Pros: easy to use, easy to clean, make homemade yogurt without additives
Cons: plastic containers, no temperature settings
My wife and I are big yogurt eaters, and for years we've purchased store bought yogurt, but, this year, for Christmas I purchased a Donvier Yogurt Maker for my wife and we haven't purchased store bought yogurt since.
Making yogurt is a pretty simple process; heat up milk, let it cool to a certain temperature range, add a starter culture, then hold it, at a certain temperature for so many hours to let it "ferment." The bacteria, in the culture, eat the lactose (a type of sugar found in milk) converting it to acid, giving the yogurt its sour flavor, and at the same time thickening the milk.
The Donvier Yogurt Maker comes with a booklet that walks you through the process step-by-step, but it's so easy that once you make yogurt a couple of times you will no longer need the book. It also comes with a handy stirring spoon with a built in thermometer. Using this thermometer you, you wait until your heated milk drops to a certain temperature and then stir in your culture. The first few times you make yogurt you might want to purchase a starter, found both online and at many health food stores, but after you get the hang of it you can skip the starter culture and just use some of the yogurt from one of your previous batches since it still contains live bacteria
Once you've added the starter culture, you divide your milk among the 8 provided jars, cover them with lids and place them in the machine. Turn the machine on, set the timer and walk away. Once the timer goes off the machine shuts done and your yogurt is ready. Depending on what consistency you are looking for, the type of milk you use and the type of culture, your yogurt will be done in 6-12 hours although most batches will be completed in 8-10. All that's left to do is chill the yogurt for a few hours then eat it.
If you have never made homemade yogurt before, the homemade stuff tends to be a little looser than the store bought stuff, but that's because your homemade yogurt doesn't contain the stabilizers and additives that store bought yogurt contains. You can always thicken it by placing your yogurt in cheese cloth, and letting it hang for awhile to remove some of the whey, which will thicken your yogurt. But your homemade yogurt will contain all the live bacteria cultures, that are supposedly beneficial to the body, that many store bought yogurts lack due to their pasteurization process.
While we love our machine, there are few downfalls. First off, the jars are plastic, not glass. While Donvier claims that their jars are BPA-free I would prefer glass jars to the plastic. Secondly, I would like the maker to have a temperature setting so that I can fine tune the yogurt making process. But, overall these are minor issues that I have with the machine and for the price I expect the machine to be missing a few of the bells and whistles of higher end machines.
Overall, this is a great product, especially for someone just starting out making their own yogurt. It' a machine that requires little thought to make wonderful homemade yogurt. But for the experienced yogurt maker this machine might be a little to simplistic as it doesn't allow for a lot of experimenting and fine tuning when it comes to temperature settings. For the price though, you can't beat it.