yogurt at home and boy, is it working! I debated between this one and an Easiyo, but decided on this as I don't need to buy sachets - I can just use milk and yogurt straight from the supermarket.
I find it really easy to use and can get everything mixed up in about 5 minutes. The yogurt maker itself consists of an plastic inner container with a lid and an outer container with a lid. You put a teaspoon of yogurt into the inner container, add 900ml milk and 2 tbsps evaporated milk powder and pop it in the outer container and wait for 8 hours and voila - yogurt. You can then add flavourings or fruit to sweeten it up.
I have found that the yogurt is a bit watery when I take it out although I think this may be because I use skimmed milk. However, I have started straining the yogurt through a muslin square (handily available from Lakeland) for a couple of minutes and this ends up with a much better texture.
It does have a couple of "features" that are pretty pointless - the lid of the inner container is held in place by a piece of plastic that is meant to double as a spoon, although its too angular to be a useful spoon (it holds the lid on fine though). Also, on top of the outer container lid is a disk which you can rotate around to select the hour at which your yogurt will be ready. E.g. if it is 1pm now, it will be ready at 9pm, so you rotate the disk to show 9. I find this next to useless as it isn't an audible alert - you still have to remember to take your yogurt out. I ended up buying a timer for my plug which turns the yogurt maker on and off at the correct times and this works much better.
Overall I would definitely recommend this. It's quick to setup, makes yummy yogurt and costs a fraction of shop-bought stuff.
Oh how I miss yoghurt!
Being dairy allergic is certainly a pain. I do like Alpro yoghurt, but the cost in relation to the dairy counterparts can get silly sometimes, as well as some flavours having sweeteners... something else I have a intolerance for!
I really like a nice creamy or set yoghurt over fresh fruit... but alas cost kinda forbids this tempting treasure to be less than a bi monthly 'treat'.
Imagine to my surprise (OK OK I hinted to both my Dad and his wife so I knew it was coming!) for my birthday last year my Dad presented me with quite a large parcel from Lakeland... and inside was the yoghurt maker and a spare tub & lid (sold separately). Its quite a surprise for me as when I went to total it up he had spent a clear £40 or more!
There was one issue to start with though... no instructions! But give Lakeland their due, I made one phone-call and the very next day I had the instructions through my letterbox. I was astounded. Seems the instructions must have slipped out the box at some point (might just be rolling round my Dads house lol)
Its great. Now all I have to do is buy in 1 pot of unflavoured soya yoghurt (like alpro natural) and a couple of cartons of unsweetened organic soya-milk and I can make enough yoghurt to have 200mls a day! An added bonus (thanks to dads forethought!) is that I can make the children set yoghurt with added calcium and 'stuff' then add milkshake mix later to bump up their calciyummy.
I love gadgets like this, I can keep an eye on what we eat! The kids love getting involved too... often we have some real sounds of "yuck" when I initially take the yoghurt out and then strain it, but once mixed up they are all fine.
This gadget does need a nice warm side with a plug near by and no drafts to work properly, but if you follow the instructions you can have warm yoghurt in the morning.
Every mother knows the importance of ensuring their children get plenty of calcium, usually in the form of milk. So when you have one that pretty much point blank refuses to drink it, eventually to maintain sanity, anyone would give up and let them eat yoghurts instead.
Now from a financial point of view this can get expensive so I finally decided to buy a yoghurt maker and chose one from Lakeland www.lakelandlimited.co.uk. This cost me £19.95 and as I like Lakeland items I spent over £45 so the postage was free. Under this amount it would have been £3.35.
Having read some reviews I knew that I would need some natural yoghurt and milk to make it with, or as my husband rather cynically said 'so you need yoghurt to make yoghurt'
When it arrived, as any kid with a new toy I was straight into the kitchen to start it off.
What does it look like?
It is a very small unit, with a base unit which is just cylindrical with a plug, an inside plastic container which looks at first glance like a measuring jug, an inner lid that fixes onto the plastic container and has a very weird looking spoon attached, which is useful but I'm surprised they bothered, and finally an outer lid. The box also contained a very small piece of paper with the instructions on.
Storage isn't a huge problem as it fits nicely in a cupboard, but if you are reliant on a small under work top fridge I don't think it would fit in very easily without transferring the yoghurt to another container. This isn't a problem for me as it fits fine into a big fridge.
Now I am very sorry to say I found these woefully inadequate.
The first problem was, it was more obscure than my O level English comprehension test, I spent 20 minutes trying to work out whether I was supposed to remover the inner container, or whether that was where the yoghurt was made. Eventually I spotted a small difference in wording that seemed to indicate that you left it in.
The second problem, not many people make yoghurt, on the contrary growing any form of culture in your kitchen is known to be bad, all our kitchen cleaners have bleaches in them to kill anything that might grow. Therefore, although I do have an O level Biology, so know the theory, putting it into practise is somewhat daunting, and not being a scientific advisor from Muller, I could have done with more information on yoghurts. I got precisely none. For example, all the instruction says is how to mix the initial mixture, and that you leave it running for 8 hours. I would like to know what would happen if I left it for longer, would I end up with a lucky mistake, like Flemming discovering penicillin, maybe the cure for cancer, or on the other side of the coin, a blob like monster could develop, engulfing the world. Or more likely I just make my family ill for a couple of days, I don't know and the instructions certainly do not tell me.
The third weakness with the instructions is the lack of recipes, usually when you buy any form of food product there are some recipes with it. You guessed it, nothing, there was a small paragraph suggestion you might add milkshake mix or pureed fruit to it, but that was it.
Now, one area that the instructions were quite specific on was the type of milk you use, any pasteurized milk may still contain some organisms in them, which whilst they are fine to drink as milk it is not a good idea to try and breed them further which is precisely what would happen if it were placed in a yoghurt maker. So the first thing I had to do was boil the milk, to kill anything off, and let it cool. I think this is where I made mistake number 1 as the milk was still probably too hot when I started it off, ever eager to get going.
Its incredible simple to mix, all you do is put 2 tsps of yoghurt into the container and mix it with a pint and a half of milk, switch it on and go about your daily business. It does however specify that the mixture should be completely undisturbed for the 8 hours. With the best will in the world, with 2 excited children this was never going to happen the first time around, despite the fact that the instructions said 'no peeping', we just had to have a couple of little peeps, which of course also moved the container - mistake number 2.
Actually, once the 8 hours were up, I was quite pleased with the result, I had a litre and a half (another contradiction of the ingredients, ingredients in, in imperial, product out, in metric) of fresh yoghurt. This was initially very solid with some residue on top, which, as the instructions didn't tell me, I was unsure whether to mix in or drain off. I chose to mix in, I'm still not sure if this was the right decision.
The night before I had mixed up a blackberry mix, with a blackberry syrup and some mushed up blackberries, the last of last autumns harvest in our freezer. I deliberately kept some of the liquid separated as the more liquid you add, the thinner the yoghurt becomes.
When we were finally ready for the first taste my husband had a definite 'Oh no, she actually expects me to try it' look on his face. One of the big problems today is, we are very used to everything commercial containing additives and sweetening. Even the natural yoghurt from the shops, so I will admit that is was a bit of a shock on first taste, completely fresh, but crying out, to my uneducated pallet, for sugar. So we mixed in the blackberries, some vanilla essence and the syrup, which did make it more like a yoghurt smoothie but the girls loved it. The texture was not as smooth as commercial products as it seemed to have separated a bit, which was either due to the overly hot milk, or the peeping. It was incredibly fresh and actually rather nice, although I don't think I compete with commercial yoghurt yet.
So for attempt number 2, I will try using UHT milk and buy a can of fruit to use which should solve the sweetness issue as it will have more flavour, and will still work out much cheaper than buying yoghurt every week. So I will continue this review after that .
So, a mere 48 hours after the first one (this could get time consuming) I embarked on yoghurt number 2, this time I used UHT full fat milk and didn't peep.
The result was a huge improvement, completely smooth yoghurt. This time we mushed it up with a tin of peaches, so ended up with 2 litres of yoghurt smoothie. To get proper yoghurt I should have drained the syrup off, but at least now I know how to control it.
So for just over £1 I got 2 litres of yoghurt smoothie, which should last a couple of days at least. For an economy item I'm not convinced yet as we seem to end up eating twice as much.
And of course the most important thing - my daughter is not objecting to having calcium.
Thank you for reading.
The Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt Maker is advertised on Lakelands website (www.lakelandlimited.co.uk), and indeed on Dooyoo (see above), as follows: A yoghurt lover's dream machine. Electrically operated and costing pennies to run, you can make 1 litre of creamy yoghurt at a fraction of the price of shop bought. As I definitely qualify as a yoghurt lover and get through large quantities of the stuff in various forms, this sounded good to me. Shop-bought yoghurt, at least of the better-quality variety (I prefer to buy organic) does work out expensive. Milk, on the other hand, even organic milk, is considerably cheaper so an investment of £19.95 for something which could consistently turn the latter into the former seemed like a winning idea.
First, a bit about yoghurt. Its a semi-solid fermented milk product which has long been a staple food in various cultures of the Middle East, .Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, although it didnt become popular in Western Europe and North America until the 20th century. Its usually made using cows' milk, but yoghurt made from goat and sheep milk is becoming increasingly popular and is a better alternative for some people. There is a huge range of various types of yoghurt on the market, as a quick glance at the relevant section of any supermarket will testify some of which are hardly worthy of the name, being laden with sugar and additives.
The fermenting process works by adding a starter culture - a blend of bacteria, which kick-starts the process of turning milk into yoghurt. Doesnt sound too attractive, does it? after all, bacteria are usually associated with illness. These are beneficial bacteria, though, which encourage the healthy functioning of the intestines which is necessary for the digestive process. Its also thought that yoghurt may have a positive effect on the immune system.
Yoghurt is a great source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B2, B5 and B12, iodine, zinc, potassium and protein. During the process of yoghurt-making, lactose from milk is broken down into lactic acid; lactose-intolerant people can therefore often tolerate yoghurt.
To be perfectly honest, the yoghurt maker doesnt look all that much for £19.95. It consists of a white plastic outer unit with a domed lid and electrical flex, and a removable, transparent inner jug with lid and spoon. Theres a rather pointless timer type thing on the top, probably not much use to anyone who has already learned to tell the time and count by themselves. Theres a rather small instruction booklet, although admittedly this is only in comparison to the voluminous amount of literature which seems to accompany most electrical appliances I buy these days.
The concept behind the yoghurt maker is simply enough. You put two teaspoons of live yoghurt into the inner container, mix in the designated quantity of milk (one and a half pints), plug in and leave it for about 8 hours, after which time the milk having been mixed with the yoghurt starter and kept at the right temperature by the machine - should have turned into lovely fresh yoghurt. Well, OK, there is a bit more to it than that. If you use pasteurised milk, you have to heat the milk to boiling point first and then allow it to cool, which obviously is a bit of a nuisance. UHT milk (which is already heat treated, hence the name) can apparently be used without going through this heating process, but I haven't tried this and can't therefore vouch for the results. Theoretically, you can use a bit of the yoghurt youve just made to kick-start the next lot, thus removing the need ever to buy yoghurt again, though in practice it doesnt always work out like that.
You can adjust this process to suit yourself. For thicker yoghurt, you can use full fat milk and leave it for a bit longer. For a runnier version, use skimmed or semi-skimmed and leave it for less time. You can also add powdered milk to achieve a Greek-style set yoghurt. Ive tried making it with goats milk, which worked well. And of course, once your yoghurt is made you can add whatever you want to it puréed fruit, honey, big lumps of chocolate in the case of my son, anything you like.
While it does the job its meant to, the yoghurt maker could have been better designed. The container is a bit big for the fridge - I don't personally find this a problem, but you can always decant it into something smaller if necessary. I did find the lid (which doesn't fit very snugly and has an unfortunate habit of falling off) and the plastic spoon thing (which flaps about all over the place) a bit of a pest, but these are very minor gripes. Actually, the plastic spoon might be best consigned to your cutlery drawer as it really is a bit non-essential.
The instructions provide basic information but no more than that. Recipe ideas would have been welcome - 101 things to do with yoghurt, or something along those lines, might have provided a bit of added value, but I suppose there's nothing wrong with using your imagination. Still, the leaflet is a bit disappointing and could have been better designed.
The advantages of this product are pretty obvious, if you like yoghurt. Although there is an initial outlay of £19.95, keen yoghurt eaters who use it regularly can have a steady supply close at hand and will save money over time. Its one less item for your weekly shopping list and is, I suppose, environmentally friendly in so far as youre not throwing away empty yoghurt cartons all the time. Youre getting fresh, home-made yoghurt, with all its manifest health benefits, which you can make to your own preferred specifications.
Disadvantages? I suppose there are a few. As I mentioned, its not particularly well-designed and while not a huge problem, this is a bit annoying. Its one more thing to clutter up your kitchen worktop (although it is small enough to be tucked away in a cupboard between uses). The heating and cooling down of the milk is a bit of a pest. Once started and switched on, it has to be left for eight hours in order to work, which is unavoidable but obviously takes a good bit longer than nipping down to the shop to buy some yoghurt. (I tend to leave it overnight and have fresh yoghurt for breakfast in the morning!)
A few uses for yoghurt:
- Stick it on your cereal
- Use it as a smoothie ingredient I particularly like one made from bananas, strawberries, yoghurt and a dash of orange juice lovely!
- Use it as an accompaniment to spicy dishes
- Use it as a healthy alternative to cream
- Use it as an ingredient in cooking/baking many recipes make use of yoghurt, including my familys favourite home-made naan bread!
Overall, a highly recommended product, with the minor reservations noted above. Available from Lakelands website or from Lakeland shops although not all Lakeland shops may stock it.
Is the Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt Maker. Gosh, how exciting.
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.
Advantages that spring to mind...
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.
But... as ever... there are 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!
How about some tips for getting the most from your sexy new appliance...
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.
There are always some boring factual bits for skimming through...
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!)
It crept up on us gradually. First we discovered that yoghurt is a pleasing alternative to cream or custard with puddings. Then we found that if you add some cumin it makes a good savoury topping for a jacket potato. A spoonful a day even seems to control a digestive problem suffered by one of our dogs. I found that I was buying more and more yoghurt. I was using two or three 500gr pots of yoghurt each week at a cost of £1 to £1.40 per pot. Sometimes I would find that I ran out before the weekly shop so I decided that it would be simpler if I made the yoghurt myself. It isn't difficult to make as it's only sterilised milk plus some existing yoghurt left in a warm place until it clots. You can do it without buying a yoghurt maker and if you're interested Delia Smith gives you the details in her "Complete Cookery Course". I have done it and it does work. I also found it a bit of a faff, mainly because you have to use a cookery thermometer. A couple of months ago I discovered the Lakeland Bulk Yoghurt Maker and this seemed like the answer to my prayers. Costing £18.95 it makes up to a litre of yoghurt in a self-contained unit. All you need is the milk, some fresh, natural yoghurt and a power supply. You'll need about nine hours to complete the process too. The unit came in a simple cardboard box with no superfluous packaging. There's an instruction leaflet there too. It contains all the information you'll need to get started, but I think the layout could be improved. There's no way of locating particular information, such as all the ingredients you'll need, quickly. The information is in a strange order too. The first page covers little else but the types of milk you can use and the fact that some need to be boiled, simmered and cooled before you can use them. On the other hand, the fact that the yoghurt container should be washed before use doesn't appear until page two. The yoghurt maker is essentially two separate units. The outer unit is 22cm tall and has a white base and a clear, domed, plastic lid. On the top of the lid is a dial and it's intended that you should set this to remind you of the time that the yoghurt will be ready. Personally I find this difficult to set and unnecessary. Given that clotting can be speeded up by switching the unit on for a few minutes before you add the ingredients or slowed down if you're in a cooler room the precise timing doesn't seem to be that important. The base of the outer unit contains the warming element. I avoided calling it the heating element as yoghurt does not form if the temperature is much below 40ºC or much above 47ºC. You could not, for instance, use a slow cooker to make yoghurt as the temperature is too high. An indicator light tells you if the unit is switched on. There's 88cm of flex and a plug fitted with a 3amp fuse. When not in use this coils into the base of the unit and there's a groove on the base through which the flex is laid. I wish that the flex was slightly longer or shorter as there is always an annoying tail of flex left when it's fully coiled. That's a minor quibble though, and one which I can live with. What I find harder to live with is the design of the inner unit. It comes in three parts - a clear plastic base, a white plastic, domed top and a "spoon". The plastic base has measures marked on the side. The only recipe given in the instruction leaflet requires 1½ pints of milk, but this is one measure which isn't marked on the container, so you need a separate measuring jug if you want to be accurate. The instruction leaflet speaks of the yoghurt maker being able to make "up to 1 litre of smooth creamy yoghurt" but gives no indication of how the ingredients should be varied to make different quantities. It's difficult to be sure that the base unit is clean p
articularly as it can't be washed in a dishwasher. The easiest surface to wash by hand is one which is perfectly smooth, such as the rounded inner surface of a mixing bowl. The inner surface of this container has unnecessary ridges and corners where all sorts can lurk. Heating something gently is going to allow germs to multiply as well as yoghurt to form and this does concern me. The domed top is slightly fiddly to fit onto the base. It doesn't attach firmly but rather sits in one, and only one, position. It's intended that the yoghurt should be stored in this container with the dome covering it, but together they are 17½cm high. Even in my rather large fridge I have only one shelf arrangement which will accommodate something of this height. It won't fit into any of the door shelves. You can, of course transfer the yoghurt to another container, but it's obviously more hygienic and less wasteful to keep the yoghurt in the original container. I'd like to have a clip-on lid which I could use in the fridge in place of the dome. I'd rather have this than the spoon. The spoon is actually shaped rather like a shovel. There's no bowl to it. If you make thinner yoghurt with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk it simply runs off the spoon. It fits into a slot in the dome and a groove in the base, producing more difficult-to-clean ridges. I used it once. Although the design of the unit is not good the yoghurt it makes is very good. It's certainly better than anything that's available in a shop. This is partly because fresh yoghurt has a natural sweetness which is lost as the yoghurt becomes older and more acid. Even the freshest yoghurt in the shops is going to be older than homemade yoghurt. Making it is simple. You need milk (heated and cooled if necessary - details are given) and the freshest unflavoured yoghurt you can buy. Put 10ml of yoghurt in the container and gently add the milk. Place t
he inner container in the outer container. Switch on and leave for eight hours. Don't even think about lifting the lid or stirring the yoghurt and you'll have thick, creamy yoghurt. If you like even thicker yoghurt you could add some milk powder at the beginning of the process. Once the yoghurt has cooled it can be chilled and used as required. It should be used within five days, but it's never lasted long enough for me to test that! You can use it in cooking, add flavourings or use as it is. If you like the Greek-style yoghurts all you need to do is leave some of your own yoghurt in a strainer for a couple of hours in a cool place and you won't be paying the supermarkets exorbitant prices again. Lakeland Ltd sells a pack of two yoghurt strainers at £5.65. Personally I use a sieve lined with muslin. The yoghurt maker is said to cost pennies to run. As you can use some of the current batch of yoghurt to start the next batch the cost of the yoghurt is little more than the price of the milk and a little effort. I just wish they'd got the design right. www.lakelandlimited.co.uk Bulk Yoghurt Maker: Ref 3440 - £18.95 Extra bowl: Ref 3441 - £3.95 Yoghurt strainers: Ref 1278 - £5.65 If ordering by post or over the internet, please note that a charge of £2.95 will be added for postage and packing if your total order is less than £40. If you are visiting a Lakeland shop to make the purchase you might wish to telephone first to ensure that the yoghurt maker is in stock. You will find telephone numbers for all stores on the website or in the Lakeland catalogue.