"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dash Greek Yogurt Maker Review

Dash Greek Yogurt Maker; 9" tall, 6"wide
I love yogurt's protein and calcium but was buying and recycling 52 plastic containers a year and that was not sustainable. Long ago I'd made yogurt quite easily and with no gadgets because my stove had a pilot light. No more. So I shopped for an electric yogurt maker. I wanted:
  • little to no preparation. Just dump the milk and the starter in the thing, and press. There's one like this, by Cuisinart, for $125. It also chills the yogurt after its eight hours of cooking.
  • my counter space. I have no counter or storage space, period. Those classic yogurt-making models that have 6 little cups in a circle take up a lot of room. So does the Cuisinart.
  • no little pieces, cups and caps, nothing hard to clean or easy to lose.
  • no hot BPA-ridden plastic to warp and poison us; glass containers preferred.
  • a choice of whether I'd make Greek or regular yogurt.
  • Results. with canned pineapple
  • a reasonable price. (It'd take almost a year to eat $125 worth of yogurt.)
I found that there is no machine that gives you readymade Greek yogurt at the end of its cycle. To home-make Greek yogurt there is one inescapable step, and that is to drain the yogurt through a special strainer so it becomes thick. You can buy a Greek-yogurt strainer. Trouble is, by itself the strainer will cost you, like, $26 plus shipping. A colander or cheesecloth will not work well.

I settled on the all-plastic (but BPA-free) Dash Greek Yogurt Maker, bought for $39 on eBay, because the price was reasonable, the parts were few (the base, two containers, strainer, and a lid; it comes in pink or blue), is lightweight, and I wanted the Greek option. I am extremely pleased. It includes a recipe booklet, and it's all very simple with easy cleanup and its own fridge-storage container, and all parts nest in the base when not in use. Its cord is very very short -- perhaps 12 inches. I don't mind this; keeps it safe.

There are some steps involved. You must first scald the 5 cups of milk in a pot and let it cool to 90-110 degrees. I use my candy thermometer for accuracy. I was reluctant to take the time and dirty a pot for this. After tasting the yogurt, I don't mind cleaning the pot. And, the other necessary step: The yogurt must be poured into the strainer and drained. The runoff is called whey. If your yogurt gets too thick, stir some whey back in.

I use 2 percent milk, organic and not, and set the timer for 10 hours and the result is the same: mild, creamy and delicious: like cream cheese. Half a cup is satisfying. It doesn't have that "chalky" or gelatinous quality of store-bought yogurts. I want to say that I am very critical of my kitchen tools and never buy a new kitchen item lightly. Glad, for several reasons, that I bought this. Greek yogurt, twice as concentrated as regular, delivers more calories (160 per half-cup) but far more calcium (25 percent of Daily) and protein, 16-20 grams.

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